When Dixie High coach Blaine Monkres was asked if Pine View — winners of 14 straight region football games the past two years — was the region favorite again this year, he didn’t dance around the obvious.

“I think Pine View is the team to beat anywhere,” said Monkres.

Loaded with returning talent, and a beneficiary of several talented newcomers, Pine View heads into the 2021 season as the clear-cut team to beat in Region 10 — formerly Region 9 but renamed because of UHSAA realignment.

There’s a bit of uncertainty at quarterback for Ray Hosner’s team, but it’s not for a lack of talent but rather a lack of experience. Hosner’s track record suggests whoever gets the starting nod will have a very big season.

Assuming all goes according to plan and Pine View enjoys a third-straight undefeated region season, the bigger question revolves around if this finally is the year this program goes undefeated in the playoffs?

Pine View is 0-7 all-time in state championship games, including a 39-33 loss to Sky View in last year’s championship game. Ball security was a big issue for the Panthers as they turned it over four times in the loss.

Despite the frustration of coming up short on the final goal, Hosner said this year’s returning players are viewing the experience gained last year as a positive.

“’They’re like ‘hey coach, if we didn’t have the turnovers we win, we want ball security this year.’ They’re already setting their goals,” said Hosner.

While the talent is certainly there to get the job done, Hosner said he’s been more pleased this summer about the mentality of his players focusing on the bigger picture in the community and not just themselves.

“They’re focused on service and we’ll still take care of business and win football games,” said Hosner.

Winning in football never comes easy, but it might be a little easier for Pine View with the return of twin brothers Dominique McKenzie and Marcus McKenzie, nightmares defensively for opposing defenses with their speed and playmaking ability at wide receiver.

On top of that, Keith Adams Jr. moved to St. George from Georgia where he rushed for over 1,000 yards. The son of a former Clemson standout and NFL player, Keith Adams Sr., he’ll provide a big 1-2 punch in the Pine View backfield with Ryan Jordan.

The battle behind Pine View in Region 10 could be pretty wide open.

Over the past three years, Snow Canyon, Dixie and Desert Hills have all taken turns finishing runner-up down south. All three could emerge as Pine View’s top challenger again this year, not to mention Crimson Cliffs which could make a big jump in year 3 since the school opened its doors.

The slight edge would seem to go to Dixie, which has a fair amount of experience back, most notably quarterback Bronson Barben.

He had a decent junior season, passing for over 2,600 yards and 18 touchdowns, but Dixie coach Blaine Monkres expects a big jump from Barben, which often happens with second-year quarterbacks in his spread offense.

“He’s a leader on our whole team, he’s probably one of the best if not the best quarterback I’ve had as far as just a pure guy who can pass. I’ve had some good guys who can run like Reggie Graff, Mike Sharp and Blake Barney and those guys, but Bronson can definitely throw the ball better than those guys can,” said Monkres.

He isn’t as elusive as those prior Dixie QBs though, and can’t simply rely on his playmaking ability to clean up busted plays.

“We can’t make mistakes on offense, need to be efficient,” said Monkres.

Deseret Hills was pegged to finish third in Region 10 as new coach Rick Berry inherits a team that returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense.

Berry is one of two new head coaches in Region 10 as Cory Ashby takes over as head coach at Hurricane.

Canyon View is also no longer in the region after it dropped down to 3A after the latest UHSAA realignment.

Perhaps the biggest unknown quantity down south is Crimson Cliffs. The third-year school returns eight starters on offensive and eight on defense as coach Jaron Tate said the team finally has a complete roster of seniors, juniors and sophomores

The Mustangs were competitive in region with largely underclassmen last year, but a year stronger they could surprise some teams in 2021.

Snow Canyon was projected to finish in the bottom half of region play this year, which would be a big drop after finishing second to Pine View last year. It has some all-state caliber players to replace, but if it does a top three finish is certainly possible

Region 10 projections

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

1. Pine View Panthers

  • All-time record: 250-150 (38 years)

2021 schedule

Head coach: Ray Hosner

Currently the second-longest tenured coach in the state at the same school, entering his 21st season at Pine View. His teams have posted a 171-64 record over the past 20 years. He’s a graduate of James Madison High School in New York and Southern Utah University.

Coach Hosner general outlook

“I just think they’re good, hard-working kids. They love the game, they don’t mind grinding. They’re motto this year is it’s not about us, they have several service projects they’ve been working on. They love football, but they want to make sure they’re serving and making an impact also on the community.”

Offensive coordinator: Gary Crowton

2020 offense: 41.0 ppg (third in 4A)

  • 8 returning starters.
  • Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Dominique McKenzie, WR
  • Marcus McKenzie, WR
  • Tyson Moten, WR
  • Peter Falaniko, OL
  • Bradeon Nomee, OL
  • Peyton Kalika, OL
  • Vai Lefe, OL
  • Ryan Jordan, RB
  • Austin Kogan, K

Key offensive newcomers

  • Turner Williams, QB/Slot
  • Tyler Brown, QB
  • Sawyer Wood, QB
  • Abe Rosenlund, QB
  • Keith Adams, RB
  • Byron Cullison, RB

Defensive coordinator: KJ Boyer

2020 defense: 20.6 ppg (fourth in 4A)

  • 7 returning starters.
  • 3-4 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Tasi Lototai, DT
  • Corben Gifford, NG
  • Dylan Becker, LB
  • Ryan Jordan, LB
  • Faagalu Aetonu, LB
  • Ian Becker, LB (moving from safety)
  • Marcus McKenzie, S

Key defensive newcomers

  • Christian Pilimai, DT
  • Vai Tia Tia, DL
  • Tolu Tia Tia, DL
  • Seth Shumway, DL
  • Tanner Fordham, LB
  • Jake Sersansie, DB
  • Ben Beckstrand, DB
  • Dominique McKenzie, DB
  • Byron Cullison, CB

2. Dixie Flyers

  • All-time record: 457-259-6 (76 years)
  • State titles: 8 (1957, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1998, 2012, 2014)

2021 schedule

Head coach: Blaine Monkres

The most tenured coach in the state, Monkres is entering his 31st season as a head coach in Utah with a 218-120 record. He’s coached at Morgan, Fremont, Murray, Riverton and Dixie. He’s in his second stint at Dixie, where he’s coached a combined 10 years with a 79-38 record and state titles in 2012 and 2014. He’s a graduate of Clearfield High School and Weber State.

Coach Monkres general outlook

“We had a lot of injuries to key senior players last year which enabled us to play a few underclassman that would not have played. Bronson Barben is returning at QB which is a big plus for us. Overall general size is always a problem for us on the offensive and defensive line but we have some kids that I hope will step up and battle on Friday nights.”

Offensive coordinator: Blaine Monkres

2020 offense: 23.8 ppg (13th in 4A)

  • 5 returning starters.
  • Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Nick Zimmerman, OL
  • Brock Reese, OL
  • Bronson Barben, QB
  • KC Erickson, OL
  • Alex Alldredge, OL

Key offensive newcomers

  • Mason Kesterson, TE
  • Jahkeo Mitchell, WR
  • Jaxon Barben, WR
  • Derek Kesterson, WR
  • Jeffrey Christian, RB

Defensive coordinator: Ken Beazer

2020 defense: 19.3 ppg (third in 4A)

  • 6 returning starters.
  • Even front defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Honor Alo, DL
  • Truemann Alo, LB
  • Dave Hollings, LB
  • Bode Ray, LB
  • Treven Alldredge, LB
  • Mamao Tofi, DB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Jahkeo Mitchell, CB
  • Chet Atkinson, S
  • Cole Stewart, DE

3. Desert Hills Thunder

  • All-time record: 91-55 (13 years)
  • State titles: 2 (2013, 2016)

2021 schedule

Head coach: Rick Berry

Entering his first season as head coach for Desert Hills. He’s a graduate of Skyline High School and BYU Idaho.

Coach Berry general outlook

“We have a good balance of returners coming back on both sides of the ball. We have a new head coach and defensive coordinator who brings a lot of experience coaching both the collegiate and high school levels. The boys picking the new defensive schemes, coverages. On the offensive side we also have a new coordinator who has a lot of experience having coached alongside coach Berry at the collegiate and high school levels. The boys are doing picking up the new offense. The community is optimistic and enthusiastic about our new head coach and we are all excited to get back on the turf in August.”

Offensive coordinator: Jim Eggleston

2020 offense: 22.3 ppg (15th in 4A)

  • 8 returning starters.
  • Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Dawson Bundy, OG
  • Robby Tangren, OT
  • Maguire May, C/OG
  • Steele Wyman, OG
  • Eric Olsen, TE
  • Fuailetolo, Noah, QB
  • Tayven Mortenson, Slot/WR

Defensive coordinator: Rick Berry

2020 defense: 25.2 ppg (10th in 4A)

  • 7 returning starters.
  • 4-3 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Dawson Bundy, DT
  • Robby Tangren, DT
  • Eric Olsen, DE
  • Jake Wilkins, LB
  • CY Nunley, MLB
  • Trey Leavitt, CB
  • Awsten Turnbow, SS

4. Crimson Cliffs Mustangs

  • All-time record: 5-16 (2 years)

2021 schedule

Head coach: Jaron Tate

In two years since Crimson Cliffs opened, he’s led the Mustangs to a 5-16 record. Prior to taking over at Crimson Cliffs, he spent 10 years as an assistant at Dixie High School. He’s a graduate of Canyon View High School and Southern Utah University.

Coach Tate general outlook

“After two seasons of small senior class sizes due to being a new school, we are excited to compete for the first time with a complete roster. Our youth in the past has created a lot of varsity experience on the team with eight returning starters on each side of the football.”

Offensive coordinator: Keola Loo

2020 offense: 17.1 ppg (18th in 4A)

  • 8 returning starters.
  • 3-4 defense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Chase Hansen, QB
  • Easton Droubay, RB
  • Parker Andrus, OL
  • Cameron Smithson, OL
  • Stone Hansen, OL
  • Gunner Orr, WR
  • Jaxon Richey, WR
  • Jordan Eaton, WR

Defensive coordinator: Wayne Alofipo

2020 defense: 22.8 ppg (seventh in 4A)

  • 8 returning starters.
  • 3-4 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Zach Andrus, ILB
  • Corbin Cuff, S
  • Isaac Golder, CB
  • Jackson Griffiths, ILB
  • Wai Kaonohi, OLB
  • Nalu Loo, DL
  • Devin McAffee, DL
  • Fasito’otai Salanoa-Sagapolu, DL

5. Snow Canyon Warriors

  • All-time record: 166-117 (27 years)
  • State titles: 2 (1996, 1999)

2021 schedule

Head coach: Mike Esplin

Entering his fifth season as head coach at Snow Canyon where his teams have posted a 29-23 record the past four years. He’s a graduate of Snow Canyon High School and the University of Utah.

Coach Esplin general outlook

“We have athletes at all positions. The student-athletes in our program understand how important the weight room is. We have good team speed. We should have more endurance than the teams we play. We are unselfish and believe in each other. We are a smart team. We have a mix of key returners and team members that have been working to have the opportunity to start and play. Those team members that haven’t started yet will become known and respected names with hard work. They have the skills and ability. They need game experience to gain the confidence they will need. Our returning starters are expected to lead our team.”

Offensive coordinator: Tim Nowatzke

2020 offense: 33.2 ppg (sixth in 4A)

  • 7 returning starters.
  • Multiple offenses.

Returning offensive starters

  • Jordan Wade, WR
  • Frutuoso Alejos, OL
  • Logan Mendenhall, WR
  • Will Warner, WR
  • Brooks Esplin, WR
  • Jake Hill, WR

Key offensive newcomers

  • Hunter Johnson, QB
  • Abram Gardner, C
  • Beau Miller, OL

Defensive coordinator: Alshondre Smith

2020 defense: 19.3 ppg (second in 4A)

  • 4 returning starters.
  • Multiple defenses.

Returning defensive starters

  • Logan Mendenhall, DB
  • Brooks Esplin, DB
  • Will Warner, DB
  • Jake Hill, DB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Drake Kelly, LB
  • Kyle Kennedy, LB
  • Braydon Jones, DB
  • Landon Robinson, LB
  • Rockwell Jones, LB
  • Bo Hickman, LB
  • Ayden Anaya, DL
  • Phoenix Oliver, DL
  • Beau Miller, DL
  • Carson Nowatzke, LB
  • Kolter Stuart, DB

6. Cedar City Reds

  • All-time record: 376-329-8 (74 years)

2021 schedule

Head coach: Josh Bennett

Entering his seventh season as Cedar City’s head coach, tallying a 28-35 record over the past six seasons. He’s a graduate of Millard High School and Southern Utah University.

Coach Bennett general outlook

“We are excited for another year. We may have the most speed we’ve had in years with a strong offensive Line. We have some great running backs returning and a good group of underclasses that are expected to contribute.”

Offensive coordinator: Josh Bennett

2020 offense: 28.9 ppg (eighth in 4A)

  • 6 returning starters.
  • Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Parker Allen, OT
  • Elliot Corser, OG
  • Ben Ellis, RB
  • Braxtan Torres, WR
  • Conner Hardman, WR
  • Matthew Villa-Rowe, OT

Key offensive newcomers

  • Bryson Bennett, Center
  • Trent Durbin, OT
  • DJ Warren, WR

Defensive coordinator: Mark Esplin

2020 defense: 21.3 ppg (sixth in 4A)

  • 5 returning starters.
  • 3-3/4-2 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Kason Crandall, S
  • Braxtan Torres, Corner
  • Matthew Villa-Rowe, DT
  • Ben Ellis, LB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Tel Hirschi, DB
  • Isaac Bell, DB
  • Bryson Bennett, LB
  • Ryan Hill, LB
  • Damien McGarvey, DB

7. Hurricane Tigers

  • All-time record: 316-352-12 (71 years)
  • State titles: 1 (2011)

2021 schedule

Head coach: Cory Ashby

Entering his first season as head coach at Hurricane High School. He’s a graduate of Hurricane and Southern Utah University.

Coach Ashby general outlook

“Although we don’t have a lot of returning starters we saw a lot of our underclassmen get some quality minutes on the field, so I am confident in those roles being taken over. It’s a new coaching staff but we retained the coordinators so it will be the first time in over four or so years that the boys are coming into the season with pretty much the same defense and offense so it’s great getting a little more in depth with what we want the kids to do and with our QB having a year under his belt and only a junior. I like where we are starting the season. All of our kids are working hard this offseason and we are excited to get the season going.”

Offensive coordinator: Cory Ashby

2020 offense: 12.0 ppg (21st in 4A)

  • 3 returning starters.
  • Multiple gap schemes offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Jesse Horn, OL
  • Mohanri Tunaunaipia, OL
  • Carter Ashby, QB
  • RJ Wright, K

Key offensive newcomers

  • Adrix Clegg, RT
  • Hunter Prince, RB/WR
  • RJ Wright, WR
  • Dre Mendoza, WR

Defensive coordinator: Nick Hansen

2020 defense: 33.5 ppg (21st in 4A)

  • 4 returning starters.
  • 4-2-5 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Nifai Iloa, DE/LB
  • Ashton Williams, LB
  • Jesse Horn, DL
  • Cole Johnson, Safety
  • Mikah Murphy, LB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Jake Barlow, DE
  • Isaiah Eggerton, DB
  • Ephraim Johnson, LB
  • Dallen Yates, DT
  • Jace Meacham, DB
  • Torren Haynes