Felt’s Facts: Taking a closer look at prep football’s championship Friday

Felt’s Facts –Week 14 2015

3AA, 4A and 5A Championship Game Notes

The 2015 season wraps up with Dixie and Timpview defending their state titles – Timpview for a fourth straight year – while Logan and Lone Peak are back in the championship game for the first time since both won state crowns in 2011.  East hasn’t captured a state crown since 1996.  Herriman, in its sixth season, tries for its first.

Timpview returns to the finals for the eighth time in 10 years and ninth time in 12 seasons.  Dixie is back for the third time in four years and East for the third time in five.

East tries for its 17th championship, Timpview its 12th and Dixie its ninth.  Logan hopes to win its eighth and Lone Peak its second.

Of the three matchups, only East and Timpview have met before to decide a state championship.  In 1996, East blanked the Thunderbirds 37-0, but Timpview gained a measure of revenge in 2013, nipping the Leopards 33-28.

East and Lone Peak rebounded from losing seasons in 2014 while Logan enjoys its sixth straight winning season, the longest streak of the teams playing this week.

Two of the six coaches in this week’s finals have won a total of seven state championships: Logan’s Mike Favero has four titles and Timpview’s Cary Whittingham has three.  Just 12 coaches have taken home more trophies than Favero.  The other coach with championship-game experience, East’s Brandon Matich, is 0-2 in title contests.

The other three head mentors, Lone Peak’s Mike Mower, Herriman’s Dustin Pearce and Dixie’s Andy Stokes, advance to the finals for the first time.

Stokes is the 42nd coach in his first season to guide his team to the championship game.  The last to do so: Hurricane’s Steve Pearson, who took his Tigers to the finals last year, but lost to Dixie.  Nineteen of these coaches have successfully led their teams to the state title.  Timpview’s Whittingham is the most recent to accomplish that, in 2012.

Spoiler Alert

Beaver became the 57th team to ruin another team’s perfect record in a championship game when the Beavers shut out South Summit 33-0 last Saturday.

Herriman, facing 13-0 Lone Peak, attempts to become the 58th on Friday.

Season Rematches

Herriman tries to add its name to another list, as well.

The Lone Peak-Herriman contest is the 125th title game that is a rematch of a regular season bout.  Of the 284 championship games, that’s a surprisingly high 44 percent.  The loser of the regular season meeting has gained revenge 46 times in 124 past attempts. Herriman hopes to make it 47.

All-Time Championship Game Pairings

Perhaps this statistic is even more obscure and has nothing to do with this week’s games, but a question arose as to what teams faced the highest number of different opponents in a championship game.  Davis leads the list with 14.  Logan and Skyline have battled 13 different teams and Millard has seen 12.  East and Judge Memorial have squared off against 11 other schools, while Dixie, Morgan, North Summit and Timpview have played against 10 other teams in title contests.

All-time Individual Stat Update

Sky View’s Garrison Beach finished ranked in the top-25 in six season categories.  He’s sixth in Completions (273) and ninth in Attempts (420).  Beach is 13th in Passing Yards (3,504) and 16th in Total Offense (4,157 yards).  He’s also 21st in Passing Touchdowns (36) and 22nd in Touchdowns-Responsible-For (44).

Beach ended up in 21st place in Career Total Offense (6,867 yards) and 16th in Career Completions (457).

His top receiver, Bryce Mortenson, concluded his season in ninth place in Touchdown Receptions (18) and tied for 11th in Total Receptions (85).  He completed his career in fourth place in TD Receptions (38) and 10th in Total Receptions (157).

Logan’s Spencer Corbett heads into the 3AA championship game tied for fourth place in Season TD Receptions (20), four off the state record.

East’s Johnnie Lang averages 13.1 yards per carry this season.  That’s good for second on the all-time list behind Park City’s Erik Walker (13.6 y.p.c. in 2009).  Lang’s final numbers depend, of course, on the number of carries and yards he gets against Timpview.

Springville’s Adam Rodriquez tops the sack chart this season with 20, tying him for the 18th-most all-time.

Herriman’s Noah Vaea intercepted a pass last week to up his season total to 12, tying him with five others in 12th place for most Season Interceptions.  On the career charts, he’s also tied for 12th with 15 picks.

Gridiron Differences

Some may feel that prep kickers are disadvantaged by the narrower goal posts on a college field – 18 feet, 6 inches versus 23 feet, 4 inches on a high school gridiron.  However, the distance between the hash marks – the outer limits of where the ball is put in play – is also narrower, so players have a more direct kick toward the goal posts.

In prep football, the hash marks evenly divide the field into thirds, so the marks are 53 feet, 4 inches apart.  On college fields, the hash marks are 40 feet apart (and 60 feet from the sidelines) giving more room along one sideline to spread out the defense.

NFL gridirons have the hash marks line up with the goal posts, thus making the distance between them just 18 feet, 6 inches apart and a whopping 70 feet, 4 inches from the sideline.

Another way to look at it: one-third of a high school field lies between the hash marks, one-fourth of a college gridiron and just about one-ninth of a pro field.

In 1972 the NFL moved the hash marks closer together, “looking for a way to produce more action and more touchdowns. Putting the ball in play farther from each sideline supposedly gives the offense more room to exercise its options,” according to Sports Illustrated.

5A Championship – Lone Peak (13-0) vs. Herriman (10-3)

Series history: They’ve met three times, all as Region 4 foes.  Herriman won the first two encounters, 29-21 in 2013 and 27-6 in 2014.  This season, Lone Peak blanked the Mustangs 30-0 during Week 10 (Oct. 22) in a game that decided the region championship.

Series record: Herriman leads 2-1.

Coach vs. coach: Herriman’s Dustin Pearce is 2-1 vs. Lone Peak’s Mike Mower.

Current winning streaks: Lone Peak, 13 (longest active streak); Herriman, 3 (last loss was to Lone Peak).

Lone Peak Quick Facts

Lone Peak opened in 1997; 19th season.

Finals record: 1-2.  Last championship: 2011.  Playoff record: 26-15 (.634), 17th playoff appearance.  LP only failed to qualify for the tournament in 1997, its first year, and 2007.

Championship game history:
2002, lost to Bountiful 23-20 (Class 4A)
2004, lost to Timpview 42-0 (4A)
2011, defeated Fremont 41-21 (5A)

Coach: Mike Mower is 26-11 (.703) in his third season.

Playoff record: 5-2 (.714), third appearance.

First championship game.

Herriman Quick Facts

Herriman opened in 2010, sixth season.

First championship game.  Playoff record: 6-5 (.545), sixth playoff appearance.

Coach: Dustin Pearce is 24-13 in his third year at Herriman.  He’s 51-32 (.615) in seven seasons overall, including 8-4 at Enterprise (2004) and 19-15 at Hunter (2008-10).

Playoff record at Herriman: 5-2 (.714), third appearance.  He’s 9-6 (.600) overall in seven appearances, including 1-1 at Enterprise (2004) and 3-3 at Hunter (2008-10).

First championship game.

Extra Point 1: In the largest classifications, which are comprised of four regions each, it’s unusual for two teams from the same region to reach the finals.  This year does mark the second time in three years that’s happened – in 2013, Region 3 rivals Bingham and Brighton met for the 5A championship.  But other than the exceptions in 2013 and this year, top-seeded region champions have faced off in every 5A state final over the past decade, since 2006.

Extra Point 2: A Lone Peak championship gives the Knights a 14-0 record for the second time in school history, matching the 2011 team.  LP would join Bingham as the only schools to win 14 games twice. Hunter, Juan Diego, Logan and Timpview have each posted state-high 14-0 records once.

Extra Point 3: Lone Peak has scored in a school-record 110 straight games since 2007, the seventh longest active streak and 16th longest all-time scoring streak in Utah history.

Extra Point 4: Lone Peak is experiencing the 10th biggest turnaround in Utah prep history.  The Knights went from 5-6 last year to 13-0 so far this season, an improvement of 7.0 games.  (The NCAA calculates this by taking the difference in victories and the difference in losses, adding the two numbers and dividing by 2.)  (Hurricane holds the record, 9.0 games improved in 2004.)

Extra Point 5: Six teams entered the playoffs unbeaten, but Davis (5A) lost in the first round, Sky View (4A) and Springville (4A) fell in the semifinals and South Summit (2A) was shut out in the finals. Lone Peak attempts join Diamond Ranch (1A) on the victory stand and  become the 107th school to celebrate a full season with a spotless record.  (Since 1989, there’s been at least one undefeated team every year except for 2005.)

Extra Point 6: Dustin Pearce has taken Herriman from 6-6 in 2013 to 8-4 last year and 10-3 so far this season.

Extra Point 7: A Herriman victory makes the school one of the youngest to win a state championship.  Only five teams have won a title in fewer seasons.  Herriman would join such noteworthy schools as Alta, East and Skyline, which captured their first state trophy in their sixth year.

Extra Point 8: Herriman has 10 wins for the first time.

4A Championship – East (10-2) vs. Timpview (11-1)

Series history: These teams first met in a 1995 quarterfinal, which East won 19-17 at Timpview.  They battle this year for the 10th time and for the fifth straight year, all in the playoffs.  They also fight for the third time for a state championship.  Timpview has claimed the last three games over the Leopards.

Series record: Timpview leads 5-4.

Coach vs. coach: Timpview’s Cary Whittingham is 3-0 vs. East’s Brandon Matich.

Current winning streaks: Timpview, 10 (fourth longest active streak); East, 8 (seventh longest active streak).

East Quick Facts

East opened in 1914; 102nd season.

Championships: 16 – comprised of 12 victories and one in 1917 when season records determined the state champion, one in 1925 when both semifinal games ended in ties and all four semifinalists were named champions, one in 1926 when East tied Box Elder in the title contest and one in 1943 when East and Davis won semifinals but Davis refused to play in the Class A championship game because of a bracketing change.  Both were declared champions.

Finals record: 12-4-1 (.765).  Last championship: 1996.  Playoff record: 55-27-2 (.667), 43rd postseason appearance.

Championship game history:
1919, defeated Payson 79-0
1920, defeated Logan 14-6
1921, defeated Logan 30-0
1922, defeated Box Elder 38-0
1923, defeated Granite 6-0
1926, tied Box Elder 7-7 (co-champions)
1952, defeated Weber 27-6 (Class A)
1953, defeated Ogden 13-0 (A)
1955, defeated Murray 27-0 (A)
1956, defeated Logan 34-6 (A)
1964, defeated Bountiful 14-6 (A)
1973, lost to West 36-22 (4A)
1974, defeated West 14-7 (4A)
1995, lost to Box Elder 51-28 (4A)
1996, defeated Timpview 37-0 (4A)
2011, lost to Logan 18-11 (4A)
2013, lost to Timpview 33-28 (4A)

Coach: Brandon Matich is 53-22 (.707) in his fifth year, since 2010, at East.  He’s 92-40 (.697) overall including 39-18 in five seasons at Park City from 2005-09.

Playoff record at East: 13-5 (.722), fifth appearance.  He’s 17-9 (.654) overall in 10 appearances including 4-4 at Park City.

Championship game record: 0-2, at East.

Timpview Quick Facts

Opened in 1977; 39th season.

Finals record: 11-1 (.917).  Last championship: 2014.  Playoff record: 69-23 (.750), 35th postseason appearance.  (Timpview has played 94 postseason games, including two vacated wins in 2011.)

Championship game history:
1986, defeated Bear River 14-8 in overtime (Class 3A)
1991, defeated Skyline 35-34 in double-overtime (4A)
1996, lost to East 37-0 (4A)
1997, defeated Olympus 19-16 (4A)
2004, defeated Lone Peak 42-0 (4A)
2006, defeated Highland 21-12 (4A)
2007, defeated Pine View 50-7 (4A)
2008, defeated Cottonwood 34-28 (4A)
2009, defeated Springville 35-6 (4A)
2012, defeated Mountain Crest 38-31 in double-overtime (4A)
2013, defeated East 33-28 (4A)
2014, defeated Roy 28-7 (4A)

Coach: Cary Whittingham is 47-7 (.870) in his fourth season and he’s 15-0 in postseason action.

Extra Point 1: East is averaging 53.7 points-per-game in the playoffs this year and winning by 34.7 ppg.  Timpview is averaging 48.3 ppg in the tourney, but winning by “only” 23.3 ppg.  Both teams have scored at least six TDs in each of their three tournament games.  East’s 53.7 average is currently the third highest all time, although Timpview will have something to say about the Leopards’ final numbers this season.

Extra Point 2: Timpview is the second winningest playoff record by percentage (.750) and East is fourth (.667).  By comparison, Juan Diego ranks first (.769) and Skyline third (.746).

Extra Point 3: Over the season, Timpview and East rank first and second in victory margin in 4A: the Thunderbirds win by 20.2 points on average and the Leopards by 18.4 ppg.

Extra Point 4: Since East shoved Timpview out of the tournament in the 2011 semifinals, the Thunderbirds have retaliated by eliminating East in the 2012 semis, taking State over the Leopards in 2013 and bumping East in a 2014 first-round game.

Extra Point 5: East plays in its 18th championship game.  Only Millard (21), Skyline (20) and Beaver (19) have appeared in more.

Extra Point 6: East celebrates a double-digit win season for the 10th time.

Extra Point 7: Timpview has 11 championship game victories, tied for the fifth most in state history.  A 12th ties the T-Birds in fourth place with Jordan.

Extra Point 8: Cary Whittingham is already the only coach to capture championships his first three seasons.  He’s looking to become the 20th coach, regardless of longevity, to win at least four titles.

Extra Point 9: The 15 playoff-game winning streak by both Timpview and coach Whittingham is the third longest in state history.  (Skyline, under Roger DuPaix, won 23 straight from 1995-2000 while Timpview, directed by Louis Wong, took 17 in a row from 2006-2010).

Extra Point 10: Timpview has scored in 127 consecutive games stretching back to 2006.  That’s the fourth longest active scoring streak and seventh longest in state history.

Extra Point 11: Timpview enjoys a double-digit win season for the 16th time and 12th time in 16 years. The T-birds have won better than 83% of their games over that time with a 167-34 record – and that includes 16 forfeits.

Extra Point 12: Timpview has the third-most playoff victories (69), trailing only Skyline (88) and Millard (79).

Extra Point 13: This season marks the fifth straight year that Timpview has won at least three playoff games.  It’s the second time the Thunderbirds have accomplished that feat (also 2006-09). But that’s second place to Skyline, which won at least three playoff games nine straight years, from 1995-2003.

3AA Championship – Dixie (9-2) vs. Logan (10-2)

Series history: They’ve met just twice, both times in the Class 3A playoffs.  Logan shut out Dixie 21-0 in a 1988 semifinal at the U. and eliminated the Flyers 38-12 in a 2005 first-round contest at Logan.

Series record: Logan leads 2-0.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting between Dixie’s Andy Stokes and Logan’s Mike Favero.

Current winning streaks: Dixie, 4; Logan, 9 (fifth longest active streak).

Dixie Quick Facts

Dixie played 11-man football from 1935 through 1938, changed to the six-man game from 1939 through 1948 and returned to the 11-man variety in 1949.  The 2015 season is Dixie’s 71st of 11-man football.

Finals record: 8-2 (.800).  Last championship: 2014.  Playoff record: 59-33 (.641), 42nd postseason appearance.

Championship game history:
1957, defeated Millard 26-13 (Class B)
1967, defeated Wasatch 26-7 (B)
1972, defeated Morgan 58-30 (2A)
1973, defeated Grantsville 32-0 (2A)
1974, defeated Wasatch 22-13 (2A)
1976, lost to Davis 21-14 (3A)
1996, lost to Snow Canyon 21-14 (3A)
1998, defeated Cedar 35-28 (3A)
2012, defeated Spanish Fork 49-21 (3A)
2014, defeated Hurricane 27-19 (3AA)

Coach: Andy Stokes is 9-2 (.818) in his first season.

Stokes is 2-0 in postseason action.

First championship game.

Logan Quick Facts

Began its football program in 1919, 97th season.

Finals record: 7-8 (.467).  Last championship: 2011.  Playoff record: 52-41 (.559), 49th postseason appearance.

Championship game history:
1920, lost to East 27-0
1921, lost to East 30-0
1931, lost to Jordan 18-0
1932, lost to Granite 13-0
1947, lost to Jordan 21-6 (Class A)
1956, lost to East 34-6 (A)
1968, lost to Ogden 40-13 (A)
1978, defeated Ben Lomond 35-7 (3A)
1988, defeated Pleasant Grove 44-12 (3A)
1989, defeated Woods Cross 28-14 (3A)
2000, defeated Highland 14-0 (4A)
2003, lost to Bountiful 21-13 (4A)
2005, defeated Pine View 56-21 (3A)
2007, defeated Judge Memorial 28-12 (3A)
2011, defeated East 18-11 (4A)

Coach: Mike Favero is 148-60 (.712) in his 17th season, since 1999.

Playoff record: 26-11 (.742), 16th appearance (missed only in 2009).

Finals record: 4-1.

Extra Point 1: Dixie leads the Class 3AA ranks in scoring offense (38.1) and victory margin (17.7 ppg).  Logan is second in both categories, averaging 34.9 ppg and winning by 14.0 ppg.

Extra Point 2: Dixie’s two losses were to 4A semifinalist Springville in the opener and to region foe Snow Canyon in a surprising upset. Logan lost only to a pair of 5A teams, Sky View and Mountain Crest.

Extra Point 3: A Dixie victory rewards the Flyers with their 10th double-digit win campaign in 71 seasons.  Meanwhile, Logan has garnered at least 10 victories also for the 10th time, but in 97 seasons.

Extra Point 4: Dixie seeks back-to-back titles for the first time since the Flyers captured three in row from 1972-74.

Extra Point 5: Dixie has the seventh best all-time winning percentage (.641) in the playoffs, and seventh most tournament victories with a 59-33 record.

Extra Point 6: A Logan win gives Mike Favero his fifth state title.  Only seven coaches have won more.  In Utah prep history, other coaches that have won five championships include Walter Brooks (Dixie), Dean Fowles (Delta), Jerre Holmes (North Summit and Rich), Dave Peck (Bingham) and Ken Schmidt (Skyline).

Dixie’s Comeback

A fumble last week, not by a player, but by Felt’s Facts resulted in overlooking Dixie’s state-record-tying 28-point comeback in 2014.  The Flyers faced a 42-14 deficit in the third quarter against Stansbury in the 3AA quarterfinal.  Dixie rallied to win 49-42, tying Highland’s 28-point comeback, also in a state game, against Bonneville in 1995.

Juan Diego’s Class 3A Crown

The Soaring Eagle and coach John Colosimo’s sixth state title moved him into a fourth-place tie with three others for the most championships won.  Colosimo joins some impressive company: Earl Ferguson (Box Elder), Arlyn Hafen (Kanab) and Taft Watts (Millard).  Roger DuPaix (Skyline) and Al Marshall (Beaver) earned eight state trophies and Dunn “Snyde” Taylor (Jordan) grabbed seven.

Beaver’s Class 2A Dominance

Brennon Hutchings picked off three passes in the Beavers’ 33-0 shellacking of South Summit, tying a state record for most interceptions in a championship game.  He tied Kanab’s Nolan Reidhead effort against, ironically, Beaver in 1986.

As Beaver’s quarterback, Matthew Roberts threw for 260 yards, the second most in a Class 2A championship game and 21st most in all classifications.

Playing defensive back, Roberts picked off his 12th career interception. That ties him with 11 others for the 20th most in Utah prep history.

As a team, the Beavers racked up 419 yards of total offense, also the second most in a Class 2A title contest.

Diamond Ranch’s Class 1A Championship

The Diamondbacks, in their fifth season, became one of the youngest teams to win a state title.  Three schools, Highland (1959), Juan Diego (2002) and Snow Canyon (1996) captured state crowns their third year.  Diamond Ranch joins Mountain Crest (1987) as the next youngest.

Diamond Ranch also became the 106th team to celebrate a title with an unblemished record.

Current Winning Streaks

Beaver snapped South Summit’s school-record 21-game win streak, leaving Lone Peak with the longest active streak at 13 games.

Beaver and Diamond Ranch share the next longest current streak (11), followed by Timpview (10), then Juan Diego and Logan (9 each) in a tie for fifth.  They’re followed by East (8), Dixie (4) and Herriman (3).  Seven schools tie in tenth place with one-game winning “streaks.”  Ben Lomond, Mountain View, Northridge, Parowan, Riverton, Westlake and Whitehorse each won its final regular season game but failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Scoring Offense, Margin and Defense Champs

For the third time in its history and third time in four years, Jordan is this year’s scoring champ across all classifications.  The prolific Beetdiggers averaged 47.2 points-per-game and Lone Peak, the next closest team still playing, would need to score 162 points against Herriman to reach that average.

Canyon View (40.4 ppg.) was the only other team to average more than 40 points a game this season.

Diamond Ranch leads the state in margin of victory – 31.5 ppg – and becomes the scoring margin champion unless Lone Peak defeats Herriman by at least 45 points and takes over the top spot in that category.

Duchesne gave up the fewest points per game, 6.5, in 2015, the third time that the Eagles have led the state in defense and first time since 2006.

A Playoff from the Past: The First Championship-game Tie

In 1924, East, Granite, Jordan, LDS High, West and Westminster College competed in the Salt Lake Region.  Because of an eligibility squabble, East and West refused to play LDS.  At midseason, it became apparent LDS could win the region.  Both East and West then wanted to arrange games with LDS.

LDS complained to the UHSAA that East and West were dictating to the league. The UHSAA agreed, ruling that since schedules were decided before the season started, more games couldn’t be added, and East and West were ineligible for the region title. Upset, both formed their own league along with Ogden for the basketball season. By the 1925 football season, however, feelings were apparently soothed as all three were back in the UHSAA fold.

In the 1924 title contest, Carbon faced LDS; both were undefeated. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that a special train from Price brought 200 Carbon “rooters” including 70 students and the school band. The mines in nearby Sunnyside closed on game day, Saturday, Nov. 22 and about 750 miners stopped work for a day to honor Carbon High. In Salt Lake, West sponsored an assembly in Carbon’s honor.  (Of course, West was still upset at LDS, so ulterior motives were at least possible.)

The championship game ended in a 0-0 tie. No tie-breaker system existed. With no game winner, UHSAA officials weren’t sure what to do with the game ball, which was supposed to go to the championship team. Finally, someone came up with a solution. Officials cut the game ball down the middle and awarded half to each school.

That wasn’t the end of the story. Prior to the state final, 6-0 West stated it wanted to challenge the winner. But neither Carbon nor LDS would play West, since there wasn’t a winner. The undefeated Panthers claimed to be the state champs and awarded trophies to the players.

West coach Roy McIntyre explained to the Salt Lake Tribune, “There wasn’t any doubt as to which was the best team. Carbon and LDS wouldn’t accept our challenge for a game because they were afraid of defeat.”

Whether or not West was the best team, the UHSAA recognizes just Carbon and LDS as co-state champs for 1924.

Felt’s Facts welcomes questions – email [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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


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