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.
2021 record: 2-8
The Reds struggled in all phases of the game last year. They had zero wins at home last year, but did have an exciting overtime win at crosstown rival Canyon View. They also dominated Hurricane as well. They had a couple of close losses that really hurt their overall record. The year prior, they were a respectable 7-5 team. The question this year is whether they can get back to that level.
Cedar football coach Josh Bennett comes into this role having been involved with the program since 2015. He got a Masters degree at nearby Southern Utah University. He has the leadership pedigree to get this group back on track.
Koden Lunt will likely continue to be the starting quarterback in his junior year. While he completed over half his passes, the Reds need him to cut down on his interceptions. He had almost as many picks (10) as he did passing touchdowns (11) last year.
2021 record: 8-5
The Mustangs had a respectable season last year after dominating the 4A North Division in the first two State Playoff games before finally falling to the eventual champion Ridgeline Riverhawks in the semifinals. It was fun to see how much they improved over the season as they beat a Green Canyon team in the playoffs that they lost to in their first game of the year. Both of those games against the Wolves were on the road.
Jaron Tate is entering his fourth season coaching the Mustangs down south in as many seasons of their existence. It is ironic that they shut out the Mountain Crest Mustangs of the north side of Utah in the State Playoffs last year.
Konner Kell likely has the most returning experience at the quarterback position for Crimson Cliffs. Last year he got third string reps, but Gunner Orr and Chase Hansen graduated. This season is a critical one in his development. If he does well, the Mustangs could go into his senior year with championship expectations next year.
2021 record: 9-2
This Thursday night, the drought for regular season football in Utah will finally come to an end. That is because the Desert Hills Thunder will be visiting the Brighton Bengals nearly a year after a special regular season. While the Thunder only lost one regular season game last year, they were defeated by a perennial playoff team in Pine View in the first round of the State Playoffs.
Coach Rick Berry, former defensive coordinator at Dixie High, enters his second season at the helm at Desert Hills. He will be looking to help the team get the sour taste of last postseason out of their mouths and try to prepare them for success.
Noah Fuailetolo enters his senior season at the quarterback position after completing 2206 passing yards last year. If he has a similar production this year and the defense holds their own, it could be a special season for the Thunder.
2021 record: 9-4
Last season was a solid one for the Flyers as they finished as the runner-up in the State Championship. Ridgeline defeated them 45-20, but that still doesn’t take away from the miraculous year they had. They are a historically great team and will be back at Rice Eccles stadium again at some point in the future.
Coach Andy Stokes took the position of the Dixie High football team since 2013. During that span, the Flyers have won a state title (2014) and finished as runner-up on three other occasions.
Bronson Barben, the starting quarterback for the Flyers last year, is now signed to play with Utah Tech. As of now, it’s unclear who will start at quarterback. Jaxon Barben, a junior this year, had some snaps as a backup quarterback among others. The Flyers host the Springville Red Devils this Friday evening at 7 p.m. MT.
2021 record: 2-9
The Tigers had a rough season last year. After squeaking by Richfield and creaming American Leadership Academy, they struggled against competition at their own level.
Last year, offensive coordinator Cory Ashby was promoted to the head coach position. He will be motivated this year to improve, which shouldn’t be too hard considering they can’t get much worse than a two-win season.
The Hurricane Tigers will host the Mountain Crest Mustangs this Friday at 7 p.m. MT. Carter Ashby should be the starting quarterback again for his senior year. He completed 48.9 percent of his passes last season, so it is imperative than he completes more throws than he misses this time around.
2021 record: 7-5
The Panthers had an average regular season coming off a championship appearance the year before. However, they did once again turn it on in the playoffs. They got all the way to the semifinals before losing soundly to Dixie by a final score of 42-20.
Raymond Hosner has been the coach of the Panthers for over two decades. Since then, the Panthers have gone 0-6 in championship situations. They are 0-7 all time.
The quarterback battle will be between Tyler Brown and Sawyer Woods, two players who split time at the position last year. While Brown had a better completion percentage, Woods threw for nearly 600 more passing yards.
2021 record: 5-5
The Snow Canyon Warriors had some fight in them, but last season’s results didn’t show it. It was an up and down season with some close losses. A week after beating Pine View by a point on Senior Night, the Warriors lost to the Panthers.
Coach Mike Esplin has been the head coach of the Warriors since 2016 and has had three winning seasons since then. While they would like to have more, they are still a very talented team with a rich history.
Hunter Johnson will enter his senior season at the quarterback position. He carried the team to a .500 record last year as he completed over 60 percent of his passes, threw for 2000 passing yards, and converted 24 touchdowns, while giving up just six interceptions.
Featured image via Cedar City News