by Daniel Olsen | From top to bottom, we are down to two teams from the north and two teams from the south to decide who will play in the state championships at Dixie State University next weekend. 4A is a lovable division as it is neither too big nor too small. It’s just right! It will be quite the Friday afternoon so let’s take a closer look to determine who we think will be advancing to the championship.
1 Sky View:
Who they are – The Sky View Bobcats have emerged as one of the most dominant teams in 4A. As the defending state champions, they have won their last 23 games with no losses in between. They are nearing uncharted territory. They shut out Park City last year in the state championship. They have traditionally been more of a basketball school but it looks like football is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
How they got here – Sky View earned this position by taking care of the teams in front of them. Whether it was shutting out Mountain Creat 29-0 (their rival from the south side of Cache Valley) or beating Cedar City 35-7 in the quarterfinals, the Bobcats have deserved every bit of praise that has been flung their way.
Why they will win – The Bobcats will win because that is what they do. It won’t be easy as it wasn’t earlier in the year vs their Region 11 rival. This will be on their home turf though, and they are ready to take the team from Smithfield, Utah back to the championship.
Why they will lose – They almost lost before against the Riverhawks and had to rely on a game winning field goal to keep their winning streak alive. If the game is close for much of the way, the Sky View Bobcats could be on upset alert and will have to find a way to escape again. They will lose if they don’t make the necessary plays to win.
Who they are –
The Rivercats were established as a school in Millville in 2016. They have a state title in basketball but have yet to win one in football. They have won a couple playoffs in their short history but this has been their best season to date.
How they got here – Ridgeline got here by being nearly impeccable. They beat everyone not named Sky View. They are criminally underrated as a four seed. They did beat the #2 RPI team in Pine Ciew to start the year off but do otherwise have few other quality wins. They laid it on in their first playoff game with a 64-13 win over Cedar Valley and followed that with a close 42-35 win over Park City.
Why they will win – They can score when they need to and play defense when they need to. They have few flaws across the board. They are a well coached football team with respectable talent to boot. They aren’t here to just participate. They’d love to add a football state title to their new trophy case.
Why they will lose – Sky View has been a dominant team and until that train slows down it will not be denied. Ridgeline was so close to upsetting them in the regular season but we aren’t playing horseshoes now are we? In that game they played near perfect defense but couldn’t really score the football. Ugly games like these sometimes happen in rivalries so the Rivercats need to keep their emotions in check or they could reach a boiling point and flame themselves out of the game.
Sky View will win this game and it will once again be a close one. Ridgeline’s time is next year but I will be sure to eat crow if I’m wrong
Final Score Prediction: Sky View 21 Ridgeline 17
2 Pine View:
Who they are – The Panthers have been a mainstay program at the south end of the Utah border for quite some time. We had a chance to cover their game last week and they had several Dixie State scouts at their game. While they have several championship appearances, it has been tough to get the monkey off their back and win one. They have been the runner-up six times. This is approaching Buffalo Bills territory here. One notable championship was in 2005 when two future college quarterbacks in Riley Nelson and James Lark. Nelson led his Logan Grizzlies to a state title and. The two ended up playing for BYU where Nelson again got the upper hand and won the starting job.
How they got here – Pine View got to this spot by beating the teams in front of them and doing it handily. Since their setback in the season opener against Ridgeline, which was strangely played at Westlake High to limit travel, they haven’t looked back. They have won 11 straight games to advance to the semifinals. They are on the cusp of yet another state championship appearance.
Why they will win – They want the smoke. This team can score the football and absolutely punish their opponents. They know they have unfinished business when it comes to state title games so they would love nothing more than to earn another shot at a trophy. They already defeated this Region 9 opponent earlier in the year although it was by just a point.
Why they will lose – When a team loses to their rival, they will salivate at another chance for revenge in the same year. This is when it counts in the playoffs. If Pine View gets caught napping they will lose this game.
3 Snow Canyon:
Who they are – In 1999, Snow Canyon won a state title in football. They haven’t won a title since then. They last appeared in the 2006 state title game where they lost to Bear River. They had a record-setting running back in Adam Timo who bulldozed through the state playoffs until they ran into the Bears. Timo was an extremely athletic player who eclipsed seven feet in the high jump in track and field.
How they got here – Survive and advance. That’s what these Warriors have had to do both in the regular season and the state playoffs. They barely beat Stansbury last week in a 20-19 game. They have gone 3-1 in games that were decided by one possession or less.
Why they will win – The Warriors are a clutch team and they know they are good enough to hang with Pine View. After that, the question remains whether they can make enough plays to win down the stretch.
Why they will lose – Pine View isn’t going to overlook this game. They have unfinished business and know that Snow Canyon has something they don’t: a championship. The Panthers will be on the prowl in this game.
I like the Panthers to advance to their seventh state title game in team history. That’s a lucky number so maybe that will be the charm. First, Pine View must take care of business in the semifinals and I think they do it in another close one to mirror their regular season matchup with the Warriors.
Final Score Prediction:
Pine View 36 Snow Canyon 35