Over the past 20 years with Ray Hosner as head coach, Pine View has been one of the most consistent programs in the state with a 73% winning percentage, 10 semifinal appearances and six state championship game appearances.
During each one of those six championship appearances, there’s always been someone better though. Whether it was narrow losses to rival Desert Hills in 2013 and 2016, or blowout losses to teams like Logan and Timpview along the way, winning that last game has always been the most challenging.
Pine View hopes to get another shot at that elusive title in next week’s 4A state championship, but first it’s got to take care of business against a really good Snow Canyon team in the 4A semifinals this Friday at 5 p.m.
These teams played a thrilling back-and-forth game back in week 8 with Pine View prevailing 36-35 as Snow Canyon missed a field goal as time expired.
That miss handed Pine View the undefeated Region 9 title and now the right to host this Friday’s semifinal.
“We’re definitely excited for the rematch. Both teams have had pretty good seasons which makes it a lot of fun. It’s fun when you have a crosstown rival you get to face again,” said Pine View assistant coach Ben Meier.
Pine View has won 11 straight games since the 42-38 season-opening loss to Ridgeline. It’s done so with a high-octane offense that tries to play as fast as possible. It’s scored 30-plus points in every game but two, including a 49-7 blowout win over Bear River in the quarterfinals.
“Coach (Gary) Crowton has done a good job this season preparing our offense. We love to play fast-paced offense and we like to put a lot of points on the board and we’ve been able to do that most of the season,” said Meier.
Pine View isn’t the highest-scoring team in 4A, but it ranks third averaging 41.1 ppg led by quarterback Brayden Bunnell who has passed for 3,062 yards and 37 touchdowns this year.
Bunnell threw for 359 yards and two scores in the earlier meeting with Snow Canyon, but he did throw a 70-yard pick six.
While Pine View breezed into the semis, Snow Canyon had to overcome a 19-7 deficit in the second half as it rallied for the 20-19 victory over Stansbury.
“Momentum wasn’t going our direction, but the kids didn’t panic and we knew we could get it done. Defense stepped up big time against an offense that had been rolling,” said Snow Canyon coach Mike Esplin.
Snow Canyon quarterback Landon Frei passed for 202 yards and three touchdowns with the running game pretty much held in check against Stansbury.
Snow Canyon prefers to be balanced offensively with Bretton Stone getting involved in the running game, something it was more effective with in the previous game against Pine View.
With Snow Canyon making its first semifinal appearance since 2015, Esplin said it’s important for the players not to get caught up in the emotion of the game — which actually might be easier since the game is being played at Pine View High School instead of the University of Utah because of COVID-19.
“Sometimes you get to these bigger games, semifinal or championship and you try and do things more than your job is and that can hurt you. We just need to do our job and do it consistently,” said Esplin.
Snow Canyon statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 35.6 ppg (6th in 4A)
Scoring defense: 16.6 ppg (2nd in 4A)
Passing leader: Landon Frei (138-213, 64.7%, 1,999 yards, 24 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Bretton Stone (80 carries, 568 yards, 5 TDs), Landon Frei (101 carries, 400 yards, 11 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Bretton Stone (20 rec., 310 yards, 3 TDs), Braxton Hickman (25 rec., 298 yards, 4 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Braxton Hickman (72 tackles), Isaac Lees (51 tackles)
Sack leaders: Isaac Lees (4 sacks)
Interception leaders: Brenton Childs, Will Warner (2 INTs)
Pine View statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 41.1 (3rd in 4A)
Scoring defense: 20.3 (5th in 4A)
Passing leader: Brayden Bunnell (203-332, 61.1%, 3,062 yards, 37 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Enoch Takau (132 carries, 756 yards, 14 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Dominique McKenzie (62 rec., 1,333 yards, 17 TDs), Preston Mann (45 rec., 748 yards, 10 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Dylan Becker (60 tackles), Marcus McKenzie (52 tackles)
Sack leaders: Ryan Jordan, Masio Davenport (2 sacks)
Interception leaders: Dylan Becker, TJ Francis (2 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for Snow Canyon High School
All-time record: 166-116 (27 years)
Region championships: 5 (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003 co)
Playoff appearances: 18
All-time playoff record: 25-15
State championships: 2 (1996, 1999)
State championship record: 2-2
Felt’s Facts for Pine View High School
All-time record: 249-149 (38 years)
Region championships: 12 (1985-co, 1986, 1993, 1994 co, 2001, 2003 co, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2014 co, 2019, 2020)
Playoff appearances: 29
All-time playoff record: 31-28
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-6