It’s been 23 years since Jeremy Hill was an offensive lineman and captain for the 1994 Orem Tigers Class 5A football state champions.

Hill now coaches the Tigers and he’s led them back to contending for a football crown.

Orem took a 28-12 victory over Sky View in the Class 4A semifinals Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium to earn a spot in the state title game.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my kids,” he said. “We had a very difficult offseason. We made a lot of coaching changes — I only have three coaches back from last season, including myself. But I knew the kids I had were loyal, that they were going to buy into what I said, what the other coaches said.”

Shortly after his postgame interview, Hill suddenly was jumped by Orem junior Puka Nacua with a celebratory hug.

Nacua continued his season-long role as the prime offensive threat at wide receiver.

But Orem (11-2) made use of several weapons in a key drive to start the second half with a 14-6 lead.

The Tigers marched 69 yards to open the third period. Cooper Legas found three different receivers on the drive to get within scoring range before hitting Nacua with a 4-yard pass for a score.

“Puka’s the man, that is what it is,” Hill said. “But I’ve got playmakers in the other spots, so we were trying to see what holes there were and put it in some other guys’ hands.”

Sky View (11-1) never quite could get back to a one-possession difference on the scoreboard in suffering its first loss of the season.

Bobcats quarterback Jackson Siddoway scored on a 6-yard run with 10:24 left in the game, but the extra point was blocked by Orem, so Sky View still was down 21-12.

“That was a good football team we played in Orem. We didn’t execute as well on offense, defense and the kicking game as we needed to tonight,” Sky View first-year coach Danilo Robinson said. “Overall it’s a great year for us and a good start for where we’re going.”

Legas administered the final blow.

The Tigers faced third-and-7 from the 9, and Legas barely escaped a sack 10 yards into the backfield and found his way into the end zone for a 28-12 lead.

“I was supposed to boot to the right, but we had already done it earlier, and I think they saw it coming,” Legas said. “I don’t know. I was trying to make a play, and it worked.

“We knew all year we were going to make it,” added Legas about the trip to the championship game. “It’s still kind of weird that we’re here now.”


• Orem gets 189 yards passing from quarterback Cooper Legas, including 55 to standout wide receiver Puka Nacua.

• Sky View suffers its first loss of the season despite 246 yards passing from Jackson Siddoway and 107 yards receiving from Mason Falslev.

• Orem will attempt to win its first state title since 1994 when it plays Mountain Crest next Friday.