Prep football: Playoff primer
Best matchups of Round 1
Pleasant Grove at Davis • The Vikings, who finished the regular season in a clustered Region 4, drew the short end of the stick. They tied for first in the region but fell to the No. 4 seed, despite beating Herriman the No. 1 seed out of Region 4 42-41 last week. The high-octane Vikings draw 9-0 Davis in the first round. The Darts have been dominant defensively, allowing 89 points all season. But the Vikings have weapons aplenty. QB Jeremiah Evans has thrown for 2,166 yards and wideout Spencer Romney is nightmare on the outside. Can the Darts control the pace of the game the way they have all season with Parker Rose and Mason White chipping away?
Lone Peak at Syracuse • Take out its 29-6 non-region loss to Timpview on Oct. 9, and Lone Peak finished the season on a four-game region win streak. If the Knights want to upset the Titans, they'll need a monster game from QB Baron Gajkowski. The Utah State commit has accounted for 26 touchdowns and nearly has combined to rush and throw for 3,000 yards. But the Titan defense is stingy. The Syracuse defense has allowed only one team to score more than 14 points this season. Offensively, QB Kole Tracy found a rhythm as the season progressed and has the Titan offense clicking.
Highland at Sky View • Here is your matchup of conflicting styles. The Rams come out of Region 6 as the No. 3 seed and do what they've always done best: Run the ball and stop the run and get to the quarterback. Highland will need to do the latter Friday afternoon in Smithfield. The Rams take on the throw-heavy Bobcats and QB Braxton Godderidge, who has thrown for 2,474 yards and 27 touchdowns in 10 games. Highland must rely on its defensive front of Bryan Mone, Pita Tonga and Cody Hilborn along with linebackers such as Adam Webber to get to Godderidge as quickly as possible. A player to keep an eye on in matching up against the Bobcats is Ram defensive back Ben Bergeson, one of the best cover corners in the state, presumably facing off against Sky View wideout Logan Miller.
Grantsville at Juab • The Cowboys meander back to Nephi, the same place they won 14-0 on Sept. 13 against the Wasps in regular-season play. Grantsville's defense is one of the best in the classification, but Juab has gone 5-1 since that loss to the Cowboys. The Wasp offense, headlined by QB Nick Robins, has been ablaze as of late, averaging nearly 40 points per game. Robins has thrown for 27 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. If Robins and the Wasps can open up things, expect Grantsville to respond with its patented rushing attack of Ky Fisher, Nephi Meono and Wyatt Smith.
Davis Marriott, sr., Layton, RB • The Lancers go as Marriott takes them, and if they want a chance to upset No. 1 seed Herriman on the road, Marriott will have to continue his stellar regular season. The senior rushed for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns and will need to help keep the Mustang offense off the field Friday.
Bountiful quarterbacks • Trevor Lloyd and Jordan Hayes share reps for the Braves, and they'll need to make the most of their time on the field against Logan because the Grizzlies put up points, and a lot of them. The key for Lloyd and Hayes will be to help Bountiful sustain drives and keep Chase Nelson watching on the sidelines.
Shad Watson, sr., Box Elder, QB • The Bees have a tough draw in the first round, going on the road to take on 9-1 Woods Cross. And Box Elder will need a big game from Watson if it hopes to upset one of the top teams in 4A. Watson has rushed for 11 touchdowns and thrown for nine for the Bees this season. If Watson and Box Elder can chip away at the Wildcat defense with their rushing attack, things could be interesting in the fourth quarter.
Kamren Fowles, sr., Manti, RB • Small and shifty, Fowles is one of the most dynamic playmakers in 3A. He rushed for 1,151 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Templars in the regular season. Manti leans on Fowles to set up the passing game for QB Connor Aste. Emery has its hands full with Fowles on Friday night.
Where did they go?
While several school and communities around the state are eager to kickstart the 2013 playoffs, two notable powerhouses missed the dance this season. For the first time since 1974 ending a state record of consecutive postseason appearances at 38 the Delta Rabbits didn't qualify. Class 4A Skyline saw its consecutive postseason appearances go poof at 29. This will be the first year since 1984 the Eagles aren't in the playoffs.
Beware of T.J.
The Cottonwood Colts drew the Brighton Bengals in the first round of the 5A playoffs. Bengal QB Robbie Hutchins better be wary of No. 93. Cottonwood junior defensive end T.J. Fehoko broke the state record for sacks this season with 32 sacks in 10 games. The previous record of 27, held by Duane Brown of San Juan, was set in 1991. Fehoko could add to his record tally Friday night.
The Kafentzis Climb
He just continues to move up the charts. Noted high school football czar George Felt says Jordan QB Austin Kafentzis, responsible for 135 career touchdowns, is close to a number of state records. Kafentzis likely will top the career total yardage record against Hunter on Friday night. He enters the first-round playoff matchup with 12,810 career yards, 108 yards shy of the all-time mark owned by Mountain Crest's Alex Kuresa (12,917). Kafentzis is second all time in career rushing touchdowns with 65 the record is 70 and third in passing yards, completions and attempts.
Logan QB Chase Nelson became the 13th high school football player to account for 4,000 yards in a season. And that came in just 10 games. Nelson joins the list and now looks up at older brothers Riley and DJ, who are No. 1 and 2 respectively on the list. Riley finished with 5,815 yards in 2005, while DJ finished with 5,096 in 2011.
Streaks still soaring
While both Delta and Skyline saw their impressive postseason streaks snapped, there are other schools around the state that have kept theirs going, according to Felt. San Juan makes its 37th consecutive postseason appearance. Highland makes its 31st straight postseason, while Rich has made it 29 straight seasons. Bingham's streak is at 25, while Beaver and Timpview and sit at 24. Hunter's streak reaches 23 this season, while Emery, Millard and Morgan all sit at 19.
Friday's first round
4 p.m. • Jordan at Hunter
4 p.m. • Layton at Herriman
4 p.m. • Lone Peak at Syracuse
5 p.m. • Cottonwood at Brighton
5 p.m. • Northridge at Riverton
5 p.m. • Pleasant Grove at Davis
5 p.m. • West at Bingham
6 p.m. • Alta at Taylorsville
Friday's first round
3 p.m. • Box Elder at Woods Cross
3 p.m. • Highland at Sky View
3:30 p.m. • Roy at East
4 p.m. • Olympus at Springville
4 p.m. • Salem Hills at Orem
5 p.m. • Bountiful at Logan
5 p.m. • Timpanogos at Timpview
6 p.m. • Spanish Fork at Corner Canyon
Friday's first round
5 p.m. • Cedar City at Park City
5 p.m. • Hurricane at Bear River
7 p.m. • Tooele at Snow Canyon
7 p.m. • Uintah at Desert Hills
4 p.m. • Richfield at Morgan
5 p.m. • North Sanpete at Judge
6 p.m. • Emery at Manti
6 p.m. • Grantsville at Juab
Class 2A quarterfinals
2 p.m. • San Juan at South Summit
6 p.m. • Parowan at Beaver
6 p.m. • South Sevier at Grand County
2 p.m. • Gunnison Valley at North Summit
2 p.m. • Monument Valley at Duchesne
3 p.m. • Monticello at Rich
6 p.m. • Milford at Kanab
11 a.m. • Altamont at Diamond Ranch