Provo’s football team has been through some tough times over the years.

Wednesday night, however, was at the other end of the spectrum.

It was truly a memorable night as the Bulldogs closed out a fantastic regular season in 2019.

There was the fact that Provo won its first outright region title in three decades, securing sole possession of the Region 8 crown with a 35-3 win over Payson.

Bulldog junior Dallin Havea went out and scored three touchdowns while wearing No. 33 in honor of his older brother Drason Havea, who was injured before the season and missed his senior year.

To cap it off, then there was the special celebration before the game for Provo head coach Tony McGeary, who will be retiring from coaching football at the end of the season after a 31-year career.

Yes, it was an evening to savor for the Bulldog gridiron faithful.

“It’s great,” McGeary said. “It’s great to win a region championship. We have the playoffs to look forward to. For me personally, to go out like this, as region champs is awesome.”

McGeary said he loved seeing Dallin Havea have that type of game for his family.

“That was tremendous,” McGeary said. “Dallin has consistently gotten better running the ball as the year has gone on. It’s an honor for us to have him and it was a great thing that he did for his brother. We are really proud of him.”

McGeary expressed his appreciation for all of the support from his friends and former players, many who came for the special retirement party.

“That was just awesome,” McGeary said. “My wife didn’t let me know about it. There was a tremendous outpouring of support from people I’ve been able to coach for 31 years. It’s just been awesome. There are so many good friends and you never lose them. I told them that I hope I see all these people in heaven.”

McGeary’s wife Brenda, who organized the surprise event, said she was thrilled by the response.

“I had more than 200 responses to my invitation,” Brenda McGeary said. “There were more people on the field than there were in the stands.”

She said the McGeary family has made a lot of sacrifices for Tony McGeary to coach football for all these years but is extremely proud of everything her husband has accomplished

“He loves the kids,” Brenda McGeary said. “He feels like football gave him so much and this is how he can give back.”

Tony McGeary said his experiences with football have been tremendously valuable.

“I was a latchkey kid growing up,” Tony McGeary said. “My mentors were my coaches. They taught me the game of football. I had such a tremendous love for football and it got me through high school, got me through college. Every day for the last 31 years I get to come and coach kids. That’s the dream. To be able to do this for a living, that is the dream. To see guys change their lives, to see football change their lives like it has changed mine, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Now that the regular season has concluded and the region title has been won, Provo turns its attention to the 5A state playoffs.

Although it will be officially announced on Saturday when the 5A bracket is released, it is likely the Bulldogs will have a first-round bye and not play until Nov. 1.

“We will go back and continue to clean up some special teams things, get healed up, get back into the weight room and start the season over again,” McGeary said. “We’re not taking anybody lightly.”

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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