We have some very good teams and a lot of well-coached teams. —Sky View coach Danilo Robinson
There is a certain class of football team remaining in the 4A state playoffs. The first round, played over the weekend, is over and done with and with it went more than a few championship pretenders.
Left standing, heading into Friday’s quarterfinals contests, is a group of eight teams that are about as good as it gets.
“We have some very good teams and a lot of well-coached teams,” Sky View head coach Danilo Robinson said of the classification. “I think we rank up with a lot of places around the country and definitely the state.”
The Bobcats certainly do, what with their Region 12 championship, undefeated 10-0 record and No. 8 ranking (per Deseret News).
Sky View reached the quarterfinals thanks to a punishing victory over the Mountain View Bruins, 50-14.
“Right now we are playing pretty good. I’m excited about where we are,” said Robinson. “I think we are starting to come together.”
Robinson did note that his Bobcats have yet to “put together a game where we are playing on all cylinders in all three phases,” this season, a scary thought for the Pine View Panthers (8-3).
Those Panthers, Sky View’s quarterfinal opponent, are not too shabby themselves, however, and are riding high off a 63-14 beatdown of Tooele.
“Our team has been playing excellent over the last few games," said Pine View defensive coordinator Ben Meier. “We have good momentum built up right now. Things have been working for us.”
The Bobcats and Panthers are just one of two pairings pitting the North (Cache Valley) versus South (St. George), as the Dixie Flyers (10-1) are set to host the Mountain Crest Mustangs (10-1).
A more balanced matchup may not exist, as both the No. 15 Mustangs and the No. 6 Flyers have lost just one game all season.
In the Mustangs' case, it was against rival Sky View, while the Flyers were grounded by a team out of Madison, California.
“I believe they are the best team up in the north,” Dixie head coach Andy Stokes said of Mountain Crest. “I know they lost to Sky View on a last-second drive, but they are good.”
The Mustangs prevailed against Salem Hills in the first round, 44-34, in what was one of the toughest matchups of opening weekend.
As for the Region 9 champion Flyers, they battled past a gritty Park City squad, 30-6.
“I think it’ll be a real evenly matched game,” Mountain Crest head coach Jason Lee said. “I think we match up really well with them. I really do. Only time will tell, though.”
Cache Valley has a third representative in the 4A quarterfinals this season, the Ridgeline RiverHawks. Coach Chris Howell’s team earned the No. 3 seed out of Region 12 with a 7-4 record.
One of those losses was during the preseason against the Spanish Fork Dons, the very team Ridgeline was matched up with in the first round.
This time around the RiverHawks proved the better, taking down the two-seeded Dons 25-22.
“They are very talented,” said Stansbury head coach Clint Christiansen. “They’re solid.”
“They are making a run themselves,” Robinson added of the RiverHawks.
Christiansen’s Stallions have the challenge of taking on the RiverHawks, something the veteran coach believes his team is capable of.
“These kids are gut tough,” said Christiansen. “We’re small, but we won’t be shocked or awed.”
The Stallions (7-3) shouldn’t be, seeing as they are the Region 11 champs and are coming off a 28-20 victory over Cedar.
The final quarterfinal matchup pits the No. 12 Orem Tigers against the defending 3AA state champion Desert Hills Thunder.
“We’re excited,” said Orem head coach Jeremy Hill. “I feel really good about the way we have played. Desert Hills is a good quality team. We like playing in big games, so we’re excited.”
The Tigers earned their berth by winning Region 10 and then handling Bear River 36-7.
On the flipside, the Thunder finished third in Region 9 with a 6-4 record and cruised past Bonneville 45-13.
“They’ve got some players, but I like how we match up, “said Hill.
Christiansen described the 4A quarterfinals best when he said, “At this point, everybody is a good football team. After the first round of the playoffs, they are all there for the reason. You just have to go out, roll the dice and see what happens.”