Utah High School Football: Region 9 Preview

Utah High School Football: Region 9 Preview

by Daniel Olsen

The 2022 high school football season begins in August. In this preview series, we will break down all you need to know about high school football for the 2022 season. These previews of each region will catch you up on storylines surrounding every high school team in Utah.

Salem Hills

2021 record: 1-8

Aside from soundly defeating one of the top teams in the 3A Division, there weren’t too many cheerful results for the Salem Hills SkyHawks last season. Their only single-digit loss was to rival Maple Mountain by a final score of 10-3.

Jeff Higginson is the head coach of the Salem Hills program that opened in 2008. They have had seven winning seasons since then. They have been good when having talented players, but still need to figure out how to avoid struggling so much in down years.

Luke DeGraffenreid, starting quarterback for Salem Hills last year, has graduated. That means the starting quarterback is yet to be determined. With that being said, they need to improve significantly on offense. They scored over 30 points in their only win, but scored over 20 in just one of their losses. They won’t be competitive at that rate.

Wasatch

2021 record: 7-4

The Wasps struggled in their regular season losses, dropping all of them by double digits. They saved their best for the State Playoffs, but it wasn’t enough in a second round overtime 35-34 road loss to the eventual champion: the Lehi Pioneers.

Coach Steve Coburn has been the leader of the Wasps since 2012 after coaching North Sanpete for just one season. He also had some coaching experience at Snow College. The Wasps have had seven winning seasons since then.

Quezon Villa split production with Adarius Edwards last year at the quarterback position. While Edwards signed to play for the University of Utah, Villa will likely be the main starter in his junior year. If he can become comfortable in every game, he should be able to take the leap. This means keeping his interceptions to a minimum with a larger sample size of throws. He threw ten picks last year and that was after sharing reps. Time will tell if he can keep that number in single digits this year.

Maple Mountain

2021 record: 3-8

After starting off with a great 55-22 win over cross-valley foe Mountain View, it was all downhill from there for the Golden Eagles. They dropped five straight to effectively eliminate any hope for a playoff run. In the first round of the State Playoffs, they were matched against Wasatch, who beat them by over 30 points for the second time of the season.

Coach Brad Burtenshaw is looking to improve his team. The Golden Eagles have had just five winning seasons since starting in 2009. There were two winless seasons in their history and they are in danger of letting that happen again with a tougher schedule this year.

Brogan Miles should be back to maintain his place as the starting quarterback. He completed 52 percent of his passes for 923 yards last season. It will be nice to see his progress this year, especially if he can eclipse that 1,000 yard mark with games to spare.

Provo

2021 record: 7-3

The Bulldogs had a successful season after winning their first five games. That was in part due to a weak strength of schedule, though. Once they played the tougher teams in their region, they faltered. They also lost to a talented Orem team at Bulldog Stadium in the first round of the State Playoffs. However, it’s hard to totally fault them as Orem has dominated 4A the last few years.

Coach Kirk Chambers has had college and NFL experience as an offensive tackle and has now been coaching the Bulldogs since 2015. His team should be feeling good, but not complacent, after increasing their win total by three games last season from the 2020 season.

After the graduation of last year’s quarterback Jace Welsch, it is unclear who the starting quarterback will be for the Bulldogs. Kyson Condie has had limited snaps in his career, but will be relied upon as a senior this year.

Spanish Fork

2021 record: 7-3

The defending Region 9 champions had a surprising early exit in the first round of the 5A State Playoffs last year. While they did falter to East High, the Dons are still the team to beat in Utah County. Their only region loss last year was to the Dons.

It is year three for Coach Dustin Smith and he has compiled an 11-11 record so far. He is hoping that the 2021 season will be more of the norm than the rough COVID season was in 2020.

With the graduation of Austin Stevenson, it is unknown who will be the starter for the Dons. Everyone on last year’s depth chart is graduated, so this is a mystery heading into the season.

Springville

2021 record: 11-2

The runner-up in 5A should be pleased with their performance. Their only region loss last year was an eight-point home setback to the Dons. They recovered to win seven straight and earn a spot in the championship. While that 35-6 loss to Lehi was disappointing, it doesn’t take away from the great season they had.

Coach Dave Valeti was the new leader for the Red Devils last year. He worked to help them exceed expectations in a short time. He is a graduate of Springville High and has plenty of youth football coaching experience as he was previously the defensive coordinator for the Red Devils starting in 2014.

Ryder Burton enters his senior season after amassing 2300 yards in his junior campaign. If Springville can continue to perform at a high level defensively, then they could find themselves playing at Rice Eccles Stadium again, provided Burton stays healthy.

Featured image courtesy Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald

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