Region 5 has the distinction of being the only region in the state in 2018 to have something new.
Farmington High is opening this fall and the Phoenix was placed into Region 5 with Roy, Box Elder, Bountiful, Woods Cross and Viewmont.
So what should we expect from Region 5 football this year? Here’s a quick lowdown as the prep football season approaches.
Roy, Woods Cross and Viewmont—not in that order necessarily—figure to be the three teams most likely to contend for the region title.
The Royals have a bunch of returning starters back this year and an offense that’s both balanced and loaded. A year of experience under quarterback Jaxson Dart’s belt should help, especially when he has Kyrese Rowan and Dionte Davis to throw to.
Woods Cross returns most of a very good offense from last year—including quarterback Carston Neagle—and Viewmont has a lot of talent in key spots, plus the Vikings won it last year, so you have to defer to them as any type of “favorites.”
Viewmont’s defense is also experienced and though the Vikings lost a little bit of depth thanks to Farmington’s opening, they should be right at the top.
But this year, Box Elder coach Robbie Gunter says the region is pretty wide open, and that favorites might not be limited to just three teams.
“Oh man, I think it’s a thin line between the top and the bottom. I really think that the teams that can win their home games and get one on the road, that’s gonna give you a chance to be the region champion. You gotta take care of the ones at home and then you have to stay healthy. The team that stays healthy has the best chance at winning,” Gunter said.
The dark horse and the unknowns
Nobody knows a whole lot about Bountiful. The mystery has also been accompanied by some comments in and around high school football circles that the Braves might be pretty good this year.
Their new coach is Tyler Hughes, a former head coach at Snow College and at the NCAA Division II level, so they should be very prepared each game and well-coached.
Bountiful is a good candidate for a dark horse in the region, while Farmington and Box Elder are more of the unknowns.
The Phoenix don’t have a team with a lot of varsity experience, save for junior running back and linebacker Hayden Toone, but head coach Daniel Coats says the team has a lot of talent.
Farmington might be a playoff contender, but the odds are slim. By virtue of its young roster makeup (mostly sophomores and juniors with only a handful of seniors), they’ll get outsized by most teams.
“I think they’re going to be ok, they just got a lot of things going against them right now,” Roy head coach Fred Fernandes said.
Farmington’s players only got access to their weight room and field in mid-July and started properly training months after other teams did.
Box Elder is going to have a good offensive line, but the Bees are starting a sophomore quarterback Garrett Buchanan and are going to have to lean on their defense in the early part of the season until the offense starts functioning at a high level.
They didn’t run the ball a whole lot last year, but Gunter wants to ground and pound more this year, especially to get Buchanan comfortable.
But BEHS has its leading returning receiver, Connor Stevenson, who should be able to provide a go-to target for Buchanan.
Below are some key games to watch for each week:
Roy at Syracuse: Is Week 1 too early for a litmus test? Maybe, but we’ll find out a lot about these two region title contenders from this game.
Northridge at Farmington: This is the first chance to see Farmington when it hosts Northridge in the home opener.
Bear River at Box Elder: Rivalry games are always a good time.
Skyridge at Roy: If Week 1 is too early for a litmus test, then consider a loaded Skyridge team coming off a 5A state title game appearance as a proper assessment of Roy.
Viewmont at Skyridge: The same thing applies for Viewmont as it gets a proper litmus test against Skyridge before the region slate starts.
Syracuse at Bountiful: So does Bountiful. The Braves will get to see where they truly stand against Syracuse.
Farmington at Viewmont: What better way to ring in the region season than to have Farmington, a majority of which’s students came from Viewmont boundaries, visit those same Vikings. There will be some high emotion here.
Roy at Woods Cross: The winner gets a leg up in the region title race if it ends up like projected.
Viewmont at Box Elder: If you’re Box Elder and you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.
Woods Cross at Bountiful: Remember last year’s overtime thriller that Bountiful won? Woods Cross is going to try and not let that happen again. Meanwhile, Bountiful will try to improve its 30-10 all-time record against the Wildcats.
Viewmont at Woods Cross: There’s a big chance that the region title hinges on this game.
Roy at Farmington: Coach, meet mentor. FHS head coach Daniel Coats played for Roy head coach Fred Fernandes when Fernandes was at Northridge.
Around the 5A classification
Skyridge and Corner Canyon are your two best bets for state championship favorites.
Both squads were good last year and return a lot of starters on both sides of the ball, so it seems natural they should be able to take a step up.
Dark horses and a few other contenders include Roy, Woods Cross, Viewmont, Springville and Alta.