Watch for the Standard-Examiner’s special Northern Utah Prep Football Preview, publishing Sunday, Aug. 11.
Realignment has changed quite a bit in substance and semantics regarding area football regions.
Ogden and Ben Lomond move from Region 11 to Region 10, but with most of the same schools as before.
Bear River moves from Region 12 to Region 11 but with all of the same schools.
Morgan is no longer in the 3A North region, as it’s Region 13 now.
Layton Christian is no longer in 1A North as 1A football was eliminated. The Eagles are in the 2A North region.
Here’s a look at each region and how the area teams stand to fare.
Out goes Bonneville, in comes new school Cedar Valley (Eagle Mountain), Mountain View (Orem) and ... Uintah.
Mountain View is 4A for football only, as is Park City, which jumped up to 5A in other sports. Cedar Valley is a brand-new school that split off from Westlake High.
Of the three 4A regions, Region 10 for football is definitely the most hodgepodge of them all.
Ogden and Ben Lomond will see familiar foes such as Tooele, Stansbury and Park City.
Ogden lost some vital skill players, but the Tigers return running back Chase Butler. Butler totaled 1,117 yards of offense on a 12.4 yards-per-play average with 13 touchdowns.
Junior Logan Shobe is poised for a big role this year after racking up tons of tackles last season. For the second straight year, the Tigers will rely on a transfer quarterback as Jaice Holt comes over from Layton Christian.
Can Ogden improve on its 6-5 record and playoff berth last year? The Tigers have some challenges, namely depth and a new defensive coordinator to go with several new coaching faces.
Speaking of new, Ben Lomond has a new head coach, Lyndon Johnson and the Scots will be playing home games at the Spence Eccles Ogden Community Sports Complex while their brand-new gymnasium is constructed.
Johnson is bringing back the triple option offense his father Ralph ran while coach of the Scots in the 1980s.
Johnson has so far been pleased with the turnout, which is always a particularly challenging aspect at Ogden and Ben Lomond.
The Scots enter the season on a state-high 23-game losing streak. They visit Payson in the season opener, then get 3A school American Leadership at home the next week.
Where do the Tigers and Scots fit in with the rest of the region?
Park City’s expected to be the favorite since the Miners return most of a really talented team that went to the state semifinals a year ago. After that, there’s a lot of unknowns.
Tooele has a BYU commit running back named Nukuluve Helu and a new coach, Dru Jones, formerly the Layton Christian head coach.
Stansbury has had success for years running the triple option. The Stallions also have a new coach: Eric Alder, who just left Ben Lomond for the same spot at Stansbury, and who’s installing a spread offense.
Mountain View has been steadily improving the past two years in the 4A classification, so it’s odd to see the Bruins’ football team stay 4A (while all the other sports are going to 5A) when they’ve been on the rise.
Uintah didn’t win a game last year and got outscored 422-60 in its nine games. Look for the Utes to be better.
Cedar Valley is a new school and new schools are typically hit-or-miss in their first year on the field.
It’s the same schools as the previous Region 12: Bear River plus the Cache Valley 5.
The Bears missed the playoffs last year but trended up at the end of the season when it was too late.
Junior running back Chance Udy is a name to keep an eye on, as is a summer quarterback battle between Ren Fonnesbeck and Josh Payne.
The rest of the region played musical chairs with its coaches. Sky View’s coach left to go to Southern California, so Ridgeline’s coach went to Sky View.
Logan’s coach left for Ridgeline after spending just one season with the Grizzlies.
Sky View and Mountain Crest should be the teams to beat. Sky View has the best player in the region, quarterback Mason Falslev, and Mountain Crest has a big, physical team with a consistent coaching staff.
Morgan High head coach Kovi Christiansen nicknamed this region “the SEC of 3A.”
The Trojans are in it with Summit Academy (defending 3A state champion), South Summit (two-time defending 2A state champ), Juan Diego (perennial private school powerhouse), Grantsville (won eight games last year) and Judge Memorial (the Bulldogs will improve on last year’s winless mark).
Here’s what Morgan has in its favor: oodles of experience at all positions, talent at virtually every position and unrivaled depth, as far as the 3A classification goes.
Carter Thackeray returns at quarterback after throwing for 2,663 yards and 27 scores last season. Running back Porter Giles returns and so does most of the offensive line.
Jack Cameron was the team’s second-leading wideout last year with 37 catches and 561 yards. Jamesen Burraston anchors the defensive line and Morgan has 30-something strong senior class, nearly double what the Trojans have in the junior class.
Morgan also has its toughest games at home: Ogden (Aug. 23), Bear River (Sept. 6), Summit Academy (Sept. 20) and Juan Diego (Oct. 4).
Layton Christian is breaking in a new head coach, Fotu Katoa.
If the name sounds familiar, that’s because his son, Tayler Katoa, played at Layton High and will return to the USC football team after completing a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
LCA returns senior wideout Ulric Sutton (team-high 363 receiving yards) and Katoa says Colter Wheelwright will likely play quarterback.
Wheelwright had nine catches for 134 yards last season to go with a team-high 76 tackles.
LCA’s schedule has been reduced from nine to eight games following Altamont High’s decision to drop its football team. That leaves the Eagles with another open date on Sept. 13.
If they don’t add a game, then they’ll have a game Sept. 6, a bye on Sept. 13, a game Sept. 20 and another bye on Sept. 27.