by AJ Conlin | Utah High School Football is just around the corner, with the first games being on Friday, August 12th. The following is an insider look at all the schools in Region 7 football.
2021 record: 6-5
Coach Weston Zabriskie was the only coach available for comment. He had a lot to say about his Cedar Valley Aviators going into this upcoming year.
“We have great team chemistry this year,” Zabriskie said. “The boys are working very hard. We have a bunch of 3-4 year starters coming back this year and a good, hard-working group of underclassmen. They are comfortable in our system and should play very well.”
Coach Zabriskie is very confident in his whole team this season, but he also highlighted a few players he believes will be big play-makers this season.
About his standout players, Zabriskie said, “We have a lot of great talent returning: Bryan Vogl, DE is a 4-year starter, Noah Burnham, Taygen Hansen, KJ Fisher are 3-year starters returning in the receiving corp… Cooper Thomson is returning at QB, he is big with a live arm. Also Deilen Westbroek at LB and Bucky Seely at S.” Zabriskie then added, “We are expecting big years from newcomers Jayden Jordan, CB, Clayson Jakins and Joe Lomu at RB, Kekai Baker and Ethan Johnson at WR, Michael Orr, Nick Tuakoi and Dalton Dunn on the OL, Devoux Tuataga at DL should all have a big impact.”
“Stansbury [Stallions] is definitely the team to beat in Region.” Coach Zabriskie stated. “They have a great program with a tradition of winning… they will present a challenge for everyone they play and will be the favorites in the region.”
After the standout season, Stansbury pulled together last season, making it to the Semi-Finals of the playoffs and taking the Region Championship, making them a target this year.
Cedar Valley football will kickoff their season on August 12th at the Copper Hills Grizzlies’ home field at 7 PM.
2021 record: 1-9
The Hillcrest Huskies’ 2021 season was embarrassing, to say the least. Their one win was against a 1-9, 2A Judge Memorial team. The rest of their games were lost by the smallest margin being 35 points against both Payson and Murray High, and the largest being 62 points vs Stansbury. Their season stats are abysmal as well, with just one defensive interception and seven offensive TDs on the season. Their starting QB, Micah Madry had a pathetic 23.2 passer rating with a 39.4% completion percentage.
Going into this season with improvement on his mind, Brock Bryant will continue leading the team through thick and thin. Hillcrest will begin their season on August 12th vs the Carbon Dinos at 7 PM.
2021 record: 1-9
The Mountain View Bruins had a season comparable to Hillcrest, with their only win being a 49-7 beating of said school. Their closest loss was by only three, and their biggest was a 68-point blowout at Orem High’s home turf. Their stats, however, were much better. Bruin QB Jackson McCarty completed more than 50% of his passes. He is the cornerstone of the offense and will be returning for his senior season.
Head Coach Abe Poduska has his work cut out for him. The Bruins will attempt to improve their record, starting on August 12th at the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles’ place at 7 PM.
2021 record: 5-6
The Payson Lions may have had a losing record last season, but they certainly weren’t a bad team. They had a tough schedule and only lost two of their games by one score. They averaged 443.8 yards per game, but couldn’t find the endzone. One possible reason could be their offensive line. They had four pancake blocks for the entire season as opposed to the national average of 43.
The Lions are looking to improve their record this year behind first-year head coach Arnold Ale. They will kick off their season on August 12th vs the North Sanpete Hawks at 7 PM.
2021 record: 10-3
The Stansbury Stallions burst into the scene out of nowhere. After just their first year in 5A, they proved they can run with the big dogs. The Stallions took the Region Championship and made a deep playoff run in what can only be described as a miracle. Stansbury will have their Swiss army knife Dylan Hamilton returning for his senior season, along with star QB Ezra Harris. BYU commit Easton Baker will be a key player on defense going into his Junior season along with Utah commit Mateaki Helu, a senior.
The Stallions, led by fourth-year Head Coach Eric Alder, will be vying for a State Championship this year. They are looking to continue their momentum coming into this season. Stansbury will begin their title defense campaign on August 12th vs the Pine View Panthers at 7 PM.
2021 record: 7-3
The Tooele Buffaloes had a great season last year. Their three losses were very close, hard-fought losses. Finishing second in the region, the Buffaloes had a great five-game start, only snapping their streak after a heartbreaking loss at Stansbury. Tooele will have a difficult time replacing the gaping hole left by the aforementioned Mateaki Helu who transferred to Stansbury. Helu led the Buffaloes with 134.6 rushing yards per game, 13 rushing touchdowns, and three forced fumbles. The Buffaloes will also have to replace standout QB, Payton Sprouse.
The Buffaloes will have some depth chart kinks to iron out before the season starts on August 12th vs the Cyprus Pirates at 7 PM.
2021 record: 9-3
The Timpanogos Timberwolves had a standout year last season, with a five-game win streak to start the season. After a disappointing one-point loss at home to Cedar Valley, they won another three, before being blown out by Stansbury at Stallion Stadium. They then made it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to State Champion Runner-up Springville High.
Timpanogos will be losing their star QB Matu Holdaway but will have Chase Riggs, the Sophomore who fought for time with the stellar Holdaway last season. Riggs and star Receiver Luke Livingston will be the heart of the Timberwolves’ offense going into their Junior season. Livingston had 132.4 yards per game and 24 total touchdowns.
Austin Heaps, the Head Coach, will be leading this team for another season. The Timberwolves are looking to dethrone Stansbury and take the Region Championship. They’ll begin their war with a battle against the Jordan Beetdiggers on August 12th at 7 PM.
2021 record: 5-6
The Uintah Utes had a rather mediocre season in 2021. The games they did win were almost all within eight points, and all their losses by nine or more points. Their star QB Josh Speirs graduated, but the up-and-coming dual threat Jace Evans will have a chance to show what he can do with their offense. Evans led the Utes in rushing yards per game with just under 60.
Behind Head Coach Justin DeCol, the Utes will be looking for a winning season. They will begin their quest on August 12th at the South Summit Wildcat’s stadium at 7 PM.
Featured image via Spenser Heaps, Deseret News