Hard to believe we are a week away from Thanksgiving. Utah’s high school football season is winding down and basketball is just a bounce away. The Dixie Flyers will play the Spanish Fork Dons for the 3A championship tomorrow at Rice Eccles Stadium. Kick-off is at 11 a.m.
I’m sure everyone joins me in congratulating Stansbury, Tooele and Grantsville high schools for a fine football season and representing Tooele County in such a positive way. We are thankful for teachers and coaches being good mentors and role models for our children. We are also appreciative of the students, cheerleaders, drill teams and bands, and how they conducted themselves this fall as true ambassadors of Tooele County.
College football is winding down as well. The BYU Cougars will be playing in the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 20 in San Diego against a MWC team. Some are saying San Diego State, which would be a renewal of an old rivalry.
BYU had its moments offensively this year but the defense is probably the best I’ve seen on a Cougar squad. BYU is 6-4 and will close out its season at San Jose State this Saturday and then New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M., next Saturday. With any kind of offensive showing, BYU could’ve added three games to its win column. However, if wishes and buts were sugar and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas! We’ll take the Poinsettia Bowl and count our blessings.
Utah State is boasting an 8-2 record and will be playing No. 19 Louisiana Tech this Saturday or the WAC championship and an invitation to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Bulldogs are 9-1 and will be a good test for the much improved Aggies who hope to throttle back the high-powered Tech offense, which has scored 50 or more points in eight of their last 10 games. It’s going to be a barn burner!
Utah is 4-6 and will be hosting Arizona this Saturday at Rice Eccles Stadium. The Utes are still adjusting to the PAC-12 and have their backs against the wall, needing two big wins to become bowl eligible. The Wildcats have the nation’s second-leading rusher in Ka’Deem Carey and their quarterback Matt Scott is no slouch either ranking third in total offense. No, it really boils down to Utah getting their freshman quarterback, Travis Wilson, in his comfort zone and their defense aligning correctly and adjusting to the one-two punch of the formative Wildcat attack. Utah just needs to stay focused and take it one game at a time to salvage the season.
Speaking of Wildcats, Weber State wraps up one of the strangest seasons ever, traveling to Idaho State on Saturday. The Wildcats are 1-9 with their only win coming in an upset over Southern Utah. When Coach Mac (Ron McBride) retired last November, Weber State named John L. Smith as their new head coach. In April 2012, Smith traded the Wildcats for the Arkansas Razorbacks, and Jody Sears was named interim head coach. Needless to say, when you have three head coaches in five months, players can get a bit rattled. All the changes in direction undermined the confidence of a very talented Weber State team that has struggled all season. Let’s hope they close out the season with a win over the Bengals and send their seniors off on a good note.
No one is singing in Cedar City as senior quarterback Brad Sorensen is finished, and so is Southern Utah, as they have a bye this week. The Thunderbirds closed out the season last Saturday with a big win in triple overtime, beating 11th-ranked Northern Arizona 35-29. It was a thriller to watch as another SUU senior, defensive lineman Cody Larsen, sacked the NAU quarterback, Cary Grossart on a fourth-and-three from the SUU five-yard line to seal the victory. SUU also beat the No. 1 team in the country, Eastern Washington, earlier this season 30-27. Like BYU, SUU is wondering “what if” as four of their six losses were games the T-Birds should have won, losing by a combined total of just 18 points. A Big Sky Championship and shot at the playoffs will have to wait for another year, but before leaving SUU, Sorensen rewrote the record book in almost every category for a career and single season and will be playing in the NFL somewhere next fall.
So, ready or not, the holiday season is upon us, but don’t panic, there is plenty of football, basketball and other sports to add to your Yule Tide Traditions. I’ll see you from the sidelines.