Prep football preview: Pine View Panthers
EDITOR'S NOTE • This is one in a series of previews of Utah's high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.
Pine View Panthers
Pine View may be the best Utah high school football team over the past 14 years that has never won a state championship.
Veteran coach Ray Hosner always has his Panthers in contention. He has lost four times in the state championship game, including to Desert Hills last season on the final play of the game. Pine View has lost to powers such as Timpiew, Riley Nelson-led Logan, Cottonwood, Bear River and Highland while making deep runs in the state tournament.
With one of the best quarterbacks in the state in Kody Wilstead and a number of veterans returning from that runner-up team from a year ago, optimism at Pine View is high.
The 6-foot-6 Wilstead has committed to play for BYU and has been tutored by former Cougar and Pine View quarterback James Lark.
Players such as wingback Bladen Hosner, receivers Colton Miller, Gage Afatasi and Blake Ence, linemen Harrison Gobel who has an offer to play at Colorado and Raymond Fiame and defenders Dillan Robertson, Tyler Heaton, Mike Long, Drew Hansen, Brooks Barney, Pioneer Asaasa and Christian Braaten, Pine View has a veteran team that should challenge for the title.
In fact, Hosner's team looks so good that he couldn't find a third team to join Lehi and Judge in playing Pine View this preseason.
"I have to be honest," said the veteran coach, "every group of seniors is different. If these guys come together and do the things they are capable of doing, they should be fun to watch."
One of the reasons is that Pine View likes to throw the ball a lot out of a spread offense. When Wilstead gets a hot hand, the Panthers can be difficult to stop.
Pine View was one of the first Washington County schools to get artificial turf, and the original field has worn out, so the Panthers will be playing on new turf this season.
Last year • 9-3 overall (5-1 in Region 9; lost in 3AA championship game)
Key returner • Quarterback Kody Wilstead, who has committed to BYU, is one of the state's best quarterbacks.
Player to watch • In the tough Region 9, many games will be close. Veteran kicker Ethan Baer may be called upon to win a few games.
Biggest hole • Finding the mental toughness to finally win a state championship for Hosner might be the biggest obstacle this talented team has to overcome.
Need to know • Scott Anderson, Pine View's offensive coordinator, is the artistic director at nearby Tuacahn Center for the Arts, where he directed The Little Mermaid this year.