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TOUGH REGION 2 LOOKS LIKE 3-TEAM RACE

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Divided equally between Salt Lake and Davis counties, Region 2 stands united as a force in the 5A classification.

Skyline, Davis and Highland have each reached the final four in the last three years with the Eagles taking top honors in 1993 and the Darts settling for second last year. Success has come in bunches at other levels as well. Prior to joining the 5A ranks Bountiful recorded back-to-back 3A titles in 1990-91. All told league members have won five gold trophies in the past decade.While contending for state championships is commonplace, Region 2 has become a war within itself - and 1995 promises more of the same.

League coaches project a three-way race between Davis, Skyline and Bountiful for top honors. All three squads spent time in the rankings last season and are once again considered state title contenders. Meanwhile, Highland and Viewmont, who met in a tiebreaker for the last playoff berth a year ago, will likely battle to the wire once again. Rebuilding Cottonwood, victimized by being in a tough league, faces a difficult haul with its first three region games (Highland, Davis, Bountiful) on the road.

DAVIS: A trip to the state finals has folks in Kaysville hungry for more. Despite some significant losses to graduation, league coaches have tabbed the Darts, who fell to Orem in last year's title game, as the team to beat. Seniors Ben Warden and Kelly Chatterton have started since sophomores and bring plenty of experience to the backfield and line, respectively. Coach Jim Dickson (88-38 as head coach) will also look to returnees Courtney Pitcher (defensive back) and Ryan Prince (tight end) for additional senior leadership.

SKYLINE: The A.D., as in After (Brandon) Doman, era begins in the Eagles nest. "We kind of got used to having Brandon at quarterback," said coach Roger Dupaix. "So it will be quite a change for us." Gus Papanikolas is the new signal caller in an experienced backfield featuring running backs Shane Kojima and Nick Hansen. Lineman Brian Hobbs and linebacker Lance Sorenson are other seniors of note. "We don't have a lot of returners, but we hope to be competitive," said Dupaix.

BOUNTIFUL: Two years after being the only school in the state to make the realignment jump from 3A to 5A, the jury has returned a verdict: Coach Larry Wall's Braves can compete at a higher level. The 1990-91 3A state champs have reached inter-region play every year since moving up. And with the likes of seniors Dustin McQuivey (lineman), Brad Murdock (running back), Pat Williams (wide receiver) and Craig Jones (linebacker) returning to the fold, championship contention is not outside the realm of possibility.

HIGHLAND: The only thing misfortune hasn't captured here is a jersey. Two years ago the Rams' state championship dream snapped with their quarterback's leg in the semifinals. Last season, a head injury almost took a player's life. Secondary to the matter is a victory drought of sorts - just three wins in 11 outings last year. On the bright side, Highland did earn a postseason berth by outlasting Viewmont in a tiebreaker. Perhaps more good news is on the horizon with linebacker Scott Giles and running back Johnny Moa among the returnees.

VIEWMONT: Once a laughingstock, the Vikings have proven to be dangerous in recent years. Add speed to the mix and Viewmont could suprise some folks once again. Coach Ross Harris will look to quick seniors Brian Bowles (wide receiver), Darren Dubois (tailback) and Brian Hills (fullback) to lead a potent pro-set offense. In addition, all three figure prominently in the defensive backfield - backing up inside linebacker Brent McFarland. Placekicker Clint Layton is another key returnee.

COTTONWOOD: The lights will soon be on, but will anybody be home? Night games become at reality with the Colts thanks to a dedicated effort by coach Mike Reardon and his players. Will the successful drive spill over onto the field? "I sure hope so," said Reardon. "The whole idea was to pull everything together in a team effort." Cottonwood went 0-9 last year, but a more experienced crew returns. Tight end David Chytraus, fullback Adam Fenton and lineman Ross Stokes top a senior cast that includes new quarterback Dallas Aste.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Region 2

Results of the league coaches straw poll

1st Davis

2nd Skyline

3rd Bountiful

4th Highland

5th Viewmont

6th Cottonwood