SMITHFIELD – The Sky View High football team had no sooner finished a 44-10 route against Fremont last week when attention turned to rival Mountain Crest, who had just posted its own 35-0 victory over Clearfield. The wins left both teams undefeated with just one game left to play before playoffs, and it’s against each other.
“It’s set up perfect,” head coach Craig Anhder said, just minutes after the final whistle blew.
It is hard to imagine a better scenario. Both schools, in their first year at the state’s highest level of competition, undefeated and playing for a Region 1 championship. Even more important for some are the Cache Valley bragging rights that come with it.
“I’m so excited, I’ve been waiting three years for this,” Sky View senior wide receiver Alex McRae said. “I wouldn’t want to be playing anybody else. Mountain Crest on our home field, bring it on.”
It will be a game where fans from both ends of the valley will meet in one place – some in orange and some in baby blue – and cheer the seniors one last time in a regular season game.
“All year long you coach your kids not to look ahead, but it’s the last game to look ahead to other than the playoffs,” Mountain Crest head coach Mark Wootton said. “It’s a game the kids can put a lot of fun into and won’t have to worry about looking ahead.”
So far this season, Sky View has dominated its competition. During the 9-0 run the Bobcats have averaged nearly 40 points a game while only giving up an average of 13. Brighton came closest to matching Sky View, but lost 34-24. Mountain Crest has had much closer contests – including a 37-34 overtime victory at Fremont – but has still managed to remain unbeaten.
On Friday night, something has to give. Wootton said he sees his team as the underdogs, but is looking forward to the challenge of going up against the Bobcat defensive front and one of the state’s best quarterbacks in Garrison Beach.
“I’m not surprised Sky View is undefeated,” Wootton said. “I said at the first of the year that I didn’t know who was going to beat them. They’re that good. I’d be willing to bet there’s not many people that would’ve said we would be undefeated at the end of the year.”
Anhder understands what is on the line this week, but said his team won’t do anything different to prepare.
“We’re going to watch film,” he said. “We’re going to try and find some tendencies but we’re not a big team that goes out and tries to guess what they are going to do. We get a general idea then we focus on getting ourselves prepared to play our very best game, and when we do that we feel like we do better than when we worry about what another team is doing.”
Wooton said the game feels “really big now,” but knows it’s not the end for either team, win or lose.
“Both schools I can tell you right now want to win this game bad,” he said. “But both schools are looking to win the state championship as well.”
The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. Friday. After 48 minutes of football, Region 1 will have its undefeated champion.