Friday Night High School Football Guide — Week 4
Published: September 7, 2012 02:47PM
Updated: September 8, 2012 04:44PM
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Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune Riverton player Preston Crapo celebrates defeating Herriman in overtime during the Black & Blue Classic at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 25, 2012.

Due to the nationally televised game on ESPNU tonight between Skyline (Wash.) and Cottonwood, I must apologize for the condensed and somewhat later than normal Friday Night High School Football Guide. We’ll return to the normal format and publish on Thursday night next week.

As always, we must give some kudos to George Felt for the statistical nuggets in his Felt’s Facts, some of which are used here. On to football:

Skyline (Wash.) (1-0) vs. Cottonwood (0-2)

See our special game preview.

Syracuse (3-0) vs. Box Elder (3-0)

This game is being played at Weber State at 5 p.m. — an appropriate stage for a battle of two undefeated teams. The Syracuse defense has shut out Skyline and Riverton and boasts a ravenous front seven, but Box Elder is the only team with the distinction of not having allowed a single point.

The Titans this year also have a pretty potent attack, led by quarterback Brock Anderson. The senior has thrown seven touchdowns and zero interceptions, and he has three scores on the ground. Mason Woodward is the leading rusher on the team, and can break off huge runs at any time. But the offense has truly benefitted from great field position provided by its stalwart defense. They are near impossible to run on — Skyline and Riverton found that out — and Jace Purser and Cardon Malon have already piled up a few sacks.

Shad Watson is at the helm for Box Elder, and he’ll be looking downfield for McKay Parrish and Dallin Turner. Kyler Allen has more than 300 yards rushing this year already, piling up on Bear River last week. Even though the Bees’ schedule has been significantly weaker than Syracuse’s, it can’t be ignored that no one has yet scored on them. Brecklin Gunter takes after his older brother Britton, and has been an impact player on defense already with a sack and an interception.

Riverton (2-1) at Alta (3-0)

So far, the Hawks have the look of a title contender in Class 5A, but after dropping out in the first round of playoffs in the past two seasons, Alta must prove it’s in it for the long haul. Riverton is still trying to prove it belongs in the conversation after getting blanked by Syracuse last week.

Alta’s passing attack should make any opponent cringe. Chipper Lucero has proven competent and capable in the opening weeks of the season — although he could cut down on interceptions — and he has some great targets. Ammon Barker, Harrison Handley and Mack Richards are all big, fast and can take it to the house. The Hawks run the ball well enough to take pressure off its passing game, and the offensive line is massive. The question mark originally was defense, where Alta replaced all of its starters, but Brock Davies has emerged as an early leader on the defensive line. As a unit, the Hawks have proven pretty tough.

Riverton just had a reality check loss only a week after a thrilling win against Herriman, and the Silverwolves will have to refine what was ailing its offense last week. That offense is predicated almost completely on a run-by-committee approach, with Jake Simonich emerging as the early big-play threat. There isn’t much of a passing game to speak of, but they’ll air it out occasionally to try to catch Alta off-guard. Much will be on the shoulders of the defense, which is fairly talented this year. Tevita Laomanu and Brady Holt can make things difficult up front, and tackling machine Albert Tai is patrolling at linebacker.

Skyline (1-2) at Juan Diego (3-0)

Last year, this game marked a turning point for Skyline, and the Eagles hope they can make that magic again after going through a rough start. Meanwhile, the Soaring Eagle is looking to continue a run against higher classification opponents after beating two already.

As recently as Week 2, the Eagles appeared to be headed for a disatrous season, but Skyline is also a notoriously slow starter. It cleaned up last week in a 20-10 win against Cedar, but has a bit still to do. A lot depends on the support quarterback Tyler Snyder gets: He’s a talented dual threat, but so far has been one of few weapons in the offense, the other being BYU-committed wideout Garrett England. Skyline had trouble stopping the rushing attack of Hurricane and Syracuse, but the defense locked down better last week. Machi Ubani is a load in the middle, and Jake Wittwer and Roman Salehi have already picked up multiple sacks.

Juan Diego looks up to its usual standard, albeit that two of its wins have come by narrow margins. But Skyline still might be the toughest team the Soaring Eagle has faced yet this season. It will attack the Eagles with a hard-to-read running game. Running back Jessie Springer leads in yardage, but fellow back Chase Williams and quarterback Nick Markosian can run it just as well. Markosian airs it out rarely, but he has a knack for finding Dakota Cox in the end zone. This defense is still coming together, but has undeniable talent. It’s tough to get past Cox and Kalei Kauhaahaa in the linebacking corps.

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon