Facebook Twitter

High school football: Juab the clear-cut favorite once again in 3A South region

SHARE High school football: Juab the clear-cut favorite once again in 3A South region

It’s been nine years since any team in the current 3A South region has been the top region team while not being named Juab, and expectations aren’t about to change anytime soon.

After being the lone 3A South team in the state semifinals last year, the Wasps look to be the cream of the crop in central Utah this season, and are projected as the top team in the region once again.

One could argue that the Wasps deserve more praise for last year than they did winning the championship in 2020. A team that lost 27 seniors from the previous year turning around and still making it to the doorstep of the 3A championship game speaks volumes about the higher standards for the program set by coach Mike Bowring, who is entering his 18th season with Juab and his 26th season as a head coach in the state.

“We viewed it as a positive,” Bowring said. “We knew we had a lot of players playing new positions for us, and we were happy with the progress. Obviously, we weren’t happy to lose, but as a whole, we were really happy with what that group did last year.”

Despite its youth, Juab still took the 3A South in 2021, and with nine returning starters on each side of the ball this season, any other teams’ hopes of kicking the Wasps’ flag off the peak of the mountain will be a tall order indeed.

While typically a defensive-minded program, Bowring said last year’s team struggled to defend like it has in years past. The Wasps allowed 24.3 points per game and were scorched to the tune of 53 points by Morgan in the semifinal.

“That’s one area we’ve got to get better in,” Bowring said. “We gave up a lot of points last year, and (defense) has been a staple for us a lot of years.”

The Wasps have most of their returning defenders returning on the secondary, and Bowring sees that as a positive in providing leadership to right the ship and get things back to where they were.

Coming in after Juab is Richfield at No. 2. Preseason projections have rarely smiled upon the Wildcats as they struggled for many years before a breakout 10-win season in 2020. They took a step back last year, finishing 4-7, but coach Ryan Shaddix built the program from the ground up and has a solid foundation with eight returners on offense and eight on defense.

“We were pretty young last year and finished the year with nine underclassmen on both sides of the ball,” Shaddix said. “They’re a little bit wiser and stronger. They’ve got those butterflies out of the way and are ready for varsity football.”

During Shaddix’s seven years in the program, he says the biggest change is convincing the players to believe they can compete with every team. It certainly showed last season when Juab needed a last-minute touchdown to beat the Wildcats, 28-27.

Richfield does bear the task of replacing star Kaden Chidester on defense. Chidester signed with BYU after last season.

North Sanpete projects as a No. 3 finish and returns five offensive starters and six defensive starters. The Hawks may have some retooling to do after graduating arguably their most accomplished quarterback in school history, Landon Bowles. Bowles tossed 70 touchdowns during three seasons and rushed for five more.

They might be helped in that regard by senior QB Ty Allan. Allan started several games as a sophomore when Bowles was injured and completed 12 touchdown passes. Coach Rhett Bird reported that former Bingham coach Dave Peck, Bird’s uncle, will be assisting the team as well.

Manti projects to finish at No. 4, but the Templars were extremely young last year with only seven seniors on the entire squad. Coach Cole Meacham, now in his 23rd season (the longest in Utah with the same school), will bring back nine returning starters on both sides of the ball, tying Juab for the most in 3A. Manti’s offense brings back a senior quarterback and nearly all of the receiving corps.

Canyon View enters the projections at No. 5 and is still looking for its first winning season since 200 when it went 7-5. It got ever so close last season with a 5-6 record in its first shot at 3A football after spending years in 4A. The Falcons return five starters on each side of the ball.

After a rough 2-8 campaign in 2021, Carbon will have work to do at No. 6 in the projections with only six returning starters combined.

3A South projections

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

1. Juab Wasps


2021 record: 10-2 (first in 3A South with a 5-0 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 1 in 3A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Morgan, 54-38, in the 3A semifinals.

All-time record: 322-335-3 (66 years).

State titles: 1 (2020).

Region titles: 12 (1976 co, 1995, 1997, 2005 co, 2006 co, 2008, 2014, 2015 co, 2016, 2017 co, 2019, 2020, 2021).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Mike Bowring. Entering his 18th season as head coach at Juab and 26th season overall, making him the second-longest active coach in Utah. His record in 17 years at Juab is 152-60, including a state title in 2020. Previously he coached at Monticello for eight years, finishing 46-30 and a state title in 2001. His overall coaching record stands at 198-90. He’s a graduate of San Juan High School and Southern Utah University.

Coach Mike Bowring’s general outlook: We are excited about the upcoming season. We have quite a few returners from last year and counting on their experience to lead to a successful season. Players have worked hard to improve and get better. We will have more depth this year than we have had.

Offensive coordinator: Mike Bowring.

2021 offense: 34.5 ppg (No. 3 in 3A)

  • Nine returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Alex Jackson, QB
  • Will Harmon, C
  • Taylor Newton, G
  • Ryker Richards, Slot
  • Chase Ingram, Slot
  • Wes Nielsen, Slot
  • Payton Park, WR
  • Justin Stevens, WR
  • Tate Stephensen, G

Key offensive newcomers

  • Connor Cowan, WR
  • Stockton Shepherd, WR
  • Dallen Harris, WR

Defensive coordinator: Jake Downard

2021 defense: 24.3 ppg (No. 5 in 3A)

  • Nine returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Wesley Nielsen, FS
  • Chase Ingram, C
  • Will Harmon, LB
  • Porter Anderson, LB
  • Ryker Richards, S
  • Cooper Blackett, S
  • Taylor Newton, DE
  • Keagan Hall, DL
  • Justin Stevens, C

Key defensive newcomers

  • Jacob Eldridge
  • Aisea Hosea
  • Porter Jackson
  • Jay Rowley
  • Hayden Park

2. Richfield Wildcats


2021 record: 4-7 (tied for second in 3A South with a 3-2 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 10 in 3A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Canyon View, 34-28, in the 3A first round.

All-time record: 365-419-12 (92 years).

State titles: 1 (1984).

Region titles: 18 (1926, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1984 co, 1985, 1988 co, 2020).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Ryan Shaddix. Entering his third season as head coach at Richfield after previously serving as an assistant coach. His teams the past two years posted a 14-9 record. He’s a graduate of River Valley High in Arizona and Dixie State.

Coach Ryan Shaddix’s general outlook: We were very young on both sides of the ball last year, but we were competitive. We are looking forward to starting fast and finishing strong in all aspects of the game this upcoming season. We have a lot of depth, and a solid foundation to build on.

Offensive coordinator: Mark Rappleye

2021 offense: 18.8 ppg (No. 9 in 3A)

  • Eight returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Reggie Hafen, Jr., QB
  • Grant Kling, Sr., WR
  • Brik Breinholt, Sr., WR
  • Austin Nielson, Sr., Center
  • Brevan Anderson, Sr., Guard
  • Nathan Young, Jr., Tackle
  • Cort Moon, Jr., TE
  • Andre Christensen, Sr., Tackle

Key offensive newcomers

  • Emery Thorson, Sr., RB/QB/WR
  • Kai Thomas, Jr., WR
  • Ryker Buchanan, Jr., Guard
  • Gage Yardley, So., WR

Defensive coordinator: Chet White

Richfield defense: 16.3 ppg (No. 3 in 3A)

  • Eight returning starters
  • 3-4 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Dayson Torgerson, Sr., Safety
  • Beck Giblette, Jr., Safety
  • Siaosi “JJ” Taufatofua, Sr., LB
  • Grant Kling, Sr., CB
  • Karter Frischknecht, Sr., CB
  • Caysen Acord, Jr., LB
  • Nathan Young, Jr., NG
  • Ashton White, Jr., DE

Key defensive newcomers

  • Gage Yardley, So., LB
  • Emery Thorson, Sr., LB

3. North Sanpete Hawks


2021 record: 5-7 (tied for fourth in 3A South with a 2-3 record)

2021 RPI ranking: No. 5 in 3A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Morgan, 56-18, in the 3A quarterfinals.

All-time record: 333-465-19 (106 years).

State titles: None.

Region titles: 11 (1923, 1984 co, 1990, 1996 co, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 co, 2004 co, 2005 co, 2015 co).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Rhett Bird: Entering his seventh season as head coach at his alma mater, where his teams have posted a 35-32 record the past six years, including a runner-up finish in 2018.

Coach Rhett Bird’s general outlook: We have a senior group this year with great leadership. Looking on the offensive and defensive side we bring back a lot of experience. I’m excited to see how our kids respond to new changes in the program.

Offensive coordinator: Rhett Bird

2021 offense: 24 ppg (No. 5 in 3A)

  • Five returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Tyler Allan, Sr., QB
  • Beau Jacobson, Sr., TE/WR
  • Tyler Peckham, Sr., OL
  • Jacob Blackham, Jr., OL
  • Owen Sunderlund, Jr., OL

Key offensive newcomers

  • Brock Jacobson, So., WR
  • PJ Cook, Sr., RB
  • Cole Cook, Jr., WR
  • Carson Cook, Jr., WR
  • Keegan Strickland, Sr., TE/WR
  • TK Akauola, Sr., TE

Defensive coordinator: Tu Tui

2021 defense: 25.8 ppg (No. 6 in 3A)

  • Six returning starters
  • Multiple defenses

Returning defensive starters

  • Pj Cook, Sr., DB
  • Carson Cook, Jr., DB
  • Beau Jacobson, Sr., DB
  • Brock Jacobson, So., DB
  • Jorge Murillo, Sr., LB
  • TK Akauola, Sr., DE

Key defensive newcomers

  • Keegan Strickland, Sr., DE
  • Kash Cook, So., DB
  • Cache Nicolson, Jr., LB
  • Odin Laupapa, So., LB
  • Brady Holt, Sr., DL

4. Manti Templars


2021 record: 3-7 (tied for fourth in 3A South with a 2-3 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 8 in 3A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Ogden, 34-28, in the 3A first round.

All-time record: 269-269 (54 years).

State titles: 4 (1999, 2003, 2011, 2012).

Region titles: 9 (1994, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005 co, 2009 co, 2011, 2012, 2013).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Cole Meacham. Entering his 23rd season at Manti, he’s the longest-tenured coach in the state at the same school. His teams have earned a 149-91 record during that stretch, including state titles in 2003, 2011 and 2012. He’s a graduate of Richfield High School and Southern Utah University.

Coach Cole Meacham’s general outlook: A lot of our players got significant game experience last year. They have been working hard to be as prepared as possible for this season.

Offensive coordinator: Fred Taukei’aho

2021 offense: 19.5 ppg (No. 8 in 3A)

  • Nine returning starters
  • Pro Style offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Jace Wilson, Sr., C
  • Braxton Henningson, Jr., OG
  • Trace Cox, Jr., OT
  • Sione Castro, Sr., OT
  • Kayson Douglas, Sr., WB
  • Larson Pogroszewski, Sr., RB
  • Reggie Frischknecht, Jr., WR
  • Scott Lee, Sr., WR
  • Hayden Wade, Sr., WR

Key offensive newcomers

  • Paul Brown, Sr., T
  • Taima Moe, Jr., G
  • Hunter Stevens, Jr., WR
  • Dallin Sweat, Jr., FB

Defensive coordinator: Cole Meacham

2021 defense: 26.7 ppg (No. 7 in 3A)

  • Nine returning starters
  • 4-4 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Braxton Henningson, Jr., DT
  • Troy Madsen, Sr., DT
  • Jace Wilson, Sr., LB
  • Dallin Sweat, Jr., LB
  • Kelan Layton, Jr., LB
  • Bo Stevens, Jr., LB
  • Larson Pogroszewksi, Sr., CB
  • Scott Lee, Sr., CB
  • Reggie Frischknecht, Jr., S
  • Hayden Wade, Sr., LB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Paul Brown, Sr., DE
  • Preston Thompson, Jr., DE
  • Britton Keisel, Jr., LB
  • Kevin Sterner, Jr., LB
  • Taima Moe, Jr., DT
  • Kayson Douglas, Sr., S
  • Hunter Stevens, Jr., S
  • Kayson Bailey, Jr., S

5. Canyon View Falcons


2021 record: 5-6 (tied for second in 3A South with a 3-2 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 7 in 3A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Juan Diego, 34-19, in the 3A quarterfinals.

All-time record: 56-186 (25 years).

State titles: None.

Region titles: None.

2022 schedule

Head coach: Burke Miller: After stints as an assistant coach at Parowan, Cedar and Canyon VIew, Miller heads into his first year as a head coach. He’s a graduate of Moapa Valley High School and the University of Phoenix.

Coach Burke Miller’s general outlook: We are solid on both sides of the ball. Our goal at Canyon View is to become a championship contender year in and year out. It starts with the 2022 season. We expect our young men to compete with anyone they take the field against.

Offensive coordinator: Burke Miller

2021 offense: 18.8 ppg (No. 9 in 3A)

  • Five returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Nick Macias, Sr., QB/WR
  • Dallin Jones, Sr., OL
  • Daniel Serna, Sr., OL
  • Traie Buhler, Jr., WR
  • Karver Mock, Sr., TE

Key offensive newcomers

  • Kyler Roundy, Sr., RB

Defensive coordinator: Pat Ward

2021 defense: 27 ppg (No. 8 in 3A)

  • Five returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Jake Hunter, Sr., LB
  • Karver Mock, Sr., LB
  • Marc Richardson, Jr., LB/DL
  • Lincoln Rushton, Jr., SS
  • Nick Macias, Sr., CB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Logan Maine, Sr., CB

6. Carbon Dinos


2021 record: 2-8 (sixth in 3A South with a 0-5 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 11 in 3A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Union, 37-0, in the 3A first round.

All-time record: 324-549-22 (103 years).

State titles: 3 (1924, 1938, 1951).

Region titles: 2 (1924, 1926, 1930, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1951, 1956, 1957, 1964).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Phil Howa. Entering his third season as head coach at Carbon after a 3-17 record his first two years. His previous head coaching job was 35 years earlier as he coached one season at East Carbon High School in 1984, finishing with a 3-6 record. In between he spent 28 years as the head coach at Helper Middle School. He’s a graduate of Carbon High School and Southern Utah University.

Coach Phil Howa’s general outlook: There’s a lot to look forward to, not only for the future, but for the current season. We are excited for the skills players we have this year and seeing them work along with our quarterback should be fun to watch and work with. Defensively we look forward to building a solid core of kids who will bring intensity and excitement every time they are on the field. It’s the goal to improve every time we step on the field, and being in a competitive 3A region will allow us to do so.

Offensive coordinator: Nick Milovich

2021 offense: 15.5 ppg (No. 11 in 3A)

  • Four returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Cole Cripps, WR, Sr
  • Mason Vasquez, WR, Sr
  • Hyrum Nelson, OL, Sr
  • Jexton Woodhouse, OL, Sr

Key offensive newcomers

  • Wyatt Falk, QB, Sr
  • Ashton Ferguson, WR, Sr
  • Jerden Alderson, WR, Sr
  • Marshea Marvadakis, OL Jr

Defensive coordinator: Jimmy Parker.

2021 defense: 34.3 ppg (No. 11 in 3A)

  • Two returning starters
  • 4-3 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Mason Vasquez, S, Sr
  • Jexton Woodhouse, DL, Sr

Key defensive newcomers

  • Chanse Pendergrass, LB, Sr
  • Bradley Wood, DL, Sr
  • Jerden Alderson, DB, Sr
  • Dmitri Bordea, LB, Sr