Old School Andy: Canyon View shows that whining and begging do work

COMMENTARY – I remember a football program in Region 9 that was really struggling.

Since moving up from 2A to the 3A level in the early 1990s, this program had not done well, managing a 30-49 record (38 percent). Many fans and boosters murmured, saying the team should never have been bumped up to 3A. The other schools in the region were bigger and faster and stronger.

This school hired a relatively inexperienced new football coach in hopes that his enthusiasm and youth would turn things around. It didn’t work, at least not at first.

After three years with the new staff, this team was even worse than before, going 8-20 (29 percent). They were 2-8 in region play and their next closest region rival had beaten them soundly eight straight times.

Players felt out-manned. Coaches were frustrated. Fans were disinterested. And parents and administrators were petitioning the state to move the team back to 2A or at least find an easier region for them.

That team, as you may have guessed, is the Hurricane Tigers. Yes, the same Tigers who have been to the playoffs five straight times. The same team that won the state 3A title in 2011 with a perfect 13-0 record. The same team that has now beaten its closest geographic rival (Pine View) four straight years.

So what happened?

Well, despite the protestations, Hurricane didn’t change classifications or even regions. The Tigers were helped a bit when Dixie, Pine View and Snow Canyon went up to 4A for four years, but it should be pointed out that Hurricane went 7-4 against those three teams during that stretch and won its state title after the three had returned to 3A in 2011.

Special requests were not granted for the Tigers so they could become competitive.

Instead, they just manned up. Hurricane’s coaches and players ignored any whining or “woe is me,” talk and started working harder.

A previously quiet weight room began booming loud music at 6 a.m. while players began to sculpt their bodies into the powerhouses that would be needed to compete.

Coach Chris Homer will readily admit that he looked at other schools, particularly rival Pine View, and saw what needed to be done.

“I looked at their program in general, but more specifically their work in the weight room,” he said. “They had a level of commitment there that we didn’t and that’s why they were always a top program.”

Like just about everything in life, hard work led directly to success. Hurricane is 57-8 (88 percent) the past five seasons. The team, the players and the support system quit complaining about the hand they were dealt and made it work.

But this column isn’t actually about Hurricane. It’s about Canyon View.

The Falcons have struggled mightily the past few seasons. They haven’t won a region game in more than half a decade. They haven’t beaten rival Cedar since 2005. And last week, the Falcons got their wish. The Utah High School Activities Association heard Canyon View’s desperate pleas of “We can’t do it,” and “It’s too hard,” and moved the Falcons to a different classification and region in football. CV is now in the 3A South, where it will compete with powerhouses Delta, Manti, Juab, Richfield and North Sanpete for a region title.

The Falcons’ former region mates, Cedar, Dixie, Hurricane, Pine View and Snow Canyon, will be in the new 3AA class and will join Payson in the new 3AA South region.

So instead of driving across town or 50 miles south for games, Canyon View will get to tour central Utah’s meccas of football: Delta (136 miles), Manti (154 miles) and Nephi (175).

Two programs, badly beaten down. Hurricane was outnumbered and out-muscled. What did they do? They got to work. Canyon View faced the same problem and what did the Falcons do? They pleaded for it to be easier.

And of course, the lesson learned for all the young and future Falcons: If it’s too hard, complain and beg and maybe someone will make it easier for you.

The new football-only regions and classifications:

3AA Classification (14 teams)

Bear River
Ben Lomond
Juan Diego
Park City

Cedar City
Desert Hills
Pine View
Snow Canyon

3A Classification (12 teams)

Judge Memorial

3A South
Canyon View
North Sanpete


Andy Griffin is a sports commentator. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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  • Damie December 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Is this really an appropriate article for an adult to write regarding kids’ sports? Is it parody or is this meant seriously in a bizarre obsessional sort of crazy way?

    • Tyson December 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      I think it was a great article. He is obviously relating it to life. Our society today is all about the handouts. Why work for something when it can just be handed to you? That’s not right. Where us the accountability? I played for Hurricane. My first 3 years we were abysmal. We won like 4 games my first 3 years! But instead of whining and complaining about it competition, we went to work and out proved successful. My senior year we went 12-1. We lost to eventual state champ Logan in the semi finals. Since then, Hurricane has been a contender. We didn’t beg for our situation to be changed, we changed ourselves to better our own situation with hard work and dedication! That’s a life lesson right there. We shouldn’t expect others to do our work. High school football taught me many life lessons and I’m thankful that Coach Homer and Hurricane football gave me three opportunity to learn responsibility and the fact that hard work pays off!

  • Todd December 13, 2012 at 11:11 am

    A friend of mine told me about this commentary and told me it was a must read so after my workout I went home and pulled it up and was very disappointed in what I discovered, that after all those eight long agonizing years of watching my kids go to this school I discovered one thing this school has taught my kids and what it has come to—nothing! I do now understand why Obama has won re-election. We should be so disappointed in ourselves in what disservice we have been to our kids, all they have all learned now is how to complain for success, they have now been crippled for life, for life takes no prisoners and is no respecter of persons, only hard work and persistence will define a person so all I can say is when this doesn’t work then where will you turn this time? You and I both know that this will be a failure because they’ll believe that they wont have to work as hard because you have made it easier for them.

    Good luck.

  • Jeff December 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

    A couple things you neglected to mention: 1) Canyon View is staying in the same classification (not being downgraded) while the other schools in their region are being moved up to the newly created 3AA classification. I hope your logic is not applied to the academics of these schools where a student is moved up a grade (classification) just because the rest of their peers are moving, despite the fact that they are failing. 2) This is only for the 2013-15 seasons. I am sure that the students and administration would rather be in the same region as their long-time rivals, but why not give them a few seasons to get back on their feet? (Congratulations to Hurricane for their successes, what they have done is extremely rare).

  • Bike December 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    One thing not mentioned in the article is that when Hurricane first became a 3A school they had low student number. Then the population boomed and they became one of the larger 3A schools. Canyon view has not seen that boom in enrollment. I’m glad they threw them a bone. Hopefully in 2 years they will be back with the rest of us with the monkey off their back.

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