In preparation for today's 4A quarterfinals, one thing that continues to be stressed from the coaches and teams is forgetting about the past.
"We said all year that there isn't any use comparing our team this year to last year," said Sky View coach Craig Anhder, whose team went into last season's quarterfinals undefeated but lost a tough game against East. "We don't have any shoes to fill. We have our own identity this season, our own character."
The Region 5 champion Bobcats (9-2) will try to erase last year's disappointment when they face Mountain View (8-3) looking to advance to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Winning is something that Anhder said will require the team's complete concentration on the task at hand.
"We need to come out focused and with our minds in the present," he said. "Mountain View is a very good team, and we know they can play with anyone. We've watched film and scouted them, but we need to focus on our own business and go out and execute what we do well."
What the Bobcats have been doing well is competing as a team.
Anhder feels that there may be teams with some better individuals out there but, collectively, his team is complete.
"This is a great team," he said. "We may have somebody get beat, but we cover for each other. We take the field as a unit, a whole team and not as 11 individuals."
The Bonneville (5-5) at Mountain Crest (6-4) game is another match-up that should forget about what has happened in the past. The Mustangs beat the Lakers in a regular season contest back in September, 16-7, but that Bonneville team is nearly unrecognizable compared to the one that upset Highland last week.
"I am not sure if they had a move-in, or got some new players or what, but that is a completely different team than we faced earlier in the year," joked Mustangs coach Mark Wootton.
The coach knows it is the same personnel that played in the earlier game, but not at the same level. Since that loss, the Lakers have won four of five and have found a new identity.
"They are playing together as a team now," said Lakers coach Matt Williams. "They needed to get some confidence and when they beat Sky View, they got it. They bought into what the coaches are trying to do, and they realized they were for real."
The confidence growth for Bonneville all starts with the big boys up front. Jim Eskelsen, Will Wetherspoon and Pat Gallagher have been playing well in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and the team has rallied behind their push.
"Our skill guys realized that with the way those guys were playing, we could accomplish about anything we wanted," added Williams.The Cottonwood (10-1) at Timpview (10-0) and Bountiful (9-2) at Pine View (11-0) games may get a little more attention because of the gaudy records and rankings, but the four other teams are still fighting for the same ultimate goal of a title. They realize the only way to reach it is to take the next step, and that needs to be done today.
Mtn. View at Sky View, 3:30 p.m.
Bountiful at Pine View, 3 p.m.
Cttnwood at Timpview, 3:30 p.m.
E-mail: [email protected]