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Ravell Call, Deseret News
Sean Barton, Woods Cross

The game of football has taken a dramatic turn in how teams play with possession. Nowadays, spread formations and passing yards flurry as scoring averages have increased into 40-plus points per game.

This new age concept doesn't apply for the newly aligned Region 6 that seems to be stuck in the "Caveman" era with the pigskin.

Bountiful, Clearfield, Cyprus, East, Highland and Woods Cross know how to win games the old fashioned way. There isn't an assortment of trick plays in the pockets of the six programs – but rather powerful, downhill rushing attacks, awareness of ball control and bloody-your-nose defenses.

Yet, from top to bottom, Region 6 is one of the deepest regions in the state, let alone in its own classification.

"It's pretty easy to tell that we're in one of the toughest regions. We have the defending state champions in Highland. Both East High and Bountiful High won playoff games; with Bountiful being semifinalist," said Cyprus coach Brian Jacketta. "Woods Cross is much improved with a coaching change and I think Clearfield does some good things, it's a tough league in 4A."

Last season, the six programs teamed up for 133 combined rushing touchdowns, while both East and Highland eclipsed 3,000 yards rushing as a team.

The region returns Teau Satuala (Bountiful), Liti Molisi (East) and Sione Houma (Highland) this season to highlight the bevy of talented rushers.

Although the region didn't suffer as dramatic of a makeover as others sustained in the massive 2011 UHSAA realignment – it did experience change with the addition of Cyprus and Clearfield, both 5A schools last season.

"We've got two quality 5A schools that have moved down. You're gonna have to battle day in and day out to win," said Bountiful coach Larry Wall. "I think in years past there have been teams that you could get healthy on, get a breather – I don't think that's the case

"I don't think it's a big change from last year," he continued. "I think it'll be one of the strongest regions in the state. I think Highland will be as good as they were last year. East is big, physical team. I look to them to improve from last year."

Early preseason buzz has dubbed the region as top heavy with Bountiful, East and Highland as the only true contenders to capture the title come season's end. Something that East's coach Brandon Matich highly disagrees with.

"Region 6 is a tough region; it's a tough, hard-nosed, black and blue region. As far as a three horse race – I don't know anything about Cyprus and Clearfield – but I do know a lot about Woods Cross," he said. "I still believe to this day that Woods Cross is the best team we played last year; they are loaded with talent and speed. I still think they're going to be a force to reckon with."

EMAIL: tphibbs@desnews.com


(Preseason rankings are based on coaches' votes)

1. HIGHLAND: The Rams are in the position everyone would love to be in with the biggest concern being the abnormal amount of pressure that comes with defending a state championship. Highland lost several key players – most notably 4A MVP Nate Fakahafua. If that wasn't enough, Highland also has to travel to play Bountiful and East on the road. With all of the red flags waving around this season, the Rams are still predicted to finish first, showing just how talented this bunch really is. Recent Michigan signee, Sione Houma, is expected to do some magical things this season after rushing for 873 yards and six scores in his final five games. 2010 RECORD: 10-4. PLAYOFFS: Won 4A state championship, 37-36, over Mountain Crest.

2. BOUNTIFUL: The Braves might be considered the most consistent team in the state after making the playoffs 26 consecutive times. If Bountiful wants to defend its Region 6 championship from 2010, it'll have to rely on Teau Satuala. The to-be senior led the team in rushing, tackles and interceptions last season. The Braves' offense came to life late in the season, scoring 30-plus points in five out of their last seven games. 2010 RECORD: 9-4. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Mountain Crest in the semifinals.

3. EAST: The Leopards return 18 starters from a team that enjoyed the largest turnaround in the state – improving seven games. If East can get solid quarterback play after losing last year's starter, Tanner Curtis, to graduation, it could surprise quite a few people this season. The Leopards have home games against Highland, Bountiful and Woods Cross to their advantage. 2010 RECORD: 8-3. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Mountain Crest in the quarterfinals.

4. WOODS CROSS: The Wildcats have experienced quite the offseason within the coaching staff, but that doesn't change how the team has been preparing for this year. Junior Sean Barton highlights a talented bunch on the offensive side. Skyler Farns is expected to take over under center with Jake Brown, Nick Sefakis and Filipo Mokofisi as his main targets in the passing game. 2010 RECORD: 5-4. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.

5. CLEARFIELD: The Falcons will line up the pistol based offense this season with senior quarterback Connor Parry calling the shots. He has the luxury of having a five-deep competition at the tailback spot with Patrick Brock, Spencer Fronberg, Halen Strong, Jayden Garcia and Braxton Rogers all in the mix. Clearfield finally will have preseason games after leaving the monstrous Region 1, which should boost its overall record this season. 2010 RECORD: 3-7. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.

6. CYPRUS: Morale is high in the Cyprus camp with players and coaches alike truly expecting to make the playoffs this season. With that type of belief, who knows what's possible? The Pirates return four strong offensive linemen this season to help out with a very young offense. James Williams will see touches in multiple ways this season to capitalize on his athleticism. 2010 RECORD: 2-8. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.