Last season, the Viewmont boys soccer team fell short of the Region 2 title, but the Vikings earned a much bigger prize.
Viewmont went 6-3-3 in region play, four points shy of region champion Davis, which went 9-2-1. But the Vikings caught fire in the state tournament, reeling off four wins, capped off by a 4-2 victory over Fremont. It was the Vikings’ first state title in 11 years.
Though the team took home the 5A trophy a year ago, head coach Spencer Keddington is keeping a simple and humble approach this year.
“Our expectations are to get better every day and to compete and work hard in everything that we do,” he said. “We need to just focus on improving every day. We know that we are going to have to work harder than last year and play better than last year if we want to make a run like last year. This season will be successful if we are always working hard, playing for each other and pushing ourselves.”
Repeating a championship run is never easy, but when you return one of the state’s most prolific goal scorers, your chances increase.
Senior forward Drake Cook racked up 22 goals last season, ranking him sixth in the state in scoring. Every defense Cook encounters this season will try its best to put the clamps on the talented scorer, but he’ll have some help from a nice mix of experienced returners and talented newcomers. Senior midfielder Marshall Johnson and senior center defender Brayden Jewett will supplement Cook’s offensive prowess.
“[Cook] is a very good finisher and capable of creating chances for others,” Keddington said. “[Johnson] is the leader of the midfield and is very capable of controlling it. [Jewett] anchors the back. He is calm and experienced.”
Viewmont plays three non-league games this season, followed by the region opener March 16 at home against Layton.
The Wildcats haven’t been to the postseason since 2012, and head coach David Newman is intent on helping the squad reach that milestone.
Woods Cross was 4-8 in Region 5 last season, finishing in fifth place. To climb up to the fourth spot or above—where the team would need to get to qualify for the state tournament—Newman believes the team needs to cut down on errors.
“We need to take more of the opportunities to score that we make than we did last year and eliminate the stupid mistakes that cost us goals at crucial times,” he said. “This season will be a success if we stay calm at the crucial moments at both ends of the field.”
Newman is counting on forward Josh Beard, defenders Luke Madsen and Jackson Ensign, and central midfielder Junior Ortiz to help achieve postseason success. Beard had a pair of goals last season, and Madsen and Ortiz each chipped in one.
“[Beard] is a very tough player, very fit and a good leader,” Newman said. “[Madsen] has terrific pace and is a great dribbler. [Ortiz] never gives up; he’s the ultimate competitor. [Ensign] is a good organizer and has terrific ball control.”
Aside from returning talent and solid team leadership, Newman said the players have a positive outlook at the season’s possibilities.
“They have a real desire to make the playoffs,” he said. “They are kind of hopeful, not over confident but just full of desire to give their all to make playoffs. They have quickly bought into the system and have worked hard to follow the game plan.”
The Wildcats face Bonneville March 17 in their Region 5 opener. The team will face each league foe twice, culminating in a May 12 game at rival Bountiful. If the Wildcats finish in fourth place or above, they will clinch a coveted berth in the 4A state tournament and achieve the goals Newman and his players have set for the 2017 season.
Davis High, Bountiful soccer teams both start 1-1
Davis began the year with a 4-2 loss to Juan Diego March 6.
The Darts found themselves down 2-0 at halftime, but couldn’t quite come back. Colton Harrison scored both goals for the Darts.
In a double overtime thriller against Bountiful March 9, Davis prevailed with a goal by Jeremy Sommer to win 3-2. Harrison scored two more goals to remain the team’s leading scorer in the young season.
Bountiful defeated fourth-ranked Wasatch 4-3, a “very good team,” according to head coach Lou Plank.
The Braves were down 2-1 at halftime before tying the game early in the second half. Four goals were scored by both teams in a five-minute span with Micah Maynard hitting the eventual game-winner at the 63-minute mark.
“The boys played well in spite of the fact that we’re missing four key players due to injury,” Plank said. “We need to work on defending centrally and possessing the ball in order to create more scoring opportunities.”
Bountiful lost 3-2 in double overtime to Davis March 9 to bring its season record to 1-1.