Prep football playoff guide Class 5A first round
Playoffs. Playoffs? Playoffs.
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.
Class 5A is a balanced bracket, with some well-known contenders who are back in the mix. Jordan is likely the favorite at this point, but don't be surprised if Alta, Bingham, Lone Peak and Syracuse elbow their way into the mix.
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.
Without further ado:
Best match-up: Davis at Kearns
Kearns has history going against it, not having won a first-round playoff game since 1993. But the running attack powered by James Felila, who has 1,845 yards and 22 scores, should present a tough challenge to Davis, which has not won a first-round game since 2009. The Darts have been inconsistent but showed defensive toughness Tuesday against Layton. When these two match up, it could be a down-to-the-wire classic.
Upset alert? Granger at Northridge
The Knights started out strong but have faded a bit down the stretch. There's not much question that Northridge has had a tougher schedule than Granger, but the Lancers might be coming at them at the right time. Granger has some size that Northridge doesn't at the line of scrimmage. If the Knights' passing game can recover from a humbling outing against Mountain Crest, they're still the favorite, but Granger will try to run them down behind Tani Lahauli and James Elkins.
X-factor: Cottonwood's offense vs. Bingham
Which Colts team will show up? The one that was embarrassed against the Miners earlier this season in a 34-14 loss? Or the one that averaged nearly 30 points per game in its last five contests. Cottonwood has been thinned out by injuries, and Bingham's defense is among the state's best. But the personnel on the Colts, especially quarterback Cooper Bateman and wideout Inoke Lotulelei, should be able to make more of dent in the Miners' armor this time. Whether that means winning ... well, we'll see. Bingham has won eight straight playoff openers.
The best of the rest
Riverton at Alta • Only two teams have held the Hawks under 24 points this year: Bingham and Riverton. Why hello there, Silverwolves. But after dropping 51 points per game in the last three weeks, Alta's very good receiving corps looks primed to avoid the first-round upset the team suffered last year.
Viewmont at Syracuse • Any way you look at it, it's going to be an uphill battle for the Vikings. Viewmont only has won two games this season. Syracuse, on the other hand, is 9-0 entering this week. The Titans went to Rice-Eccles last year and look even better on both sides of the ball this season.
Hunter at Fremont • The Silver Wolves managed to sneak into these playoffs and gain a little momentum. Their playoff experience might help them against Hunter, but the Wolverines look good of late with five straight wins and Trevon Johnson taking a lot of carries in the power run game.
Brighton at Lone Peak • The defending champs don't look as dominant as last year and have been sorting out a few issues on offense. But one area they don't lack talent is defense: With guys like Josh Buck, Spencer Reinstein and a few other elite talents, the Knights looked prepped to handle a Bengals team that really has struggled at the end of the season.
Pleasant Grove at Jordan • The Vikings are a great-looking dark horse team, with an explosive passing attack and an experienced coach. It's almost a shame they're going against the Beetdiggers, who have been the top team wire-to-wire. Look for some high point totals, but don't expect Austin Kafentzis and the Jordan offense to get out of the title chase this early.
Class 5A schedule
Viewmont at Syracuse, 3 p.m.
Pleasant Grove at Jordan, 4 p.m.
Fremont at Hunter, 5 p.m.
Cottonwood at Bingham, 5 p.m.
Granger at Northridge, 6 p.m.
Riverton at Alta, 6 p.m.
Brighton at Lone Peak, 3 p.m.
Davis at Kearns, 4 p.m.