It had been two straight seasons of Washington County VS Cache Valley, with Cedar and Bear River in the mix when it came to the football postseason.

It had been two years of only 13 teams competing for a state championship. Sure, those numbers increased the odds of a Southern Utah school walking away with a title, but even fans down here would tell you a little variety was needed. Playing the same opponents, you had played throughout the regular season was tedious, dull and predictable more often than not.

When 4A was set to add Region 8 (Provo, Timpanogos, Salem Hills, Payson, Spanish Fork, Mountain View, Uintah) and Region 10 (Park City, Stansbury, Tooele, Jordan, Cottonwood, Murray, Hillcrest) this offseason you could feel the excitement. You would still have your good team vs bad team in the first round of the playoffs, but at least there was a high chance it was someone you hadn’t seen before that season, making it worth tuning into. Thus, there was a lot of hype and joy that came with the 4A classification expanding prior to this season and rightfully so.

So, imagine the shock and surprise when the highly anticipated Rating Percentage Index dropped this Saturday morning looking awfully familiar. The 4A classification may have expanded to 27 teams but that didn’t stop them from making sure each region was grouped together for the first round of the playoffs. If you were expecting unique matchups to kick off the playoffs, you likely felt like a kid expecting a bike and opening a package of socks on Christmas morning. 5 of the 8 first round games are in region rematches:

# 9 Salem Hills VS #24 Uintah (Region 8)

#11 Stansbury VS #22 Jordan (Region 10)

#14 Payson VS #19 Mountain View (Region 8)

#10 Desert Hills VS #23 Hurricane (Region 9)

#15 Cedar VS #18 Pine View (Region 9)

You could chalk it up as region matchups reborn with postseason intensity, but honestly none of these games were good in the regular season, leaving little hope for the playoff pairings. The Higher seeded teams outscored the lower seeded teams in these matchups, 178-61. Only one game was within 10 points that being Salem Hills over Uintah, 27-20. Now I have hope that the Cedar and Pine View rematch of the 28-15 Reds victory could be a top game of the first round, but the stats leave little to be desired for those looking for intensity in other matchups.

The three unique matchups are as follows:

#16 Spanish Fork VS #17 Bear River

#12 Mountain Crest VS #21 Tooele

#13 Dixie VS #20 Logan

Region 11, which consists of your Cache Valley schools, was the only region lucky enough to avoid each other in the first round. The only potential Region 11 game won’t take place until the second round and will only happen if Bear River gets the road win over Spanish Fork and advances to play #1 Sky View. Outside of Sky View and Bear River, Region 11 won’t have to worry much about seeing a familiar face until the quarterfinals, which I know is a luxury other regions were wishing they had.

Region 9, which has two in region matchups in round one, is guaranteed to experience another two region matchups in week two. The Winners of Cedar and Pine View gets the experience of playing #2 Crimson Cliffs one more time, whereas the Desert Hills, Hurricane victor squares up with #7 Snow Canyon once more.

Six of Region 9’s 7 schools are pressed into one bracket and will guarantee no ore than two schools from region 9 are still standing by the semifinals. Dixie was the one school who avoided the Region 9 logjam and will play #4 Park City if they take care of business against Logan. Dixie’s potential future opponent from that point could be Timpanogos, Mountain Crest, or Tooele making it the most diverse side of the bracket by far.

The 8 teams rewarded a bye week to start off are:

#1 Sky View

#2 Crimson Cliffs

#3 Provo

#4 Park City

#5 Timpanogos

#6 Ridgeline

#7 Snow Canyon

#8 Green Canyon

The first round begins this Friday, the 20th, at the higher seeds home sites. Kickoff times will vary. Check the link below for the full Utah 4A football playoffs bracket.

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