By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography) & Kurt Johnson
We’re heading into the home stretch of the 2015 Utah high school football season. Injuries are starting to come into play as the games heat up and teams fight for positioning in the run-up to the postseason.
As we look at the players who stepped up on Thursday and Friday nights, here are some of the notable performances we took note of. Let us know about the big plays and players we did not get on our list….
The game of the night was, as expected, a shootout as Jordan (2-0 Region 3, 5-1 overall) held off Brighton (1-1 Region 3, 5-1 overall) 51-49. Senior quarterback Drew Lisk led the way for the Beetdiggers, completing 16-of-23 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns and running 18 times for 121 yards and two more scores. Alec Evans ran for 166 yards on 22 carries and scored three times for Jordan.
Bengal quarterback Andrew Covey also had a huge night in the losing effort with 13-of-18 passing for 235 yards and one score. Covey also ran for 192 yards on 21 carries and two TDs. Despite an injury that sidelined him much of the second half, Sione Lund ran it 13 times for 153 yards and three touchdowns.
Canyon View (2-0 3A South, 5-1 overall) continued its outstanding start with a 62-27 victory over Richfield. Jackson Vasi carried 19 times for 300 yards, with touchdown runs of 65, 40 and 58 yards, and he also delivered defensively with three quarterback sacks to lead the Falcons. Payton Wiggins also scored three times, from 31. 10 and 1-yard out, as he also had a 100-yard night with 16 carries for 121 yards. Wiggins also caught a pair of passes for 63 more.
A dominant performance by Adam Rodriguez helped Springville (3-0 Region 8, 6-0 overall) stay undefeated with a 49-13 win over Uintah. Rodriguez had nine tackles, two tackles-for-loss, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble defensively, and he also caught a 19-yard touchdown pass to aid the Red Devil offense.
Davis moved to 6-0 overall (3-0 in Region 2) Friday night with another commanding performance, a 34-7 win over Syracuse. Senior Griffin Hill returned the game’s opening kickoff 89 yards for touchdown to start the Darts rolling and then he finished the Titans off with a another score on a 37-yard reception.
A 26-21 win over Lehi was a big result for American Fork (2-0 Region 4, 4-2 overall) as Tanner Smith completed 21-of-32 for 336 yards and two touchdowns. Chase Stucki took some of the pressure off his quarterback, going 18 carries for 117 yards and a score, while Joshua Bailey led a Caveman defense that scored twice on safeties with 14 tackles and two tackles-for-loss.
The Lehi (1-2 Region 4, 3-3 overall) defense did not go down without a fight as Kelton Higgins, Brandon Tafoya and Brayden Purtschert led a five-sack effort for the Pioneers.
Herriman (2-0 Region 4, 4-2 overall) kept itself among the leaders in Region 4 with a 42-20 win over Riverton. Kaden Strasters (14 carries, 137 yards, three TDs) and Brig Rush (18-199-1) paced the run-heavy Mustang offense, while Peniamina Mobley (nine tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss) led the way on the defensive side of the ball.
Quinn Meier carried 14 times for 156 yards and three scores and caught three passes for 54 yards as he led Olympus (2-0 Region 6, 4-2 overall) to a win over previously unbeaten Kearns (1-1 Region 6, 5-1 overall).
The biggest story in the Lone Peak (3-0 Region 4, 6-0 overall) win over Westlake was not a statistical result, but was instead the torn hamstring suffered by Thunder athlete Chaz Ah You, one of the state’s most heavily recruited players. On the field, Talmage Gunther completed 12-of-14 passes for 190 yards and four scores to lead the Knights to a 42-7 win.
Another impressive week from Joshua Davis (22 carries, 139 yards, five touchdowns) led Alta (2-1 Region 7, 4-2 overall) to a 49-7 victory over Mountain View. Braxton Kerr was 12-of-18 for 213 yards for the Hawks, and Zach Engstrom was the pass catcher for four of those, totaling 135 yards and a score.
It was another big two-way night for Isaac Tillett of South Summit (2-0 2A North, 6-0 overall) as he ran for 142 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown, caught a 40-yard TD pass and intercepted a pass on the defensive side. Jared Blazzard was also big for the Wildcat defense, with nine tackles and a pair of sacks.
The Park City (2-1 3AA North, 4-2 overall) passing offense is still clicking, as Spencer Zur (28-of-43, 345 yards, three touchdowns) and Collin Zur (nine receptions, 152 yards) both had big nights in a 38-28 win over Stansbury.
In the loss, the Stallions received a strong night from McCoy Didericksen (18 carries, 135 yards and an 80-yard scoring run).
There were top performers everywhere as Skyline (1-1 Region 6, 3-3 overall) downed Hillcrest 35-14. Nick Scott powered the Eagle defense with 20 tackles and an interception, while Seth Kaelin ran 15 times for 113 yards and three TDs to balance the passing of George Weeks (13-of-25, 236 yards, TD). Riley Sharp was on the receiving end of five aerials that went for 106 yards and a touchdown, and he also supported Scott’s efforts with 10 tackles and an interception.
Mountain Crest (2-0 Region 1, 5-0 overall) stayed unbeaten with a 46-14 victory over Weber as Tanner Schwab tossed five touchdown passes (8, 10, 15, 34 and 53 yards).
Region 1’s other undefeated team, Sky View (3-0 Region 1, 6-0 overall) also stayed that way with another immense offensive performance in a 63-21 win over Northridge. Mason Tye carried the ground game with 18 carries for 158 yards and a touchdown, while Garrison Beach passed 27-of-34 for 245 yards and five scores and Bryce Mortensen caught nine balls for 105 yards and two TDs. The Bobcat defense stepped up as well, led by Max Christensen (12 tackles, two tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks).
Three Josh Parker touchdown passes to Kirt McDaniel led the way as Hurricane (1-1 3AA South, 3-2 overall) handed Pine View (1-1, 4-1) its first loss of the season. Parker passed for 225 yards, complementing a big night from running back Jacob Carr (25 carries, 175 yards, TD).
Corner Canyon (2-0 Region 7, 2-3 overall) led 42-0 at the half on the way to a 49-14 win over Timpanogos. Tyler Critchfield scored five times – TD runs of 2, 30 and 67 yards, and receiving TDs from 15 and 58.
After a slow start from its starting quarterback, Timpview (3-0 Region 7, 5-1 overall) turned to Samson Nacua to engineer a more run-oriented attack as the Thunderbirds found a way in handling Orem 35-20. Nacua completed 4-of-5 for 127 yards and two touchdowns, including a critical 64-yard connection with Fielding Wallace. Jay Matina made 11 tackles and had a pair of sacks for Timpview, and Will Watanabe made another big play for the defense, this time a 55-yard pick-six.
Wasatch (2-0 Region 8, 5-1 overall) kicker Skyler Southam split the uprights three times (22, 39 and 42 yards) in the Wasps 23-10 win over Salem Hills. Kade Trowbridge added a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown to the Wasatch scoring effort.
Granger (1-1 Region 2, 3-3 overall) claimed a 35-29 overtime win over Layton. scoring all of its points after intermission, as Sione Tauataina ran 14 times for 139 yards and had eight tackles on defense.
Derek Wright led Manti (1-1 3A South. 3-3 overall) with 12 carries for 182 yards and two scores, while also tossing a pair of TD passes and intercepting two passes as the Templars took care of North Sanpete 45-21. Jordan Howe (two interceptions) and the Manti defense combined to pick off six passes.
It took a huge night from Turner Koyle to lift Millard (1-1 2A North, 3-3 overall) past American Leadership Academy 19-14. Koyle ran it 20 times for 163 yards, including a first-quarter 68-yard TD run and a game-clinching 5-yarder in the fourth.
North Summit (2-0 2A North, 4-2 overall) put itself in a strong position in league play with a 28-13 win over Summit Academy as Tristan Woolstenhulme carried the ball for a trio of touchdowns (12, 45, and 61 yards).
Summit Academy (1-1 2A North, 3-3 overall) came up short in that contest despite another huge night from the connection of quarterback Justin Miller (32-of-43, 329 yards, TD) and receiver Kohlten Bills (nine catches, 146 yards).
Defense was as much a story as anything as Dixie (2-0 3AA South, 5-1 overall) gained the upper hand in that league with a 20-3 win over Desert Hills. Keanu Faumuina had five tackles and three sacks for the defending state champion Flyers. Offensively, Zak Harrah completed 9-of-15 for 225 yards and two scores, while Hobbs Nyberg picked up 39 yards on just three carries and turned four catches into 141 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown.
The East (1-0 Region 5, 3-2 overall) defense stepped up huge with four interceptions in a 54-31 win over Bonneville. One of those picks came from Leroy Siale, and he took it 16 yards for a Leopard touchdown.
In that same contest, Bonneville‘s Kobe Beatty had a 100-yard kick return for a score.
Four rushing touchdowns by Hunter Jones led the way as Murray (2-0 Region 6, 5-1 overall) defeated Cyprus 49-7.
Drake Lewis ran it 14 times for 136 yards, took his one reception 33 yards and had six tackles on defense as Cedar (1-1 3AA South, 3-3 overall) bounced Snow Canyon 41-13.
Brandell Shumway was a big story for Enterprise (1-1 2A South, 3-3 overall) with scoring runs of 80 and 70 yards and a pair of touchdown tosses as the Wolves knocked off North Sevier 43-20.
It wasn’t pretty, but Maple Mountain (1-1 Region 8, 5-1 overall) is getting good at winning that kind of contest, and the Golden Eagles survived Spanish Fork (1-2 Region 8, 3-3 overall) 13-11. Jordan Larsen had nine tackles to lead the way, and Austin Edwards had just one carry, but it was a big one, a fourth-quarter game-clinching 54-yard scoring run.
Nate Keisel had a big night for Spanish Fork, with 119 yards rushing and 172 passing.
Thomas Anderson ran for 110 yards with a touchdown, and caught a 57-yard scoring pass in Monticello‘s (1-0 1A South, 3-3 overall) 45-7 victory over Parowan.
Beaver (2-0 2A South, 5-1 overall) scored 28 points in the opening period and 19 more in the second stanza largely because of its ability to generate big plays. Colton Leos went for 100 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries and housed a punt from 68 yards out, and Dillon Smith also averaged more than 10 yards per carry (9 carries, 92 yards, 2 TDs).
Defense and special teams were both a big part of the story for San Juan (2-0 2A South, 4-2 overall) as it beat Grand County 42-7. Nathan Nielson returned a punt 80 yards for a score and Elliott Jones had six tackles, four tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks.
A pair of runners both totaled 114 yards rushing (Drake Marsh and Easton Payne) and Josh Madsen had six tackles-for-loss and five sacks as Bear River (1-1 3AA North, 2-4 overall) beat Ben Lomond 29-25. Marsh ran for three touchdowns and Payne hit pay dirt once.
The Grantsville (1-1 3A North, 1-5) defense sacked the quarterback seven times, led by Colton Adams with 2.5 and Burke Boman with two, in its 35-13 victory over Carbon. Junior Gavin Eyre had nine receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Cowboys’ offense.
Carbon (0-2 3A North, 1-5) had 13 tackles-for-loss in the game, paced by Nathan Velasquez with four and Peyton Fausett with 2.5. Fausett also had three sacks for the Dinos.
Spencer Larsen’s four touchdown runs (6, 15, 18 and 43 yards) keyed Morgan (1-1 3A North, 4-2 overall) as the Trojans beat Emery 41-13.
Quarterback Hunter Horseley recorded a 45-yard TD run and threw two touchdown passes as Logan (3-0 3AA North, 4-2 overall) beat Tooele 21-7.
The Fremont (1-2 Region 1, 3-3 overall) defense outscored the Clearfield offense as Owen Toone scored a defensive touchdown on a 50-yard interception return, helping the Silver Wolves to a 43-0 win.
Cortland George (13 carries, 106 yards, two touchdowns) played a major role as Viewmont (2-1 Region 2, 3-3 overall) took care of West 39-13.
In non region contests, Highland (2-0 Region 5, 4-2 overall) got a win over Provo (1-1 Region 7, 4-2 overall) as Talo Latu had nine carries for 82 yards and a touchdown, and also returned a blocked kick 92 yards for another score that put the game out of reach.
Daniel Kelley had a nice night for the Bulldogs with 22 carries for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
Pleasant Grove (1-1 Region 4, 3-3 overall) knocked off Bountiful 35-10 as Malik Overstreet turned four receptions for 92 yards into three touchdowns (9, 12 and 60 yards).
Judge Memorial (0-2 3AA North, 1-5 overall) got its first win of the season with a 49-18 win over Ogden as Jack Boomer carried it 12 times for 125 yards.