A year ago, Sky View’s football team lifted a state championship trophy for the first time in the 56-year history of the school.
It’s a storyline Pine View hopes to copy this Saturday, which would end numerous years of heartache.
Pine View (12-1) vs. Sky View (12-0)
4A state championship
Saturday, 2 p.m. (at Dixie State)
Parry’s Power Guide: Sky View by 5
All-time series: Series tied 1-1
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Pine View’s Ray Hosner and Sky View’s Chris Howell
Last meeting: 2017 quarterfinal, Sky View 35, Pine View 21
Pine View’s football team is 0-6 in state title games since the school opened 38 years ago. Coming off a resounding semifinal win over region foe Snow Canyon last week, the Panthers hope the seventh time is the charm.
To win that elusive title, Pine View will have to knock off defending state champion and undefeated Sky View when the teams square off at Dixie State at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
It’s a long way for the northern-most team in Utah to travel for a game, but Sky View coach Chris Howell said that isn’t a concern — especially with the nice weather expected.
“With the way COVID is going and the fact we weren’t even sure we were going to get a season, we’re just super happy to still be playing football. We don’t care where we play it,” said Howell.
While Sky View is back in the title game for a second straight season, Pine View is making its first appearance in the state championship since 2016.
A big reason why is Pine View’s commitment defensively. Intentionally or not, it has been very average defensively the past few years and often won by outscoring teams. The 2020 season started out that way as well, but in the past month Pine View has been lights out defensively, only allowing 24 total points of the past four games.
That includes a resounding 48-7 win over Snow Canyon in the semis.
It heads into the championship allowing 19.2 ppg, which in 4A is second only to Sky View, which is only allowing a stingy 11.6 ppg.
Howell acknowledges this Pine View team is the best offensive team his players have seen this year.
“They’re explosive. They have the ability to blow the top off your defense in a big hurry,” said Howell.
The last thing anyone wants to do is get in a track meet with Pine View, but Howell is confident it won’t come to that.
“Since I’ve been at Sky View, I don’t know that we’ve played a game where we’ve had to match someone score for score, so I’m hoping this game doesn’t turn into one of those,” said Howell.
Sky View’s defense will need some help from its offense as well with some clock-churning drives that keep Pine View’s offense on the sideline. Getting stops on third down will be critical for Pine View’s defense.
“The biggest challenge they present is their run game. They’ve got some big offensive lineman, they have a really good running back that runs hard and that will be our focus to stop that run game,” said Pine View assistant coach Ben Meier.
Rick Muae on the defensive line and then linebackers Enoch Takau and Ryan Jordan will need to have a big game to slow Sky View’s rushing attack.
Sky View quarterback Kasen Carlsen is a big part of the running game as well, and Howell said his effectiveness throwing is often correlated to getting things going on the ground. For the season, he’s passed for 24 touchdowns and run for nine more.
Carlsen only attempted six passes in a 28-0 semifinal win over Ridgeline last week in a frigid 4A semifinal in Cache Valley.
Pine View hopes to see Carlsen throwing it a lot on Saturday. That means Pine View is putting up points on its possession and forcing Sky View to chase the game.
“We want to put pressure on them to have to keep up with us,” said Meier.