Phongsavath, who coached the Darts' boys to titles in 2010 and 2012 and the girls to championships in 2014 and 2015, said Davis came close to winning both titles in 2010. That's when the girls lost in a shootout to Alta in the state title game.
He said coaching girls' and boys' teams can be different.
"The personalities are different," said Phongsavath, a Layton High and Weber State graduate who is in his 10th year coaching at Davis. "I like girls' coaching better because you have more of an impact [as] the coach. With the boys, I love hanging out with them and being a part of the team a bit more. They don't mind you hanging around. The girls would rather socialize with themselves."
Another difference is college scholarship offers. While all 11 starters on this year's unbeaten national champion Davis girls' team received scholarships to Division I schools, only Gavin Flitton on the boys' squad has a scholarship. He is going to Pacific.
"They saw me at Surf College Cup in California with my club team in Thanksgiving of 2014," said Flitton, a senior centerback/midfielder. "It's super-exciting. It's hard for Utah players to get scholarships. UVU does offer, but a lot of Utah players are overlooked. For me to be able to get seen by them, it was a huge deal. … I have been wanting a Division I scholarship my whole life."
Flitton said he thinks this year's Dart team has been a surprise to other squads.
"At the beginning of this season, we knew this was going to be different," he said. "We knew we had the team chemistry and talent. We surprised everyone, maybe even including Souli."
Flitton has added pressure to win a state title because his brothers, Brackin and Taylor, won as senior captains in 2010 and 2012. He is trying to keep the family tradition alive.
Pedro Martins, a Brazilian foreign exchange student who came to Kaysville on Aug. 13, has also been a pleasant surprise as a forward for the Darts.
He said the big difference between the U.S. and Brazil is that teams both in high school and clubs are more organized in the U.S., where he said most players play for fun.
"I like all the organization we have here with region and state," he said. "Soccer is a lot more like thinking rather than reaction. Here, we play more as a team. In Brazil, we play more as an individual."
The Darts also have step-brothers Hayden Lawson and Hayden Garlock, who have been playing together since elementary school and are being coached by Davis assistant Brian Garlock, a father and stepdad to the boys.
As a graduate of Davis' arch-rival Layton, where he also used to coach as an assistant, the Darts coach said it took him a couple of years to adjust.
"You grow up with Davis as your rival and disliking them for reasons you don't know," he said. "I took a lot of flak from the friends I went to high school with. I live in Layton. It's a good, friendly rivalry."
Phongsavath is realistic about his team's chances at state.
"This year, there is more parity than there has been in a long time," he said. "Any number of teams peaking at the right time could do it, including us. I loved the way we played the second half of the season. I am hoping we are peaking at the right time."
Class 5A boys' soccer
Tuesday at 4 p.m.
• Hunter at Lone Peak
• Jordan at Weber
• Mountain Crest at Bingham
• Pleasant Grove at Viewmont
• Brighton at Sky View
• Herriman at Davis
• Fremont at Copper Hills
• Layton at American Fork
Region 1: Weber won its last six games, giving up only three goals during that time span. In the Warriors' last three games, they outscored foes 11-0, coming into the tournament as one of the hottest teams. Sky View, strong early, faded late and lost its last three games. Fremont could be dangerous but traveling to Copper Hills is not an easy first-round matchup. Give fourth-place Mountain Crest a chance in its opener against Bingham, though a road win would be an upset.
Region 2: Like all the 5A regions, the top four teams were evenly matched. Davis, the league champion, was a surprise and comes into the tournament rested and with good team chemistry. Viewmont lost 5-2 to Davis in a game that gave the Darts the region championship, but has displayed the potential to be dangerous. Hunter grabbed third place in the league with four straight victories, including one against Davis in the regular season. The Wolverines are capable of doing some damage. Layton was one of the top-ranked teams in the state to start the year, but has struggled in league play and will be a definite first-round underdog against Region 4 champion American Fork.
Region 3: Bingham looked like the team to beat two weeks ago, but dropped its last two games of the regular season. Were the Miners resting some stars after clinching the title early? Second-place Copper Hills comes into the tournament as one of the hottest teams, having won four straight, but gets a tough opener against Fremont. Brighton, the runner-up to Alta a year ago, has been up and down this season. The Bengals will have to win on the road to make it to the title game again this year. Jordan, too, is decent, coming into the tournament with a loss, win and tie, the win being over Bingham. The Beetdiggers have at tough draw at Weber, though.
Region 4: Like Bingham, American Fork is limping into state with two straight losses. The Cavemen also draw perhaps the toughest fourth-place team in the state in Layton. Lone Peak, on the other hand, has won five of six and has to be included among the favorites in a wide open state title chase. Pleasant Grove captured two straight and Herriman comes in winning three of four, and both own some impressive victories.
Class 4A Boys Soccer
Wednesday at 4 p.m.
• Uintah at Cyprus
• Bountiful at Provo
• Orem at Ogden
• Olympus at Wasatch
• Alta at East
• Skyline at Maple Mountain
• Spanish Fork-Payson winner at Murray
• Bonneville at Mountain View
Region Five: League champion Ogden is the surprise team in this classification. The Tigers won an impressive eight straight to edge East and come into the tournament with momentum and confidence. East, which lost a memorable shootout game to Skyline for the title a year ago, lost to Ogden and Bountiful late in the year to fall to second and earn a difficult first-round matchup with defending 5A champion Alta. Bonneville comes into state after two losses and a tie and Bountiful has been dangerous, though the Braves are 2-2-1 in their last five games.
Region Six: Murray dominated what appears to be a down league from start to finish, losing only to Skyline, and comes into state with one of the best records in 4A. Cyprus turned into a surprise, winning four of its last five, the only loss coming to Murray. Olympus is a .500 team. Skyline is the defending champion and does own that win over Murray, but an away game at Maple Mountain to open state could be too tough for the rebuilding Eagles.
Region Seven: Provo has an 11-1-1 record in its last 13 games. With good experience from a year ago, the Bulldogs have to be among the favorites to win in 4A. Mountain View finished second, but a 3-0 loss to defending 5A champion Alta May 6 has to be a concern. The Hawks don't have an easy first-round game at East, but may be the most dangerous team going into the state, having won six of seven. Orem has struggled of late, losing its last three.
Region Eight: Maple Mountain comes into the 4A tournament as the favorite, having only lost one game to Orem in preseason and only given up nine goals all season. Wasatch's only two losses in league play came against Maple Mountain and possesses a defense that is dangerous. Surprising Uintah has won four straight. Spanish Fork and Payson playoff for the last spot in state and neither are expected to be much of a factor in the tournament.