Felt’s Facts: Focusing on the semifinals in prep football across Utah

Felt’s Facts — Semifinals and Finals

COMMENTARY — Among the six teams vying for championships this Saturday, South Summit, with six state crowns, makes its third straight 2A title-game appearance and fifth in seven years. The two-time defending champs face Beaver, there for the first time since 1992. The Beavers have claimed nine state trophies, but none since 1990.

It’s the fourth time these two have dueled for a state championship. Beaver grabbed two of the three previous championship battles, which were all contested in the 1970s.

In 3A, Juan Diego is back in the title game for the first time since 2010 when the Soaring Eagle won their fifth state crown. They encounter Morgan, holder of six state championships. The Trojans last reached the finals — and won — in 1997.

Class 1A features a relative newcomer, five-year-old Diamond Ranch, clashing with Kanab, which has played football for 66 seasons. DR is in the finals for the second straight year and seeking its first championship. Kanab last competed for a title in 2008 and last won a state trophy, its ninth, in 2007.

Two teams in the finals are led by coaches who – way back when – quarterbacked their squads to state championships. At Beaver, Steve Hutchings guided the Beavers to titles in 1980, ’81 and ’83. At Kanab, Bucky Orton directed the Cowboys’ 1994 championship team.

Back for more

Only three semifinalists from last year, the defending champs in 5A, 4A and 3AA, repeat trips to Rice-Eccles. Bingham returns for the fourth consecutive time in 5A, Timpview is back for the fifth year in a row in 4A and Dixie revisits for the fourth straight season in 3AA.

In addition, Timpview sees semifinal action for the 12th time in 14 seasons, Bingham qualifies for the ninth time in 10 years and Dixie for the fifth time in seven. Lone Peak is a semifinalist for the fifth time in six seasons and East is for the fourth time in five.

Strangers to the semis

Meanwhile, Herriman appears in the semifinals for the first time in its six-year history. Tooele last advanced to the semis in 2002, Snow Canyon in 2006 and Sky View in 2007. The other three semifinalists, Springville (2010), Logan (2011) and Highland (2012) have more recent trips to the U.

Ten of the 12 semifinal teams display at least one championship trophy in their showcase. Besides Herriman, Sky View still seeks its first.

It’s been said that perfection is often the key to destruction. Last week’s Felt’s Facts avoided destruction — and perfection — by stating that Sky View had won a state championship by defeating Mountain Crest. Apologies to both schools for the error.

Surprising Snow Canyon

In all six classifications — except 3AA — the semifinalists were seeded No. 1 or No. 2. But sixth-seeded Snow Canyon burst into the semis by upsetting third-seed Stansbury, 55-28, and shocking No. 2 Desert Hills, 17-13. Snow Canyon joins South Sevier’s 2010 team as the lowest seeded squads to reach the semis.


Kanab’s Bucky Orton hopes to gain his 100th victory with the Cowboys and win a state championship in the process. Herriman’s Dustin Pearce shoots for his 50th career victory — he had eight at Enterprise, 19 at Hunter and has 22 with the Mustangs.

Overtime heroes

Last week, Highland engineered one of Utah prep football’s most stunning comebacks, scoring 21 points in the last 3:08 to send its game with Corner Canyon into overtime. It’s not the biggest comeback in state tournament history, but is the largest in such a short period of time.

The biggest comeback in playoff — and state — history also involved Highland. In a 1995 first-round game in Class 5A, Bonneville led the Rams 28-0 in the second quarter, but Highland rallied to win 31-28.

Last week’s contest marked Highland’s 25th OT game, a state high. Just this season, the Rams have battled in overtime three times, the most since Juab endured four overtimes — a state record — in 2010.

Twenty schools have played at least three overtimes in a season, but only Highland — this year — and Skyline (1995) have perfect records in those games.

All-time numbers

In semifinal action this week, Sky View QB Garrison Beach ranks 19th all-time in season total offense (3,962 yards) and eighth in season pass completions (257).

One of his primary targets, Bryce Mortenson, ranks eighth in season touchdown receptions (18). He also ranks fourth in career TD receptions (41) and 10th in career receptions (151).

North Sanpete’s Spencer Applegarth concluded his three years with the Hawks in 20th place in career net rushing yards (3,895), tied for ninth in career carries (601) and tied for 14th in career 100-yard games (19). He’s tied for 25th for career points scored (324).

Alta’s Joshua Davis completed his season last week ranked third in season all-purpose yards (3,075), eighth in season touchdowns scored (34) and 15th in season net rushing Yards (2,077).

Herriman’s Noah Vaea is an opposing quarterback’s nemeses as he’s corralled 14 interceptions during his career (ranks 15th all-time) and 11 this season (ranks 17th all-time).

One more destruction-avoiding error from last week, this one involving a player: Canyon View was correctly reported as converting 24 rushing 2-point conversions and 12 more through the air. However, Xavier Stokes was the receiver – not the ball carrier – on 11 of the conversions.

Class 5A semifinals

Among the semifinalists in 5A, Bingham has won nine state championships and Lone Peak, one.

Sky View (12-0) vs. Herriman (9-3) – Friday, 11 a.m.

Series history: first meeting.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting between Sky View’s Craig Anhder and Herriman’s Dustin Pearce.

Current winning streaks: Sky View – 12 (second longest active streak), Herriman – 2.

Sky View’s last semifinal: 2007, lost to Pine View 55-24.

Herriman’s first semifinal.

Sky View’s playoff record (24th appearance in 52 seasons): 12-23.

Craig Anhder’s playoff record (10th appearance in 11 seasons): 8-9; semifinal record: 0-1.

Herriman’s playoff record (sixth appearance in six seasons): 5-5.

Dustin Pearce’s playoff record (seventh appearance in seven seasons and third in three seasons at Herriman): 8-6, including 1-1 at Enterprise (2004), 3-3 at Hunter (2008-10) and 4-2 at Herriman (since 2013); semifinal record: 0-2 (0-1 at Enterprise and 0-1 at Hunter).

Extra Point 1: Sky View has its most ever wins and longest winning streak – 12 games. The Bobcats have posted a double-digit win season for just the fourth time and first since 2007.

Extra Point 2: Herriman also has its most victories. The Mustangs have previously won eight games three times.

Extra Point 3: Herriman is one of six schools that has made the playoffs every year of its history.

Bingham (11-1) vs. Lone Peak (12-0) – Friday, 2:30 p.m.

Series history: Bingham leads 3-2.

Last meeting: Bingham slapped Lone Peak 48-13 in the 2013 semifinals.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting between Bingham’s John Lambourne and Lone Peak’s Mike Mower.

Current winning streaks: Bingham – 9 (seventh longest active streak), Lone Peak – 12 (second longest active streak).

Bingham’s last semifinal: 2014, waxed Riverton 35-3 en route to its ninth state title.

Lone Peak’s last semifinal: 2013, fell to Bingham 48-13.

Bingham’s playoff record (43rd appearance in 92 seasons): 54-33.

John Lambourne’s playoff record (sixth appearance in six seasons and first at Bingham in one season): 7-5, including 5-5 at Hunter (1994-98) and 2-0 at Bingham. Semifinal record: 0-1 at Hunter.

Lone Peak’s playoff record (17th appearance in 19 seasons): 25-15.

Mike Mower’s playoff record (third appearance in three seasons): 4-2; semifinal record: 0-1.

Extra Point 1: Bingham’s only loss was to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps.

Extra Point 2: The Miners appear in the semis for the ninth time in 10 years (missed in 2011) and hope to advance to the championship game for the seventh time in those 10 seasons, since 2006.

Extra Point 3: Bingham has won 38 straight against Utah opponents. That streak began at the start of the 2013 season. Only Duchesne has a longer streak – 46 Utah foes from 2010-14.

Extra Point 4: Bingham set a school record for shutouts with seven so far this season.

Extra Point 5: Lone Peak’s only better beginning came in 2011 when the Knights won their only state championship with a 14-0 record.

Class 4A semifinals

East claims 15 championships, Timpview, 11, Highland, five, and Springville, one.

East (9-2) vs. Springville (11-0) – Thursday 11 a.m.

Series history: East leads 3-0.

Last meeting: East blitzed Springville 39-19 in a first round game on Oct. 27, 2006 at East.

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between East’s Brandon Matich and Spingville’s Willy Child.

Current winning streaks: East – 7, Springville – 11 (fourth longest active streak).

East’s last semifinal: 2013, crushed Olympus 47-21 before losing to Timpview in the championship.

Springville’s last semifinal: 2010, lost to Highland 46-21.

East’s playoff record (43rd appearance in 102 seasons): 54-27-2.

Brandon Matich’s playoff record (10th appearance, including four in five seasons at Park City and sixth in six seasons at East): 16-9, including 4-4 at Park City (2005-09) and 12-5 at East (since 2010). Semifinal record: 2-3, including 0-2 at Park City and 2-1 at East.

Springville’s playoff record (45th appearance in 99 seasons): 25-43.

Willy Child’s playoff record (third appearance in four seasons): 3-2; first semifinal.

Extra Point 1: Springville enjoys its fifth-ever double-digit win season and first since 2010. The Red Devils’ only better start came in 1985 when they wrapped up a championship season with a 12-0 record.

Extra Point 2: Springville’s last semifinal victory came in 2009.

Extra Point 3: A victory by East gives the Leopards their 10th double-digit win season and third in five years.

Timpview (10-1) vs. Highland (8-3) – 2:30 p.m.

Series history: Timpview leads 4-2

Last meeting: Timpview dropped the Rams 21-12 to win the 2006 Class 4A title.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting between Timpview’s Cary Whittingham and Highland’s Brody Benson.

Current winning streaks: Timpview – 9 (seventh longest active streak), Highland – 3.

Timpview’s last semifinal: 2014, thumped Woods Cross 41-13 en route to 11th state crown.

Highland’s last semifinal: 2012, lost to Mountain Crest 14-6. The Rams’ last semifinal victory came in 2010 when they took the Class 4A title.

Timpview’s playoff record (35th appearance in 39 seasons): 68-23 (but 93 total games, which includes two vacated wins in 2011).

Cary Whittingham’s playoff record (fourth appearance in four seasons): 14-0, three state championships; semifinal record: 3-0.

Highland’s playoff record (42nd appearance in 59 seasons): 53-36.

Brody Benson’s playoff record (10th appearance in 10 seasons): 14-8, one state championship; semifinal record: 2-1.

Extra Point 1: Timpview visits Rice-Eccles for the fifth straight year and for the 12th time in 14 seasons.

Extra Point 2: Timpview shoots for its eighth championship game in 10 years and its ninth in 12 seasons.

Extra Point 3: Whittingham has won 14 consecutive playoff games, tied for the third-longest streak in Utah prep history. Skyline’s Roger DuPaix captured 23 tournament wins in a row from 1995-2000 and Whittingham’s predecessor, Louis Wong, won 17 straight from 2000-04. Northridge’s Fred Fernades also took 14 in a row from 2000-04.

Class 3AA semifinals

Dixie owns eight championships, Logan has seven, Tooele, five and Snow Canyon, two.

Logan (9-2) vs. Snow Canyon (6-5) – Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Series history: Snow Canyon leads 1-0.

Last meeting: The Warriors ousted Logan in a Class 3A quarterfinal 28-18 in 2006.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting between Logan’s Mike Favero and Snow Canyon’s Marcus Matua.

Current winning streaks: Logan – 8, SC – 2.

Logan’s last semifinal: 2011, destroyed Bountiful 59-30 en route to its seventh state title.

Snow Canyon’s last semifinal: 2006, ripped Delta 27-7 before falling to Bear River.

Logan’s playoff record (49th appearance in 97 seasons): 51-41.

Mike Favero’s playoff record (16th appearance in 16 seasons): 25-11, four state championships; semifinal record: 5-1.

Snow Canyon’s playoff record (14th appearance in 22 seasons): 22-11.

Marcus Matua’s playoff record (third appearance in three seasons): 3-2; first semifinal.

Dixie (8-2) vs. Tooele (8-3) – Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Series history: Dixie leads 2-1.

Last meeting: Dixie tripped the Buffaloes 20-14 in 1993.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting between Dixie’s Andy Stokes and Tooele’s Kyle Brady.

Current winning streaks: Dixie – 3, Tooele – 5.

Dixie’s last semifinal: 2014, defeated Pine View 38-28 en route to its eighth state title.

Tooele’s last semifinal: 2002, popped Lehi 32-21 before knocking off Wasatch to secure its fifth gridiron championship.

Dixie’s playoff record (42nd appearance in 71 seasons): 58-33.

Andy Stokes’ playoff record (first appearance): 1-0; first semifinal.

Tooele’s playoff record (36th appearance in 100 seasons): 32-30.

Kyle Brady’s playoff record (third appearance in five seasons): 1-2; first semifinal.

Extra Point 1: Brady starred for Tooele when the Buffalos claimed their last state championship in 2002.

Extra Point 2: Tooele celebrates its most victories since winning a school-record 10 games in 2002.

Extra Point 3: Dixie admirably reaches the semifinals for a fourth straight year, but the Flyers once made the semis seven times in a row, from 1970-76.

Class 3A Championship

Juan Diego (11-1) vs. Morgan (10-2)

Saturday, 4 p.m. at Weber State

Series history: Juan Diego leads 3-0.

Last meeting: Juan Diego defeated the Trojans 35-21 on Sept. 18 (Week 5) at home.

Coach vs. coach: Juan Diego’s John Colosimo is 3-0 vs. Morgan’s Kovi Christiansen.

Current winning streaks: Juan Diego – 8, Morgan – 7.

Juan Diego Quick Facts

JD opened in 2000; 16th season.

Finals record: 5-1 (.833). Last championship: 2010. Playoff record: 29-9 (.763), 15th appearance (missed the tournament the school’s first year).

Championship game history:

2002, defeated Manti 28-12 (Class 2A)

2003, lost to Manti 20-19 (2A)

2004, defeated Juab 33-14 (2A)

2008, defeated Hurricane 21-18 (3A)

2009, defeated Hurricane 12-10 (3A)

2010, defeated Hurricane 10-7 (3A)

Coach: John Colosimo is 156-36 in 16 seasons at Juan Diego and 202-111 in 28 seasons overall, including a 46-75 record at Judge Memorial (1986-96).

Playoff record: 34-17 (.667), 23rd appearance. At Juan Diego: 29-9 in 15 appearances; at Judge: 5-8 in eight appearances.

Championship game record: 5-2, including 5-1 at Juan Diego and 0-1 at Judge.

Morgan Quick Facts

The Trojans began their football program in 1928; 88th season.

Finals record: 6-4. Last championship: 1997. Playoff record: 50-41 (.549), 48th appearance.

Championship game history:

1940, defeated Richfield 20-7 (Class B)

1972, lost to Dixie 58-30 (2A)

1976, lost to Millard 20-14 in triple-overtime (2A)

1977, defeated Delta 28-14 (2A)

1979, defeated Millard 26-14 (2A)

1980, lost to Lehi 7-6 (2A)

1983, defeated Hurricane 15-0 (2A)

1993, defeated San Juan 21-18 (2A)

1996, lost to Grantsville 7-0 (2A)

1997, defeated Ben Lomond 21-7 (3A)

Coach: Kovi Christiansen is 70-33 (.680) in nine seasons (since 2007).

Playoff record: 7-8 (.467), ninth appearance.

First championship game.

Extra Point 1: Juan Diego is the all-time winningest playoff team by percentage (.763).

Extra Point 2: Juan Diego’s only loss was to 4A’s Murray while Morgan faltered only against 2A finalist South Summit in double-overtime and Juan Diego.

Extra Point 2: Juan Diego enjoys its 11th double-digit win season after going just 5-5 last year. Despite the 2014 record, the Soaring Eagle are 88-12 over the past eight seasons.

Extra Point 3: This season is also Morgan’s 11th double-digit win season and the first since 2008.

Extra Point 4: A Morgan victory would reward the Trojans with their seventh state title and best record since going 11-1 in 2000.

Extra Point 5: John Colosimo is the winningest active coach by percent (.813) at his current school.

Class 2A Championship

South Summit (11-0) vs. Beaver (10-1)

Saturday, noon at Weber State

Series history: South Summit leads 12-8.

Last meeting: South Summit spanked Beaver 56-10 in 2014.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting between South Summit’sAaron Tillett and Beaver’s Steve Hutchings.

Current winning streaks: South Summit – 21 (longest active streak), Beaver – 10 (fifth longest active streak).

South Summit Quick Facts

The Wildcats played football from 1913-16, then dropped the sport until 1942; 78th season.

Finals record: 6-7 (.462). Last championship: 2014. Playoff record: 46-32 (.590), 38th appearance.

Championship game history:

1973, lost to Beaver 30-0 (Class 1A)

1977, defeated Beaver 16-6 (1A)

1978, defeated North Summit 14-0 (1A)

1979, lost to Beaver 24-9 (1A)

1984, defeated Kanab 13-95 (1A)

1988, defeated Kanab 35-13 (1A)

1998, lost to San Juan 36-26 (2A)

1999, lost to Manti 34-15 (2A)

2000, lost to San Juan 20-14 (2A)

2009, lost to San Juan 7-0 (2A)

2010, lost to San Juan 19-6 (2A)

2013, defeated Grand 42-8 (2A)

2014, defeated Summit Academy 28-6 (2A)

Coach: Aaron Tillett is 11-0 in his first season at South Summit and 21-22 in four seasons overall, including a 10-22 record at Ben Lomond (2000-02).

Playoff record: 2-0 at South Summit and 3-1 overall, including 1-1 at Ben Lomond; second appearance.

First championship game.

Beaver Quick Facts

Beaver began its gridiron program in 1925 and played 11-man football through 1933. After a five-year break, the Beavers took up 6-man football from 1939-1948. They resumed the 11-man version in 1949; 76th season of 11-man.

Finals record: 9-9. Last championship: 1990. Playoff record (11-man): 61-39 (.610), 49th appearance.

Championship game history:

1969, lost to Monticello 7-6 (Class B)

1970, defeated Monticello 22-0 (B)

1971, defeated Monticello 22-7 (B)

1972, lost to North Summit 16-0 (1A)

1973, defeated South Summit 30-0 (1A)

1975, defeated North Summit 12-6 in double-overtime (1A)

1976, lost to Kanab 27-7 (1A)

1977, lost to South Summit 16-6 (1A)

1979, defeated South Summit 24-9 (1A)

1980, defeated Park City 19-7 (1A)

1981, defeated Kanab 7-3 (1A)

1982, lost to Kanab 7-3 (1A)

1983, defeated Kanab 31-20 (1A)

1985, lost to Kanab 42-0 (1A)

1986, lost to Kanab 14-0 (1A)

1987, lost to Kanab 23-0 (1A)

1990, defeated Park City 12-7 (2A)

1992, lost to Grantsville 12-7 (2A)

Coach: Steve Hutchings is 63-53 (.543) in 11 seasons, since 2005.

Playoff record: 8-10 (.444), 11th appearance.

First championship game.

Extra Point 1: South Summit seeks to three-peat for the first time in school history. With a win, the Wildcats become the 15th school to win three or more consecutive championships.

Extra Point 2: A victory gives South Summit a school-record 12 season wins.

Extra Point 3: South Summit’s 21-game winning streak is tied (with two others) for the 15th longest streak in Utah prep history.

Extra Point 4: Since 2013, South Summit has compiled a 33-2 record, the best three-year record in Wildcat history. The two losses were a 2-pointer to North Summit in 2013 and by a touchdown to 3AA Morgan in 2014.

Extra Point 5: Beaver makes its 19th championship game appearance, the third most in state history (behind Millard’s 21 and Skyline’s 20).

Extra Point 6: Beaver last won 10 games in 1992 (10-2). A victory would give the Beavers 11 wins for the first time since 1987.

Extra Point 7: Beaver has the distinction of playing – and winning – the first-ever overtime game in Utah, in 1973, when the Beavers defeated Milford 6-0.

Extra Point 8: The 2A state championship is the 699th game for both Beaver and South Summit. It’s taken Beaver 76 seasons to reach that mark, while South Summit required 78.

Class 1A Championship

Diamond Ranch (10-0) vs. Kanab (9-3)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. at Southern Utah University

Series history: Diamond Ranch leads 3-1.

Last meeting: DR silenced the Cowboys 28-0 during Week 9, Oct. 16, at Kanab.

Coach vs. coach: Diamond Ranch’s Robbie Dias is 3-1 vs. Kanab’s Bucky Orton.

Current winning streaks: Diamond Ranch – 10 (fifth longest active streak), Kanab – 3.

Diamond Ranch Quick Facts

Fifth season and second consecutive trip to the finals. Playoff record: 5-4 (.556), fifth appearance.

Championship game history:

2014, lost to Rich 20-0 (Class 1A)

Coach: Robbie Dias is 35-20 (.636) in five seasons, since 2011.

Playoff record: 5-3 (.556), fifth appearance.

Kanab Quick Facts

Played one contest in 1919, then resumed in 1949 after playing 6-man football from 1944-48; 66th season of 11-man football.

Finals record: 9-6 (.600). Last championship: 2007. Playoff record: 54-36 (.600), 46th appearance.

Championship game history:

1974, defeated North Summit 14-0 (Class 1A)

1976, defeated Beaver 27-7 (1A)

1981, lost to Beaver 7-3 (1A)

1982, defeated Beaver 7-3 (1A)

1983, lost to Beaver 31-20 (1A)

1984, lost to South Summit 13-9 (1A)

1985, defeated Beaver 42-0 (1A)

1986, defeated Beaver 14-0 (1A)

1987, defeated Beaver 23-0 (1A)

1988, lost to South Summit 35-13 (1A)

1994, defeated San Juan 9-6 (2A)

2005, defeated Enterprise 30-9 (1A)

2006, lost to Duchesne 30-0 (1A)

2007, defeated Rich 35-14 (1A)

2008, lost to North Sevier 22-12 (1A)

Coach: Bucky Orton is 99-53 (.651) in 13 seasons, since 2003.

Playoff record: 17-10 (.630), 13th appearance.

Championship game record: 2-2 (won in 2005 and ’07).

Extra Point 1: Already this season, 10-0 Diamond Ranch celebrates its most wins and best start and its longest winning streak (10 games).

Extra Point 2: Five-year-old Diamond Ranch is trying to become one of the youngest schools to go undefeated. Juan Diego was equally young when it posted a 13-0 record its fifth year (2004). East went 9-0 its fifth full season, in 1919 (the Leopards were 2-0 in the flu-shortened 1918 season). But Snow Canyon holds the record. The Warriors earned a 12-0 mark their third year, in 1996.

Extra Point 3: Diamond Ranch has five shutouts this season, including two playoff games. In Utah prep football history, nine teams have posted at least three shutouts in the state tournament. Tooele (1929) and West (1924) lead the way with four. With a championship-game shutout, the Diamondbacks become the first team to blank all of its tournament opposition since Kanab also shut out three in 1986.

Extra Point 4: Kanab is in the finals for the 16th time. Only five schools have more championship-game appearances.

Extra Point 5: Kanab hopes to be the 16th team to win a state crown with three losses.

Extra Point 6: A Kanab victory rewards the Cowboys with a double-digit win season for the first time since 2007.

We’ll see you on the sidelines!

Felt’s Facts is a sports column written by George Felt. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.