With a little help from our friend George Felt his Felt's Facts are useful nuggets for any football fan we offer this week's Friday Night High School Football Viewing Guide. A battle of No. 1 teams highlights this week:
Jordan (2-0) at East (2-0)
This game was thrown together last week, and football fans should be licking their chops: It features the Tribune's No. 1-ranked 5A team, the Beetdiggers, against the No. 1-ranked 4A East squad. Could you ask for a better preseason contest? Some folks think these are the two best teams in the state with good reason.
Jordan attacks with quarterback Austin Kafentzis, who was a sensation as a freshman and now is in the hunt for National Player of the Year, according to Maxpreps.com. Kafentzis is an offensive machine, already boasting more than 800 total yards and 10 touchdowns. The Beetdiggers' defense has also been strong, allowing only 26 points combined in the first two contests.
But East's defense might be even better: The Leopards have only allowed nine points so far, and the defensive line is arguably most aggressive in the state, anchored by Korey Rush and Sesi Salt. The high-powered triple option attack led by 6-foot-1 back Ula Tolutau has looked fierce, and quarterback Isaac Valles accounted for five touchdowns last week.
Logan (1-1) at Bountiful (2-0)
A rematch from last year's state semifinal, you can bet the Braves will be seeking revenge after then-quarterback D.J. Nelson put up a state-record 606 yards as the Grizzlies rolled.
Bountiful has looked like a power from the outset this season, thriving on the running game. Fullback Jakob Hunt mauled Mountain View for four touchdowns last week. The front seven has looked tremedous, with Junior Hamilton leading the defensive line and Rylee Gautavai wreaking terror at linebacker.
After a season-opening loss to Northridge, the Grizzlies shook up the football landscape by holding a vaunted offense led by Alabama-committed quarterback Cooper Bateman scoreless despite missing several starters to injury. The pass defense has a nice mix of rushers and ball-hawking corners. The centerpiece of Logan's attack should be Luke Falk, who scorched the Colts for 340 yards last week.
Mountain Crest (1-1) at Woods Cross (2-0)
Two of 4A's most exciting bounce-back teams face off in Week 3, and it looks as though it should be a shootout. The Wildcats have scored 77 points in their first two games, and the Mustangs have scored 75. Who is the true contender?
Mountain Crest certainly has tradition on its side, establishing itself as one of the most powerful offensive schools in the last decade. Quarterback Jamison Webb and running back Eddy Hall have been a dynamic duo, even though they suffered some turnovers in last week's 23-21 loss to Lone Peak. The question is defense: The Mustangs have been giving up some points, and need to tighten up.
They'll be challenged by Woods Cross, which has shown a balanced offense in its first two games. Skyler Farnes can air it out at quarterback, and Sean Barton can run it or catch it, and once he gets the ball, he's hard to stop. The Stanford-committed Barton is also a star on defense, where he starts at safety. But he's hardly the only defensive threat: Five players already have at least one sack, including Utah commit Filipo Mokofisi with a pair.
Timpview (1-1) at Lone Peak (1-1)
This battle of two powerhouse programs should be enthralling as each program continues to unravel its identity this year.
Lone Peak, the defending 5A champ, is definitely still in that process. The Knights have used two quarterbacks so far Braden Miles and Baron Gajkowski and it's still trying to find itself after squeaking out a 23-21 win against Mountain Crest last week. Even the defense, touted in preseason as the team's strength has struggled at times. Expect big games out of Josh Buck, Levi Fiso and Spencer Reinstein as the Knights play at home for the first time this season.
But the Thunderbirds will be hard to subdue, especially Jake Lloyd, who is making his case as Utah's best pocket passer. He threw four touchdowns in a 333-yard performance last week, and he has great targets in Dax Raymond and Braydon Galland. Defensively, Timpview will be eager to repeat its nine-sack performance it had against Westlake, but the team also has to improve on its 22 penalties from last week, as well.
Higland (2-0) at Herriman (1-1)
Some might dub this a 4A title game preview. It's possible, given the caliber of talent each team has.
With the Rams, a lot rests on Adam Webber's shoulders. He's a machine at linebacker, but the junior also is the team's leading rusher and a receiving option. Quarterback Austin Peterson appears to be warming into the quarterback role in his first year as a starter. This defense should be the centerpiece of the team, with solid linemen Brian Mone and Luti Nonu.
Herriman faltered in overtime last Saturday, but still has a solid foundation. Defensively, the team is quick and can stuff the run, but showed a weakness for giving up some big plays against Riverton. On offense, the pass and run have balanced more, but running back Francis Bernard still makes this unit go. The Mustangs will have to limit turnovers this week, because Highland might not give them a chance to go to overtime if they get behind.
• The silverware series continues this week as Spanish Fork hosts American Fork, and the Dons are looking fierce as one of the top-scoring teams in 3A.
• The only team that hasn't given up a point so far? Box Elder. So Bear River will be looking to break past the Bees' defense in the Golden Spike Game, the 92nd game between those schools.
• Roy, at 2-0, has scored more than 40 points in back-to-back games to open the season for the first time this year. Now they'll try to break an 11-game losing streak to Fremont.
• Summit Academy could be the first school to shut out the first three opponents in its inaugural season if it can keep Altamont scoreless.
Keep reading and keep watching. We'll preview Bingham's match-up with Valor Christian tomorrow.
Top five games this week
All contests are Friday Night at 7 p.m.
• Jordan at East
• Logan at Bountiful
• Mountain Crest at Woods Cross
• Timpview at Lone Peak
• Highland at Herriman