The dream of every high school sports team is to never lose a game, to make it through the preseason, region and playoff schedules unblemished.
But it’s certainly much easier said than done.
Heading into the final full week of September, there are very few undefeated teams remaining in the entire state in the three main team sports.
Here are the squads that (according to MaxPreps.com) have yet to be defeated in 2019:
- Skyridge (5-0)
- Mountain View (6-0)
- Salem Hills (6-0)
- Corner Canyon (6-0)
- Park City (6-0)
- Morgan (5-0)
- North Sanpete (6-0)
- Manti (5-0)
- Beaver (6-0)
- Millard (6-0)
- American Fork (12-0-0)
- Farmington (12-0-0)
- Farmington (11-0)
- Waterford (12-0)
- Millard (9-0-2)
Only 15 teams have made it to this point without at least one loss and that number is sure to shrink as the season progresses.
That means it is definitely something these teams should be proud of.
“This is where we want our program to be,” Mountain View head football coach Tyler Anderson said Monday. “We’re getting there although we are still not all the way there. We’ve been playing well this season but the rest of our season gets a lot tougher. But it is fun having success and to have the players who have been in the program for four years have this success.”
This is uncharted territory for the Bruins in recent history as they have had some tough times on the gridiron.
“From the first year I took over to this year, it is a drastic turnaround,” Anderson said. “That’s fun to see. It’s rewarding to see the kids who have bought in that their hard work and dedication is paying off.”
There are also teams on the other end of the spectrum, like the American Fork girls soccer team.
The Cavemen won the 6A state championship in 2017 and were one of the favorites in 2018 before getting upset in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
“It’s different for us this time because we aren’t playing our best soccer yet,” American Fork head girls soccer coach Derek Dunn said Monday. “The girls know that. They come to practice every day with questions and are never satisfied. We can always achieve more and do better. That’s something that we have really pushed this year.”
As great as it is to go through the first couple of months of a season without losing a game, it can be debated whether that is the best thing for a team.
Some coaches are of the opinion that the goal is to win every time you step on the field and a loss is always bad. Others have seen tremendous growth from their players after defeat and say you learn more from a loss than a win.
Both Anderson and Dunn believe they are in between those to perspectives.
“We celebrate the positives but we also look at the negatives in a game and find the losses in a win,” Dunn said. “You don’t want your kids to think that you aren’t happy, that they aren’t doing the right things. You look at the things that need to be a little bit better.”
Anderson said: “We’ve learned a lot from some of our wins this year. I believe you can learn from either wins or losses. We’ve certainly had our share of losses in the past three years that we’ve learned from. Our kids are excited to learn from winning.”
It can be tough to maintain the same level of play, particularly if being undefeated becomes a big deal. That can suddenly ramp up the intensity and any mistakes can be intensified.
Dunn felt his squad in 2018 had a tough time with the expectations when the state playoffs rolled around, so he wants to have things be different for this year’s team.
“I think I know how to release pressure better,” Dunn said. “I use the example of the InstantPot my wife always cooks in and say that sometimes you just really need to release the valve. We’ve done different things this year to do that. We went paintballing as a team. Sometimes I let them go early to go to a football game as a team. Being able to relieve some pressure in a different manner than on a soccer field has helped a lot.”
All of the undefeated teams know that opponents know they have been successful and are definitely going to come out wanting to knock them off that pedestal.
“We look forward to big games and having the target aimed at us,” Dunn said.
Mountain View football will be facing another undefeated team when it hosts Park City on Friday.
“We’re going to focus on controlling what we can control,” Anderson said. “Obviously Park City is a great team with great players on both sides of the ball. We are emphasizing that we have to do what we do, then whatever happens happens. We are going to play as hard as we can and I think our kids are excited for the opportunity to prove that we are a good team.”