Friday Night High School Football Guide Week 2
This week, we're introducing a new feature called Friday Night High School Football Guide. Every week, we'll feature the top Utah high school football games that week and some of the storylines to follow.
In Week Two, here's what to look for:
East at West • The classic city rivalry will be set off again for the 111th time - good for the 22nd most-played rivalry in the country, according to historian George Felt. East has won this matchup 10 times in a row against the Panthers, and it will be tough to beat again. Ula Tolutau, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound mauler proved to be quite a load in the season opener against Pine View, and the Leopards' defensive line collapses pockets as well as any unit in the state. Against Highland, quarterback Alex Espinoza was a do-it-all player for West, but it wasn't enough in a 21-10 loss. The Panthers need to give their senior more support, and they should be looking to open up the passing game.
Manti at Juan Diego • After a slugfest at Salem Hills, the Soaring Eagle is playing its first home game of the year on what should be an emotional evening. The school is still mourning the death of rising junior Adam Colosimo, and has put his No. 2 on a hill to the south of the field. The game should be challanging also because of the opponent: Defending 2A champion Manti. The Templars have a ground game that plowed past Delta in a 28-0 rout. Juan Diego has two Division I committed linebackers - Dakota Cox and Kalei Kauha'aha'aa - who should have something to say about that running attack.
Syracuse at Skyline • Are the Titans for real? A big win against Desert Hills last week indicates they're not a pushover, but Syracuse can prove its toughness this week against one of Utah's traditional powers. Quarterback Brock Anderson is a true dual threat, racking up nearly 225 total yards in the 38-13 win, and the Titans' defense had a pair of sacks and interceptions. Skyline comes off a disappointing road performance at Hurricane where it only scored seven points. Although Tyler Snyder could be the real deal at quarterback, the Eagles have to figure out how to stop the run after the Tigers embarassed their defense. It's worth noting Skyline is typically a slow starter early in the football season.
Cottonwood at Logan • This is effectively a gut-check for both teams which still have high hopes for this season. On one hand, there's Cottonwood, which is playing its season opener and is trying to prove it is still a title contender after offseason drama. The offense is intact, and expect the trifecta of Cooper Bateman, Inoke Lotulelei and Gabe Hosea to put up major points. But the defense and depth is a concern - a few injuries could sink the Colts. And don't talk to Logan about injuries - the Grizzlies are without two defensive stalwarts with season-ending injuries. Quarterback Luke Falk was also banged up against Northridge, so Logan will have to prove it has solutions after being dealt a full deck of bad luck.
Lone Peak at Mountain Crest • You could put the "Upset Alert" tag on this one, but from the outset, this looks fairly even. Although Lone Peak won the 5A championship last year, it isn't the team it once was - it looked completely human against Bountiful in a 31-21 loss. Quarterback Braden Miles appears to have a grip on the starting job, but Lone Peak's offense will have to grow up quickly to keep pace with Mountain Crest. The Mustangs' Jamison Webb went wild last week, throwing five touchdowns against Mountain View, while backs Eddy Hall, Nick Taylor and Gaje Ferguson ate up yards with the run. The Bruins aren't necessarily a powerhouse, but it's hard to overlook a sterling Week One performance by a school that is one.
• Defending 3A champ Hurricane, on a 15-game winning streak dating back to last season, will test that against West Jordan in what should be a run-heavy game.
• Millard running back Jesse Rhodes stomped Parowan with five touchdowns last week, and hopes to have a repeat performance against Delta, which was steamrolled in Week One by another 2A elite.
• Brighton is seeking its second win against a Region 1 power in as many weeks, as Fremont hopes to rebound from a 53-14 stomping it took to Jordan.
• Spanish Fork and Springville go head-to-head for their 86th matchup in the rivalry - the Dons coming off a laugher shutout against Park City, and Springville smarting from a loss to Dixie.
We'll have a separate preview for the Black-and-Blue Classic on Saturday stay tuned.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon