BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
SALT LAKE CITY — After taking down their cross town rival in a tough Region 6 game last Friday, the Woods Cross High School football team now heads to Highland with another goal in mind.
To stay focused for the rest of the season.
After last season’s rivalry game saw the Wildcats put an end to the long losing streak, Woods Cross lost to Olympus by a touchdown to close out the regular season.
They went on to win its first-round playoff game, but lost in the quarterfinals to eventual 4A champion Timpview.
This season, Wildcats coach Justin Spencer said the team will increase their focus and be ready to go for the Rams this Friday.
“Last year we suffered a major mental letdown after the Bountiful game,” he said. “This week’s game is a huge one for us in our push for the playoffs and beyond.”
If familiarity is something the Wildcats were looking for heading into Friday night, they’ll receive it once again in Highland’s offense.
The Rams, like East and Judge Memorial before them, use an option-based, run first attack.
Woods Cross’ defense was able to hold Judge Memorial to just 14 points; however, allowed 42 in a loss to East two weeks ago.
Getting back to the fundamentals will be key for the defense, said Spencer, if the team wants to notch another win.
“This style of offense forces you to be fundamentally sound with your preparation and assignments,” he said. “The key for us will be to limit the big plays. We didn’t do that against East; hopefully we will this week.”
Both defenses have performed well through its first six games this season as well. In five of its wins, Woods Cross hasn’t given up more than 21 points to any opponent.
For the Rams, the most points they’ve allowed in any contest is 29 in a loss to East.
Offensively, getting off to a fast start will be another key for the Wildcats.
After being held scoreless in the second half against Bountiful last week, Spencer said it will be key to have a complete game against the Rams, who have the best scoring defense in Region 6.
“We wanted to get off to a fast start,” he said. “This week, we have to put two halves together in all aspects of the game if we want to be successful.”
From a coach’s perspective, Spencer said the team has “embraced the concept of working together,” which is one of the many reasons for the Wildcats’ success so far.
“They have bought into what the coaches have been teaching in regards to playing for the guy next to you,” he said. “The team watches a lot of film together and we look for anything that might give us an advantage.”
Friday night’s game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Highland High School.