High school football: From top to bottom, Region 3 teams striving for better 2018

Realistic expectations for Region 3 teams heading into the 2018 season are about as wide-ranging as any region in the state.

At the top is East, with its annual state championship-or-bust mentality. Herriman is a notch below, but there’s always enough talent and depth within the program to think a title run is possible like in 2015.

Expectations for West Jordan are always bigger internally than externally, and the Jags need a statement win over a major program to change that reality.

Taylorsville missed the playoffs last year, but with Dane Leituala returning for his fourth year as starting QB the program is poised to earn more respect as well.

Riverton has a new coach who is simply trying to bring stability back to the program that won 10 games in 2014.

Copper Hills, meanwhile, has been one of the doormats of the state’s largest classification for a couple decades now and second-year coach Corey Dodds is working his players hard to change that culture of losing.

East is the clear front-runner in Region 3, and it’s as hungry as ever. Despite dominating region foes last year it came short of its ultimate goal by falling to Bingham 27-13 in the championship game in its first year playing up a classification.

East’s offense and defense took a big hit because of graduation, with 13 players moving on to play college football on some sort of scholarship. Even though coach Brandon Matich acknowledges his team has big holes to fill, he’s confident the personnel is there to get the job done.

This year’s team might even surprise some people with explosiveness.

“People know that we’re physical. They know we’ll always be good in the trenches. We’ll build from the ground up with the line and work our way back. This year is going to be the same, but this is the most skill we’ve ever had. I’ve never had this much speed in our program — perimeter speed, skill speed, receivers, DBs,” said Matich.

That speed should help East be a bit more diverse offensively when it needs it in big games.

One of those games should be against Herriman.

A year ago Herriman got off to a rough start because of its tough schedule, opening the season with a 1-4 record. In Week 6 it narrowly lost to East 14-10, and that game turned the season around. The Mustangs won five straight games to advance to the semifinals where it eventually lost to Bingham.

Coach Dustin Pearce believes a similar run is possible, he just hopes it doesn’t take half the season to figure it out.

“I believe that the expectations and athletic abilities are there,” said Pearce. “It’s just a matter of putting things together and making sure we can get this thing right.”

A year ago West Jordan suffered through a lot of injuries which forced younger players into early varsity action. What was a drawback last year can pay dividends this year with a lot of returning experience that extends beyond just the traditional returning starters.

“We return our starting QB who tore …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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