Prep football playoff guide Class 4A first round
It's that time, folks, when the air is colder, but the tension is white hot. It's the high school football postseason, and it's time to break down the brackets.
A lot of coaches will tell you that the 4A bracket is lopsided and it's true. It's somewhat unbelievable that only one of these teams can come out of the same half of the bracket: East, Herriman, Timpview, Woods Cross and Logan. But that's the kind of chaos the forfeits have created, and traditional powers such as Mountain Crest and Bountiful could be in the best position to take advantage.
As always, we have to thank football fanatic George Felt, whose depth of high school football knowledge in this state makes everyone a little bit more informed. Some nuggets from his weekly release, Felt's Facts, are included in this guide.
Best match-up: East at Herriman
There's no contest. Two No. 1 seeds in a first-round game? Come on. The Mustangs were not too happy about playing this game first, but don't doubt they'll be ready. Herriman has a few incredible stars in Tueni Lupeamanu, Francis Bernard and Brandon Farmer, and a defense that hasn't allowed more than nine points in its last four games. The Mustangs hope to take advantage of an East team playing on the road, coming off a play-in game Tuesday and going without its coach. But the Leopards also are not to be trifled with, scoring more than 28 points in every game this year and piling up some crazy yards on the ground. The East defense might be the best in the state of any classification.
Upset alert? Box Elder at Maple Mountain
Assuming we can't call the previous game a possible "upset," let's go with this one. The Golden Eagles got a two seed thanks to Timpview's forfeits, but they have won every game this year except against Orem. Dual-threat quarterback K.J. Hall has been the difference-maker for Maple Mountain, which also features a ball-hawking, sack-making defense. But the Bees hail from a stronger region and have a defense that has tested the toughest opponents. Assuming Shad Watson can lead the offense to a few scores, an upset is perfectly within reach of Box Elder.
X-factor: Logan's pass defense against Timpview
Luke Falk is not much of a secret anymore: The senior is going to throw the ball a ton in what could be the highest scoring game of the weekend. But can the Grizzlies' defense contain opposing quarterback Jake Lloyd. That's an awfully tough prospect, considering the kid has 2,723 yards passing and a state-leading 38 scores. But Logan also is coming off a great win of its own against East, where turnovers helped seal the game. Going against the T-birds obviously will be a different battle than against the Leopards' option attack, but Jacoby Wildman and Sam Bennion will try to bring the heat up front, while Hunter Ballam will look to add to his seven picks this season.
The best of the rest
Highland at Olympus • The Rams always seem to be on the cusp of a break-out performance now would be a good time to have one. Highland has some elite defensive players such as Brian Mone and Adam Webber, but they really need to step up against a Titans team that is coming off validating wins against Skyline and Woods Cross.
Sky View at Orem • The Bobcats have some standout athletes such as Ethan Dursteler, who has 14 sacks, or Daniel Lemon, who has nearly 900 yards receiving. But they'll need a team effort against the likes of Orem, which can ring up points in a hurry with an explosive passing attack.
Timpanogos at Mountain Crest • Although the Timberwolves finally have had a season they can hang their hats on, the Mustangs are a tough draw. With seven straight wins, Mountain Crest has proven to be tough through the air and on the ground with a combo of quarterback Jamison Webb and running back Eddy Hall.
Skyline at Bountiful • The Eagles lead the state in postseason victories, and they have advanced 18 times in the last 20 first rounds. But their inconsistent offense could face tough sledding against Bountiful, which will attack with running back Jakob Hunt.
Westlake at Woods Cross • The Thunder grabbed solid footing in 4A region play but didn't have much success outside region action. So Westlake could have some trouble getting things going against the Wildcats' defense, which features a few future Division I players.
Class 4A playoff schedule
Sky View at Orem, 3 p.m.
Timpview at Logan, 3 p.m.
Westlake at Woods Cross, 3:30 p.m.
Timpanogos at Mountain Crest, 4 p.m.
Box Elder at Maple Mountain, 5 p.m.
Highland at Olympus, 5 p.m.
Skyline at Bountiful, 5 p.m.
East at Herriman, 5 p.m.