Six Utah high schools are set to determine which three will come away with state football championships in classes 4A, 5A and 6A on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Last week, all six advanced in various ways, from defeating a previously undefeated team, to securing a wire-to-wire victory in the first half, to eking out a victory in overtime.
No matter how each school did it, all proved they deserve to be in the championship game. Below is a breakdown of each matchup.
Class 4A: Dixie vs. Orem, 11 a.m.
Both Dixie and Orem made swift work of their opponents in the semifinal round of the 4A tournament. The Flyers forced Park City out of their airspace with a 20-0 shutout Nov. 8, while the Tigers all but mauled Pine View into submission in a 62-20 win last Friday.
Orem’s offensive attack is led by senior quarterback Cooper Legas, who has completed 213 of 309 passes for more than 4,000 yards. Legas also has an even 1,000 rushing yards on 86 carries.
In the win over the Pine View, Legas went for 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns, as well as 244 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Dixie also sends out a dynamic quarterback. Junior Reggie Graff has tallied more than 2,300 passing yards on 156-of-274 completions. His 111 carries have netted him 652 rushing yards.
But Graff is not the top rusher on the Flyers. Senior Westin Banuelos has 753 yards on 135 carries this year.
Senior Puka Nacua is Legas’ top receiving target. He has more than 2,100 receiving yards on only 94 catches.
Orem’s overall record now stands 11-2 heading into the game against Dixie, which boasts an 11-1 overall record.
Class 5A Skyridge vs. Corner Canyon, 6:30 p.m.
In one corner, an undefeated Corner Canyon Chargers team. In another, a Falcons squad who has their star running back Ma’a Notoa in the fold after he missed last season’s championship game due to injury.
Skyridge had no trouble reaching the final game, beating Roy 42-15. It scored 35 of those points in the first half alone.
But Corner Canyon faced another undefeated team last week in Olympus. The Chargers had to come from behind twice and squeaked by in the final two minutes with a go-ahead touchdown and an interception to seal the deal.
For the Chargers, junior quarterback Cole Hagen is the crux of their offense. He has thrown for nearly 3,200 yards and rushed for 640 so far this season, including the playoffs.
But it’s Austin Bell who makes Corner Canyon’s run game work. Only a sophomore, Bell has rushed for 802 yards. He can also catch quite well and has tallied 377 yards on 22 receptions.
Senior receiver John Mitchell adds to the Chargers offensive attack. He comes in to Friday’s game with more than 1,150 receiving yards, and came away with 130 of those yards in the semifinal game against Olympus.
For Skyridge, most of its scoring comes from run plays. Notoa has more than 1,500 rushing yards, and senior quarterback Jayden Clemons has tallied 889 himself.
The Falcons enter Friday’s game with a 12-1 overall record, while Corner Canyon is 11-0.
Class 6A: American Fork vs. Lone Peak, 2:30 p.m.
This is round 2.
The Cavemen and Knights have some history. About two months ago, American Fork beat up Lone Peak on the field in a 51-21 game. But on paper, it would appear that the Knights are coming into Friday’s championship match with more momentum.
Lone Peak beat Pleasant Grove 29-0, while American Fork needed overtime to knock off rival Bingham, a football powerhouse. Knights senior defensive end Micheal Daley said last week that Lone Peak is looking for revenge.
“They spanked us the first time, but we’re out for blood, I’ll tell you that right now,” Daley said. “We’re going to game plan well for them. Let’s get it going.”
In order for Lone Peak to pull out an upset, senior quarterback Braden Siri will need to be healthy. Head coach Mike Mower said Siri separated his throwing shoulder on the first series against Pleasant Grove. So far this season, Siri has more than 1,100 passing yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Cavemen are anchored by senior quarterback Boone Abbott. He has amassed nearly 4,000 passing yards and thrown 44 of the 47 passing touchdowns this season, most of which have gone to junior Devin Downing and senior Chase Roberts. The two receivers have 30 touchdowns between them.
The Cavemen head into Friday with an 11-2 overall record, while the Knights are 9-3.