Wasatch (5-5) at Hurricane (9-0)
3A state tournament first round
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: Hurricane by 43
All-time series: Series tied 1-1
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Hurricane's Chris Homer and Wasatch's Craig Davis
Last meeting: Nov. 5, 2005, Hurricane 34, Wasatch 21 (3A quarterfinal)
When No. 1-ranked Hurricane hosts Wasatch in the opening round of the 3A state tournament this Friday, not many people expect a competitive game.
Hurricane's players are well aware they're big favorites, but coach Chris Homer has been reminding them all week about what happened in the opening round of the state tournament last year — when Region 9 No. 1 seed Cedar lost to Judge and Region 10 No. 1 seed Park City lost to Emery.
"Just 'cause of last year, all one seeds need to be aware. We all have to coach against that, because high school kids have a tendency to look ahead," said Homer.
Even still, based the regular season, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Hurricane loses. The Tigers averaged 41.0 ppg to lead 3A this year, while defensively they only allow 15.7 ppg. Conversely, Wasatch only averages 22.2 ppg while it allows 23.4 ppg.
Hurricane fullback Brian Scott is one of the toughest runners in the state, scoring a state-best 23 TDs thus far to go along with his 985 rushing yards.
There is one concern offensively for Hurricane, though, as quarterback Tyler Parker is questionable after spraining his ankle in last week's win over Canyon View.
Wasatch coach Craig Davis knows the prospect of winning at Hurricane isn't great, but his players are excited for the challenge after finishing fourth in Region 10.
"It's not necessarily where we wanted to be, but it's what we've got. We're excited to go play them, we have nothing to lose. They're the No. 1 team in the state," said Davis.
Wasatch has faced more adversity than just about any team in the state this season with an awkward coaching change and then the tragic drowning death of wide receiver Kalem Franco in the summer. In conjunction with a brand new offensive line, and then some key injuries throughout the season, Wasatch has never been able to get into a rhythm after starting the year 2-0.
"We have not played a complete game yet. We've gotten better, but we always do a couple things here or there that shoot ourselves in the foot," said Davis. "If we can not have those mistakes and play four quarters, there's no telling what can happen."
To have any hope of pulling off the upset, Wasatch needs its defensive line to clog things up so its linebackers are allowed to flow freely to make tackles. If Hurricane's offensive lineman can get to the second level, it could be a long evening for the Wasps.
Offensively, Wasatch's passing game could benefit if Parker can't play, as he's not only just Hurricane's quarterback, but he's also one of the best safeties in 3A.
If Wasatch doesn't pull off the upset, Davis hopes his young players gain some valuable experience to carry over to next year. He likens this week's situation back to the 2008 season. During that year, a young Wasatch team went through some growing pains with a 2-9 season and lost to Juan Diego in the first round of the playoffs. The experience gained from that season springboarded the Wasps to a 10-3 season the following year and a state semifinal appearance.
Wasatch statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 22.2 ppg
Scoring defense: 23.4 ppg
Passing leader: James Delacenserie (116-245, 47.3%, 1,558 yards, 20 TDs, 8 INTs)
Tackles leaders: Seth Hardlie (90 total tackles), Cooper Ballstaedt (68 total tackles)
Sacks leaders: Drake Sampson (5 sacks), Seth Harderlie (3 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Talem Franco (3 interceptions)
Hurricane statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 41.0 ppg
Scoring defense: 15.7 ppg
Passing leader: Taylor Parker (31-45, 68.9%, 432 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT)16 comments on this story
Interceptions leader: Weston Yardley (2 interceptions)