Over the past few seasons, Region 11 has been one to keep your eyes on.

The region has been the home of the last three 4A state champions, two of which went on to finish their season undefeated (Sky View in 2020 and Ridgeline last year).

After the RiverHawks cruised in dominant fashion last season — defeating their opponents by an average of 30.8 points per game — it appears that the region is back up for grabs once again, but who’s the favorite to claim that top spot?

The coaches’ preseason projections have tabbed the Green Canyon as the early favorites to win that race. If the projections come to fruition, it would be the Wolves’ first ever region championship.

“It shows the respect that (the coaches) have for our kids, and that’s just really cool and humbling,” Green Canyon head coach Craig Anhder said.

Despite bowing out in the quarterfinals against Crimson Cliffs, the Wolves boasted the second-best scoring defense in 4A last season, behind only Ridgeline.

With eight defensive starters returning, including three of the team’s four leading tacklers from last season (Peyton Johnson, Tate White and Will Wheatley), it appears that the rock-solid defense will be on display once again.

“Our kids (on defense) are tough, they love playing tough football and they thrive playing tough football,” Anhder said. “The essence of good defensive football is being legal, but being nasty as well, and that’s how our kids play. We’ve still got some holes to fill, but I’m excited about where we’re at.”

The offense also returns key production with quarterback Jack Stephens back under center along with backfield mate Gavin Christiansen, who finished as the team’s leading rusher last season.

The offensive line will be anchored by three-year starter Dylan Atkinson, who is the only returning starter up front for Green Canyon. Anhder said that the rest of the offensive line will need to step up this year in order for the unit to thrive.

While the Wolves bring back a majority of their production on both sides of the ball, the same can’t be said for the reigning 4A state champion, Ridgeline, which loses its record-breaking quarterback, Kaden Cox.

The RiverHawks also lose 4A’s leading rusher, Noah White, along with 1,000-yard receiver Stratford Simmons.

Though there are significant vacancies to fill, Ridgeline head coach Travis Cox said that the team is going to embrace the same “one week at a time” mentality that earned them a 13-0 record last season.

Replacing Kaden Cox as the signal-caller will be the team’s top receiver last year, Jackson Olsen. Quarterback is actually the original position of the senior, who remarkably played wideout for the first time last season.

Travis Cox said that the offense — led by three returning starters on the offensive line (Jake Alles, Easton Dahlke and Levi Painter) — might do different things from last year’s group, but he feels good about the unit heading into the season.

“We’re losing a lot of guys, but when you can rely on the offensive line that’s been through the wars that those guys have been through, that gives us a lot of confidence,” Travis Cox said. “Our team believes in those guys up front and we feel confident going forward.”

Though the offense will look different, Ridgeline does return five starters on defense, including top pass rusher Tanner Paskett (10 sacks last year).

Picked by the coaches to finish second in the region, it seems that the region’s coaches don’t think the RiverHawks will be suffering many withdrawals this season.

Coming in at third in the poll is Sky View, who faces even more turnover on its roster than Ridgeline, but the consistency of the program through recent years has garnered plenty of respect from the region’s coaches.

One starter on offense and three defensive starters return from last season’s squad that suffered a heartbreaking, one-point overtime loss to Dixie in the quarterfinals. 

Juniors Carson Thatcher and Jace Favero will battle for the Bobcats’ quarterback snaps, but linebackers Cam Carling and Kason Spackman return to quarterback the defense.

Mountain Crest and its new head coach Ryan Visser came in at fourth in the preseason projections. The Mustangs struggled to a 2-9 record last season, but the third coaching staff in as many seasons will look to turn things around.

Bear River (fifth) and Logan (sixth) round out the projected region standings as they each seek spots in the top half of the region after bottom three finishes over the past few years.

But as the teams gear up for the season, each are aware that it’s going to take a lot more than the opinions of opposing coaches in order to finish where they hope to be. That work is done on the field.

“It’s not about where we’re picked to start, it’s where we want to finish that really matters,” Anhder said.

“We want to end first and that’s going to take a lot of work to do that in a region as tough as (Region 11). There’s very, very good coaches, great players that commit to doing things right, so it’ll take a lot of work to win one game, let alone many.”

Region 11 projections

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

1. Green Canyon Wolves

2021 Record: 7-3 (third in Region 10 with a 3-2 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 3 in 4A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Crimson Cliffs, 31-10, in the 4A quarterfinals.

All-time record: 26-26 (five years).

State titles: None.

Region titles: Non.e

2022 schedule

Head coach: Craig Anhder. Has coached Green Canyon in all five seasons since the school opened its doors, tallying a 27-26 record. Previously he spent 12 years as Sky View’s head coach from 2005 to 2016 leading the Bobcats to a 90-46 record. His career coaching record is 117-72. He’s a graduate of Mountain Crest High School and Utah State.

Coach Craig Anhder’s general outlook: This year looks good. These boys have been working hard in the offseason. We are working hard to mesh the new players to the roster with the experienced ones.

Offensive coordinator: Craig Anhder

2021 offense: 20.7 ppg (No. 9 in 4A)

  • Four returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Jack Stephens, Sr., QB
  • Caden Stuart, Sr., WR
  • Dylan Atkinson, Sr., OL
  • Gavin Christensen, Sr., RB
  • Boston Stewart, Sr., WR

Key offensive newcomers

  • Kael Cragun, Sr., WR
  • Dewey Egan, Sr., WR
  • Joe Rubio, Jr., OL

Defensive coordinator: Cam Johnson.

2021 defense: 19 ppg (No. 3 in 4A)

  • Eight returning starters
  • 3-3 Triangle defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Caden Stuart, Sr., FS
  • Peyton Johnson, Sr., Alpha
  • Brody Hamann, Sr., S
  • Tate White, Sr., LB
  • Cordell Coats, Sr., LB
  • Jackson Landon, Sr., DL
  • Spencer Gerber, Sr., CB
  • Will Wheatley, Jr., DL

Key defensive newcomers

  • Logan Hull, Sr., DL
  • Carter Stembridge, Jr., DL
  • Tanner Ferrin, Jr., DB

2. Ridgeline RiverHawks

2021 Record: 13-0 (first in Region 10 with a 5-0 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 2 in 4A.

2021 postseason: Beat Dixie, 45-20, in the 4A championship.

All-time record: 45-25 (six years).

State titles: 1 (2021).

Region titles: 1 (2021).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Travis Cox. Entering his third season as head coach at Ridgeline High School after an impressive 22-2 record the past two years, including a state title in 2021. He’s a graduate of Mountain Crest and Utah State.

Coach Travis Cox’s general outlook: We have a good mix of seniors who started and were a big part of our team last year, while some of them have had to wait their turn behind a really good senior class. I’m excited to see them get their chance and am anxious to see how they perform under the Friday night lights. We are fortunate to return three good O-lineman in Jake Alles, Easton Dahlke and Levi Painter and an athlete like Jackson Olson on offense. Defensively we return some key players at LB in Owen Munk and JT White, Tanner Paskett at DL and Ashton Macfarlane in the secondary. The key to our season will be how quickly our new kids can adjust to the speed at the varsity level and of course we need to stay healthy.

Offensive coordinator: Jeremy Livingston

2021 offense: 45.2 ppg (No. 1 in 4A)

  • Four returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Jackson Olsen, Sr., WR/QB
  • Jake Alles, Sr., OT
  • Easton Dahlke, Sr., center
  • Levi Painter, Jr., OT

Key offensive newcomers

  • Carson Cox, Jr., WR
  • Ashton Macfarlane, Sr., WR
  • Will Rippstein, Sr., RB
  • Wes Murdock, So., TE
  • Mason Criddle, Sr., WR

Defensive coordinator: Travis Cox

Ridgeline defense: 14.4 ppg (No. 1 in 4A)

  • Five returning starters
  • 3-4 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Tanner Paskett, Sr., DL
  • Owen Munk, Sr., LB/SS
  • Ashton Macfarlane, Sr., DB
  • JT White, So., LB
  • Luke Sorenson, Sr., DL

Key defensive newcomers

  • Max Baer, Sr., LB
  • Noah Kekauoha, Sr., DB
  • Caysen Dana, Jr., DL
  • Trey Johnson, Sr., DL
  • Fred Malouf, Jr., DL
  • Traceton Stokes, Sr., DB

3. Sky View Bobcats

2021 record: 7-5 (second in Region 10 with a 4-1 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 5 in 4A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Dixie, 36-35, in the 4A quarterfinals.

All-time record: 314-262-8 (58 years).

State titles: 2 (2019, 2020).

Region titles: 11 (1969, 1972, 1979 co, 1982, 2006, 2007 co, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

2022 schedule

Head coach: Christopher Howell. In three seasons as Sky View’s head coach he’s led the team to a 33-6 combined record and state titles in 2019 and 2020. Previously he was the head coach at Ridgeline from 2016 to 2018 with a 19-15 record. He’s a graduate of Logan High School and Utah State.

Coach Christopher Howell’s general outlook: We lost a lot of seniors last year and have very few players coming back with much playing time. Our kids have worked really hard this off-season, and have really high expectation. It will be fun to watch players emerge as the season progresses.

Offensive coordinator: Brandt Reese

2021 offense: 25.4 ppg (No. 7 in 4A)

  • One returning starter
  • Multiple offenses

Returning offensive starters

  • Shez Hulse, Sr., center

Key offensive newcomers

  • Michael Furgeson, Sr., WR
  • Brooks Rigby, Sr., WR
  • Kason Spackman, Sr., TE
  • Brevin Egbert, Jr., RB
  • Carson Thatcher, Jr., QB
  • Jace Favero, Jr., QB

Defensive coordinator: Chris Howell

2021 defense: 20.6 ppg (No. 4 in 4A)

  • Three returning starters
  • 3-4 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Cam Carling, Sr., LB
  • Kason Spackman, Sr., LB
  • Bryton Williams, Jr., CB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Mason Bird, Sr., Nose
  • Brooks Rigby, Sr., FS
  • Carver Ballard, Jr., CB
  • Seth Chambers, Sr., LB
  • Jaxson Bradley, Sr., OLB

4. Mountain Crest Mustangs

2021 record: 2-9 (fifth in Region 10 with a 1-4 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 11 in 4A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Crimson Cliffs, 30-0, in the 4A first round.

All-time record: 252-180 (39 years).

State titles: 3 (1987, 2001, 2005).

Region titles: 13 (1991, 1992 co, 1994, 1998, 1999 co, 2001 co, 2004 co, 2005, 2007 co, 2008, 2009, 2010-co, 2012).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Ryan Visser. After serving as the Big Piney, Wyo. head coach the past two years, Visser is taking over as head coach at Mountain Crest. He’s a graduate of Preston High School in Idaho and Idaho State.

Coach Ryan Visser’s general outlook: Great group of guys that have put in a lot of work. This being the third different coaching staff in three years is a lot. They’ve had a great attitude and have done everything they’ve been asked to do with a positive attitude. We’ve got great team speed and some good linemen play.

Offensive coordinator: Ryan Visser

2021 offense: 10.3 ppg (No. 13 in 4A)

  • Eight returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Jorgen Miller, Sr., OT
  • Nik Tolbert, Sr., G
  • Hunter Hammer, Sr., C
  • JC Jones, Jr., G
  • Kolton Kirby, Sr., WR
  • Carson Olsen, Sr., RB
  • Cooper Gardner, Sr., TE
  • Dontay McMurtrey, Sr., RB

Key offensive newcomers

  • Casey Crofts, Jr., QB
  • Thatcher Phelps, Jr., WR
  • Zander Ryan, Sr., WR
  • Landon Beus, Sr., WR
  • Cole Jones, Jr., RB
  • Exander Miller, Jr., OL
  • Trevis Leiser, Sr., WR

Defensive coordinator: Matt Landon

2021 defense: 32.8 ppg (No. 9 in 4A)

  • Four returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Carson Olsen, Sr., LB
  • Colton Kirby, Sr., CB
  • Porter Budge, Sr., LB
  • Dax Benson, Jr., LB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Nick Nielson, Sr., DB
  • Will DeKorver, Jr., FS
  • Jakyb Bitton, Jr., DB
  • Brayden Tannahill, Sr., DE
  • Jud Wells, Sr., DL
  • Karsten Buttars, Jr., LB
  • Adam Keller, Sr., SS
  • Porter Kennington, Jr., DE

5. Bear River Bears

2021 record: 0-10 (sixth in Region 10 with a 0-5 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 13 in 4A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Dixie, 48-20, in the 4A first round.

All-time record: 404-473-19 (100 years).

State titles: 3 (2003, 2004, 2006).

Region titles: 13 (1937, 1959, 1983, 1984, 1985 co, 1986 co, 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Trampis Waite. He’s a first-time head coach with previous assistant coaching experience at Eagle Point High in Oregon and then as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Eastern Oregon. He played high school football at Ontario High in Oregon.

Coach Trampis Waite’s general outlook: I am very excited about the 2022 season. Bear River football is going to look very different than years past. We have a solid group of kids. Some returners and several newcomers that are going to step up and contribute in big ways for us. I believe we have a new energy and belief that we can compete at a high level in an extremely tough region. I expect us to make major strides this season to get back to where we want to be.

Offensive coordinator: Trampis Waite

2021 offense: 15.4 ppg (No. 12 in 4A)

  • Four returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Ryker Jeppsen, Sr., QB
  • Tre Duncombe, Sr., OL
  • Jayden Martin, Jr., WR
  • Owen Olsen, Jr., QB

Key offensive newcomers

  • Nixon Weston, Jr., OL/DL
  • Jeshua Koch, Sr., OL/DL
  • Kaden Zaugg, Sr., OL
  • Jace Roberts, Jr., WR
  • Weston Ballard, Sr., WR

Defensive coordinator: Jacob Batke

2021 defense: 37.4 ppg (No. 12 in 4A)

  • Six returning starters
  • 3-4 defense.

Returning defensive starters

Ryker Jeppsen, Sr., DB

Xander Lish, Sr., DL

Talon Marble, Jr., DB

Fierce Miller, Sr., LB

Jace Roberts, Jr., DB/LB

Tyson Braegger, Jr., LB

Key defensive newcomers

James Anderson, Jr., DB

Nixon Weston, Jr., DL

Diego Gonzalez, Jr., LB

Aiden Wilson, Jr., LB

Landon Russell, Sr., DL

6. Logan Grizzlies

2021 record: 6-5 (fourth in Region 10 with a 2-3 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 7 in 4A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Ridgeline, 50-7, in the 4A quarterfinals.

All-time record: 539-396-24 (106 years).

State titles: 8 (1978, 1988, 1989, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2015).

Region titles: 27 (1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1931, 1932, 1947, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1966 co, 1967 co, 1978, 1979 co, 1985 co, 1986 co, 1988, 1989, 1993, 2000, 2001 co, 2005, 2007, 2010 co, 2011, 2013, 2015).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Bart Bowen. Entering his fourth season as head coach at Logan after posting a 13-20 record his first three years. Previously he spent one season at Cottonwood in 2018, where his team went 1-9. He’s a graduate of Bear River High School and Utah State.

Coach Bart Bowen’s general outlook: We are very young this year, but the guys have worked their butts off this offseason. We are stronger than we have ever been. We look forward to playing physical football.

Offensive coordinator: Lloyd Mason

2021 offense: 24.6 ppg (No. 8 in 4A)

  • Two returning starters
  • Multiple offenses

Returning offensive starters

  • Tilose Tupou, Sr., OL
  • Kaimani Laing, Sr., FB

Key offensive newcomers

  • Keaton Pond, Jr., QB
  • Tytan Mason, So., RB
  • Ethan Bracken, Sr., RB
  • Reed Olsen, So., TE
  • Andrew Thornley, Sr., WR
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Defensive coordinator: Dustin Long

2021 defense: 34.0 ppg (No. 10 in 4A)

  • Five returning starters
  • 3-4 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • James Wang, Sr., DL.
  • Tilose Tupou, Sr., DL.
  • Krue Kennington, Sr., LB.
  • Kai Laing, Sr., LB.
  • Boede Rudd, Sr., LB.

Key defensive newcomers

  • Tytan Mason, So., LB
  • Reed Olsen, So., DL
  • Alan Lazzari, Jr., CB
  • Ryan Lazzari, Jr., CB
  • Brock Brown, So., FS
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