By Kurt Johnson
Photos Dave Argyle (DBA Photography) & Shane Marshall
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….
Perhaps the biggest game of the night was actually a non-region game with Brighton (2-1 Region 3, 5-2 overall) traveling to Sky View (3-0 Region 1, 7-0 overall). The Bobcats firmed up their place as a contender after moving from Class 4A to 5A this season with this 34-24 win over one of the 5A power teams. Garrison Beach completed 31-of-44 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Sky View offense. He also ran it 10 times for 113 yards to net 418 yards of total offense, while Bryce Mortensen caught a dozen balls for 144 yards and a score.
Sione Lund (nine carries, 122 yards, touchdown) and Simi Fehoko (three catches, 119 yards, touchdown) were the offensive stars once again for the Bengals.
Talmage Gunther had a big night in leading Lone Peak (4-0 Region 4, 7-0 overall) to a 48-21 win over American Fork. The Knights’ quarterback had 336 yards total offense and four touchdowns as his team remained unbeaten through its first seven contests.
A trip to the playoffs became a little more probable for Provo (2-1 Region 7, 5-2 overall) Thursday night as the Bulldogs took care of Orem (0-4, 2-5) in a key league battle. Viliami Iongi completed 23-of-37 for 326 yards and two scores, including a 77-yard connection with Paden Jorgensen, who caught six balls for 113 yards on offense, while picking up nine tackles and an interception defensively. The Bulldog defense, led by Dallan Olsen and Danilo Ortolano, had five sacks.
The Jordan (3-0 Region 3, 6-1 overall) offense continues to produce big numbers in a 56-20 win over West Jordan. Quarterback Drew Lisk (291 passing yards with three TDs, 132 run yards with two TDs) had another huge night, as did Alec Evans (18 carries, 126 yards, two touchdowns) and Spencer Curtis (five catches, 110 yards).
Five touchdowns is a lot, and that was the highlight of a huge night for North Sanpete’s (2-1 3A South, 4-3 overall) Spencer Applegarth, who turned just 15 carries into 286 yards and those scoring runs of 10, 14, 28, 55 and 73 yards, led the Hawks to a 50-0 win over Richfield.
Logan maintained its perfect record in Region 3AA South contests with a 38-13 win over Bear River. Hunter Horsley was 20-of-37 for 299 yards and three touchdowns, with 19 carries for 145 yards for the Grizzlies. Spencer Corbett caught nine passes for 193 yards and two scores.
Olympus (3-0 Region 8, 5-2 overall) beat Hillcrest 49-28 with a huge night from a number of Titan defenders. Nate Hoole had 21 tackles, with five tackles-for-loss and two sacks and the team combined for six quarterback sacks, and Porter Baker had nine tackles, four TFL and two sacks, while the other two sacks came from Marcus Perkins.
The big play and strong defense delivered for Timpview (4-0 Region 7, 6-1 overall) again Thursday night as the Thunderbirds blanked Timpanogos 42-0. The defense had five sacks, and while quarter Kahi Neves threw it just 13 times, completing nine, many of those connections picked up chunks of yardage (46 yards to Samson Nacua, 37 to Nejad Arshad and 36 to Sterling Evans) Nacua had six grabs for 98 yards and a touchdown, while Eric Calantoc ran it 12 times for 121 and two scores.
A Saxton Morby 1-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left, followed by the successful decision to go for the two-point conversion (Haze Hadley ran it in for two) provided the margin of victory for Fremont (2-2 Region 1, 4-3) in a thrilling, crucial Region 1 battle with Northridge (1-2, 3-4). The Silver Wolves won the game 22-21 as Austin Freeman added two scoring runs.
Mountain Crest (3-0 Region 1, 6-0) did not secure the win that would keep it unbeaten until the game’s final play Friday night, a 45-yard game-winning Hail Mary toss from Tanner Schwab to Dallas Niemann that lifted the Mustangs past Roy (2-1, 3-2) 16-14. Schwab completed 18-of-25 passes for 219 yards and Niemann had seven grabs for 111 yards, while Bubba Thompson carried it 22 times for 118 yards.
In another game that came down the wire, Saia Taufatofua connected with Kawika Saaga on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left to push Westlake (1-3 Region 4, 3-4 overall) past Riverton 27-26. Nathaniel Corporan Aumavae had four receptions for 111 yards and a 64-yard TD.
And in the East (2-0 Region 5, 4-2 overall) 25-23 win over Bountiful, it was Jaylen Warren running it in from four yards out with 37 seconds remaining to put the Leopards on top. Warren ran for two touchdowns in the contest.
It came little earlier than the other late-score wins, but it may have been the most dramatic because of its length. Bailey Floyd hooked up with Shay Reid on a 96-yard screen pass with two minutes remaining to lift Kearns (2-1 Region 6, 6-1 overall) to a critical 21-18 win over Murray (2-1, 5-2). Floyd completed 12-of-19 for 187 yards and Sese Felila had 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Kallin Fisher passed for 181 yards and three touchdowns (25, 65 and 72 yards) and ran for 109 with two TDs (three and 66 yards) to lead Davis (4-0 Region 2, 7-0 overall) past Granger 48-20. Mitch Nelson caught four passes for 111 yards and two of those touchdowns. The unbeaten Darts continued to receive outstanding defensive performances from their defense, led this time out by 17 tackles and an interception by Jake Hadley and 18 tackles from Connor Taylor.
Lincoln Powers led the way with 25 rushes for 215 yards and three scores as Tooele (2-1 3AA North, 4-3 overall) beat Ben Lomond 70-49.
The Snow Canyon defense came up huge as the Warriors (1-2 Region 3AA South, 4-3 overall) upset Dixie (2-1, 5-2) in 3AA South play. TJ Taimi picked off two passes, returning one of them 35 yards for a TD, as Snow Canyon combined for five interceptions in the win. Jackson Nowatzke carried the ball 13 times for 113 yards and touchdowns of two, six and 79 yards to lead the Warrior offense.
Tre Miller had a solid night for Dixie with 17 carries for 131 yards and a 75-yard touchdown.
Corner Canyon (3-0 Region 7, 3-3 overall) ran for all seven of its touchdowns in its 52-22 victory over Mountain View. Jason Adams scored four times and Tyler Critchfield ran for two more for the Chargers.
Alta (2-1 Region 7, 5-2 overall) beat Spanish Fork 24-10 in a non-region game as Joshua Davis ran it for more than 10 yards per carry (21-218) and scored two touchdowns. Davis finished with 268 yards of total offense.
Jaren Hall delivered 208 yards of total offense and Dawson Beutler had four receptions for 87 yards and two scores as Maple Mountain (2-1 Region 8, 6-1 overall) raced past Uintah 43-8. Tanner Dayton was good on three field goals for the Golden Eagles, hitting a pair of 44-yarders and a 31-yard kick.
Springville (4-0 Region 8, 7-0 overall) took firm control of the driver’s seat in the race for the Region 8 title with its 27-17 win over Wasatch (2-1, 5-2). Scott Averett is back at full strength for the Red Devils, running for 145 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries. The Springville defense was key to the win, as usual, with Daxton Paulsen contributing 14 tackles and Adam Rodriguez delivering three of the team’s five quarterback sacks.
Skyler Southam was good from 53 yards with a field goal for the Wasps in that contest.
Dane Leituala ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more in leading Taylorsville (1-3 Region 3, 2-5 overall) to a 44-3 win over Copper Hills.
The Herriman (3-0 Region 4, 5-2 overall) defense dominated another opponent, holding a strong Pleasant Grove (1-2, 3-4) running game to just 43 yards on the ground and keeping the Vikings off balance with seven quarterback hurries as the Mustangs claimed a 21-7 win. Denver Osborne set the tone for Herriman with nine tackles and two quarterback hurries.
Salem Hills (2-2 Region 8, 3-4 overall) scored all of its points after intermission as it took care of Payson 28-3. Cooper Smith had a huge night on both sides of the ball for the Skyhawks, with 158 receiving yards and three touchdowns (8, 58 and 75 yards) on balls thrown by Tristen Swensen, a fumble recovery and an interception. The Salem Hills defense also sacked the quarterback nine times, as both Kaden Stewart and Sam Callister had three.
Marco Jordan managed a 100-yard rushing night, with a pair of short touchdown runs, as Desert Hills (2-1 3AA South, 3-3 overall) survived a hard-fought defensive slugfest 21-10 over Pine View (1-2, 4-2).
Hurricane (2-1 3AA South, 4-2 overall) was paced by Angel Bulloch’s 20 carries for 113 yards and three TDs as the Tigers took care of business against Cedar 35-19.
A 57-0 win over Layton Christian Academy got Duchesne (1-0 1A North, 4-2 overall) off to a good start in Region 1A North play Friday night, as Layne Coil ran it for 135 yards and TDs from 35 and 60 yards and also caught a 53-yard scoring pass. Clay Giles had seven carries for 110 yards, with a 40-yard touchdown scamper pushing up those numbers.
Isaac Tillett scoring runs of seven, 25 and 52 yards helped undefeated South Summit (3-0 2A North, 7-0 overall to a 49-21 win over Summit Academy.
A 47-25 victory against Park City (2-2 Region 3AA North, 4-3 overall) brought welcome relief for Judge Memorial (1-2, 2-5), which has been in the midst of a tough stretch. The Bulldogs benefited from four interceptions from their defense, one of which was returned 50 yards for a touchdown by Rihan Deng.
In the loss, it was another big day for Miner receiver Collin Zur, who caught eight balls for 147 yards and two scores.
Highland (3-0 Region 5, 5-2 overall) beat Woods Cross 31-17, led by James Pembroke, who had 178 yards total offense and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Juan Diego (3-0 3A North, 6-1 overall) scored four times on Ryan Baker runs (five, 12, 18 and 46 yards) as the Soaring Eagle knocked off Grantsville 41-7.
Spencer Larsen covered 94 yards on just a pair of catches, which included a 51-yard touchdown snag, and he also returned a punt to the house in the 35-0 Morgan (2-1 3A North, 5-2 overall) win over Carbon.
Nafe Pututua scored on runs of four and 60 yards, and Omar Campos returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown as Cyprus (1-2 Region 6, 2-5 overall)) knocked off Skyline 21-17.
Cameron Mortensen ran in touchdowns from 14 and 30 yards, and caught TD passes of six, nine and 11 yards as Weber (1-3 Region 1, 2-4 overall) beat Clearfield 42-7.
Touchdown runs from four, 47 and 70 yards highlighted the effort of Matthew Roberts, who turned just six carries into 140 yards in leading Beaver (3-0 2A South, 6-1 overall) to a 51-0 victory over Grand County.
Union (2-1 3A North, 4-3 overall) took care of business with a 19-6 victory over Emery as Everet Miller had five receptions for 114 yards, including a 76-yard TD. The Cougar defense was paced by Korbyn Bertoch with 19 tackles and Henrique Moreira, who had 11 tackles and two interceptions.
Juab (3-0 3A South, 6-1 overall) picked up a huge 3A South win over Canyon View (2-1, 5-2) as Ryker Osborne tossed three touchdown passes (three, nine and 73 yards). Payton Bowring rushed for 61 yards, caught passes for 93 and had 14 tackles for the Wasps, and Ashton Seely made 21 tackles.
Canyon View got another big game from Payton Higgins, who carried it 25 times for 157 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
Manti (2-1 3A South, 4-3 overall) beat Delta 39-16 as Jordan Howe had an all-around spectacular night for the Templars. Howe had 15 tackles, four tackles-for-loss and a sack on defense, as he also forced two fumbles, returning one 23 yards for a score. On offense, he added a 19-yard touchdown reception. Derek Wright had big two-way numbers as well, with eight and 19-yard TD passes, five carries for 69 yards and he also intercepted two passes.
A Ty Metcalfe touchdown run and three TD passes (eight, 14 and 54 yards) helped Syracuse (2-2 Region 2, 3-4 overall) to a 26-8 victory over Layton.
Dylan Rodriguez ran for two touchdowns (seven and 55 yards) and caught a six-yard TD pass in Box Elder’s (0-2 Region 5, 2-5 overall) 59-0 win over Ogden.
Stansbury (1-2 3AA North, 5-2 overall) beat Bonneville in a non-region battle behind McCoy Didericksen’s 24 carries for 144 yards. He ran for one touchdown from 24 yards and caught a 35-yard scoring pass.
Another solid inter-regional matchup saw Viewmont (2-1 Region 2, 4-3 overall) best Lehi (1-2 Region 4, 3-4 overall) 35-22 as Cortland George carried it 23 times for 175 yards and a touchdown.
Cammon Cooper filled the air with football for the Pioneers in that contest, completing 29-of-58 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns.