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Sky View’s recent Region 11 dominance could get tested by Green Canyon and Ridgeline this season

Sky View is 15-0 in region play the past three years, but Green Canyon and Ridgeline are loaded with returning offensive starters to push the Bobcats

Sky View plays Park City in the 4A championship football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Sky View’s dominance of Region 11 over the past three years’ realignment of all the Cache Valley schools in the same region has been pretty impressive. It owns an eye-popping 15-0 in region play during that stretch, with just three games decided by single digits.

Last year Sky View backed up that region success with a dominant run to the 4A state championship, the first in school history.

Sky View is well positioned to make it 20 straight region wins with a loaded defense that returns starters, and then all-state quarterback Kason Carlsen and a big offensive line.

Sky View’s defense ranked first in 4A last season only allowing 10.8 ppg and recorded six shutouts — including Park City in the championship game.

The offense ranked third in 4A averaging 38.9 ppg, and there’s plenty of weapons to be just as productive.

“One of our huge keys is we have a ton of weapons, and I think the ability to spread the ball around and share the ball will be really important for us cause if we do that I think we’re going to be really hard to defend,” said Chris Howell.

As good as Sky View has been and as good as it is on paper, the 2020 season in Region 11 should be the most competitive it has been over the past three years. In fact, Sky View didn’t even receive all the first place votes in the Deseret News preseason region coaches rankings.

Green Canyon and Ridgeline both received a first-place vote as they head into the season with very high expectations.

For Green Canyon, it’s the only region team that’s played Sky View close the past two years and with eight starters back on offense, expectations are very high.

“There’s a lot of excitement and the kids have high goals. You don’t have to try and convince them of it, they know what’s been happening, and what we’ve been trying to do here over the years, we can see the fruits of our labors a little bit,” said Green Canyon coach Craig Anhder.

There are questions at defense through. A year ago Green Canyon ranked third in 4A allowing only 17.6 ppg, but with only three starters duplicating last year’s success won’t be easy.

Ridgeline is in a similar position as Green Canyon, stacked with returning offensive starters but thin with experience defensively.

Ridgeline, however, has a new coach as Travis Cox is taking over a program that went winless in region last year. He’s no stranger to the program having served as an assistant two years ago, in addition to being the dad of returning starting QB Kaden Cox.

With three offensive lineman starters returning and nearly all of its skill positions players, the RiverHawks should be able to improve on last year’s 14th-ranked scoring defense.

“We have to run the ball for sure, and we’ve got to be able to spread the defense out and find the guy we like the most with the mismatches we can create. It starts with being able to run the ball,” said Travis Cox.

Mountain Crest finished second in Region 11 last year, but is only projected to finish fourth this year with other teams bringing back many more key contributors.

A year ago Mountain Crest ranked fourth in scoring defense in 4A, but only 16th in offense. Coach Jason Lee said a big reason why was his team moved the ball between the 20s, but struggled in the red zone.

“Being able to consistently get the ball punched in when we get it down there is key,” said Lee.

Bear River has the potential to be the surprise team in Region 11 based in large part on potential at quarterback and standout Kace Jones at running back, one of eight returning starters.

“Kace Jones has had injuries every high school season and it’s because I believe he goes so hard,” said Bear River coach Chris Wise. “He only has one speed. He needs to stay healthy, and if he doesn’t that’s going to impact our offense and defense. And the next key is how well Josh Payne, our quarterback, leads. He needs to get a little more comfortable being in charge, but I think he’ll get there.”

Logan is pegged to finish last in region with only a handful of starters on each side of the ball, but second-year coach Bart Bowen has been impressed with the improvements of his players and internally the expectations are high.

“All things considered it’s been a great summer for us. The kids were super excited to get back at it, energy levels were really high. Second year in the offensive system so we were able to do a lot of things in camp that we weren’t able to do last year,” said Bowen.

Deseret News projections for Region 11 football teams in 2020

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

  1. SKY VIEW: Last year’s top defense in 4A has seven starters back, and they’re spread all over the field. Evan Hall and Bracken Schumann will anchor the line. Hunter Lewis and Walter Collins are standout linebackers and Titan Saxton, Sam Thatcher and Peija Prom feature in the secondary. QB Kason Carlsen returns after being named first team all-state last year, and running back Walter Collins should take on a must larger role in the offense this season. 2019 RECORD: 13-1. PLAYOFFS: Beat Park City in 4A championship.
  2. GREEN CANYON: Has the potential to be one of the best offenses in 4A with eight returning starters, led by QB Jake Lundin. He should get great protection with O-line returning starters, Bryce Radford, Caleb Balls, Thomas Corcoran, Garrett Herzog and Jaxon Curtis. At running back, Landon Peterson and McKade Hellstern will combine to take over those duties. The only returning starters on defense are Hellstern (LB), Jacob Regen (DE) and Carter Compton (S). 2019 RECORD: 8-4. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Pine View in 4A quarterfinals.
  3. RIDGELINE: Is on its third head coach in three years, but nine returning starters will help with the transitions. Kaden Cox returns at QB along with O-line starters Charlie Nielsen, Nate Nixon and Daimien Boehme. Jovesa Damuni was the team’s top yards from scrimmage producer last year and he’s poised for a breakout year. Defensively only three starters are back, Dillon May (DB), Miles Eck (DB) and Bridger Hammond (DL). 2019 RECORD: 4-8. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Dixie in 4A second round.
  4. MOUNTAIN CREST: The strength for Mountain Crest’s offense is up front as Brock Alder, Kalvin Kunzler and Parker Parish all return with starting experience. Emilio Veater is projected to have a big year at tailback, while Zeb Bensen and Preston Lofthouse are battling it out for the starting QB position this summer. Defensively, Mountain Crest ranked fourth in 4A a year ago, and Elijah Jackson, Veater and Kolmyn Foulger are back to anchor that linebacker group. 2019 RECORD: 5-7. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Stansbury in 4A second round.
  5. BEAR RIVER: Three starters are back on the O-line, Braden Munns, Hunter Pugsley and Trevin Toone, with a variety of ball carriers hoping to benefit from that experience, Corbin Kierstead, Chance Udy and Kace Jones. Defensively, Jones will anchor the team at safety, along with three other returning starters in the secondary, Darien Johnson, Josh Payne and Garrison Marble. Bear River needs big production from returning D-line starters, Braxton Christensen and Justice Dworshak. 2019 RECORD: 5-7. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Pine View in 4A second round.
  6. LOGAN: Defensively, the lone starters returning are in the secondary, Jaelin Hoth and Jaylen Sargent. Manase Tupou could emerge as a star on the defensive line after only playing in two games last season. Dallas Esplin and Tilose Tupou will also be key on the line. Offensively, Brandon Willie and Dallas Esplin are returning starters on the line, while Alex Trujillo will be key at fullback. 2019 RECORD: 3-8. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Park City in 4A second round.