By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography) & Kurt Johnson
Battles for playoff positioning are getting more intense as the weeks progress. As the season heats up, the best players are rising up to lead their teams to big wins, with everyone looking for a better spot in the league standings and the ability to extend their season.
As we look at the players who stepped up on Thursday and Friday nights for Week 8 of the Utah high school football season, 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….
It was just another week at the office for the high-octane Jordan (4-0 Region 3, 7-1 overall) offense in a 55-3 win over Copper Hills. Drew Lisk was 23-of-39 for 421 yards and an incredible six touchdowns, with Spencer Curtis on the receiving end of nine tosses for 168 yards and three scores and Alika Tuia catching five for 199 yards and two TDs.
The unbeaten season continued for 5A powerhouse Sky View (4-0 Region 1, 8-0 overall) as the Bobcats handled Roy (2-2, 3-3) 38-15 after outscoring the Royals 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Garrison Beach connected on 21-of-37 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns and ran it 14 times for 88 yards and two fourth-quarter scores. The Sky View defense intercepted three passes, as Zach Morrison (seven receptions, 121 yards) and Breygan Holbrook (six catches, 101 yards and a TD) also had good nights for the Bobcats.
A crucial battle for playoff positioning in Region 7 went to Provo (3-1 Region 7, 6-2 overall) as the Bulldogs knocked off Alta (2-2, 5-3) behind a huge night from receiver Ty Jones, who caught 10 passes for 181 yards and four touchdowns. That night doesn’t happen without the passing of Viliami Iongi, who had another outstanding game (22-of-32, 282 yards, five scores). A 63-yard punt return by Hunter Baum was an important play for Provo.
Alta fought back in the game despite being down big at the half, as Joshua Davis ran it 20 times for 144 yards and three TDs, while catching eight passes for another 79 yards and a score. Braxton Kerr finished 20-of-38 for 246 yards and a touchdown.
Darrin Gethers spent some quality time in the end zone for Summit Academy (2-2 2A North, 4-4 overall) beat Gunnison Valley 70-7. Gethers scored five times, twice in the return game and three more times while pulling in five passes for 117 yards in the passing game. Justin Miller was extremely efficient, completing 13-of-15 passes for 245 yards and five scores for the Bears, while Sam Velez caught six passes for 96 yards and two TDs.
The kicking game was crucial as Wasatch (3-1 Region 8, 6-2 overall) moved past Maple Mountain (2-2, 6-2) in the league standings after Skyler Southam connected of five field goals (19, 34, 38, 44 and 53 yards) in the Wasps 22-7 win over the Golden Eagles. Garrett Davis ran it 22 times for 91 yards..
Manti (3-1 3A South, 5-3 overall) dominated defensively in knocking off Richfield 35-0 as Jordan Howe had 14 tackles and an impressive seven sacks. Douglas Schiess added three sacks.
McCay Meidlinger hit Olson Williams with a 59-yard touchdown pass for a fourth-quarter game-winner, and Wilson had two other rushing touchdowns as Hunter (4-0 Region 2, 5-3 overall) beat Viewmont (2-2, 4-4) 30-23 to stay atop Region 2.
Logan (5-0 3AA North, 6-2 overall) continued its roll through region play with a 52-23 win over Stansbury (1-3, 5-3) as Hunter Horsley completed 12-of-21 passes for 234 yards and five TDs, and also ran for 64 yards. Spencer Corbett also had a big night with six catches for 150 yards and three scores.
Timpview (5-0 Region 7, 7-1 overall) all but sealed up the league title with its 28-20 win over Corner Canyon (3-1, 3-4) as Samson Nacua caught four passes for 113 yards and two TDs. Nate Richardson and Branson Brotherson paced the T-Bird defense with 10 tackles each.
Sione Finau picked up 116 yards and scored a touchdown on 19 carries, while Bailey Floyd completed 11-of-20 for 223 yards and three scores as Graden Luckart caught four passes for 95 yards and two TDs as Kearns (3-1 Region 6, 7-1 overall) beat Skyline 38-21.
Taylor Larsen had 10 receptions for 139 yards for the Eagles.
The Quinn Meier (20 carries, 178 yards, three TDs) show continued for the Olympus (4-0 Region 6, 6-2 overall) offense as the Titans beat Murray (2-2, 5-3) 33-22. Jerrick Kaye had two sacks for Olympus and Tuputala Mauga had 10 tackles and a sack.
Juan Diego (4-0 3A North, 7-1 overall) scored all seven of its touchdowns in the ground game (three scores from Kaden Hayward, two from Ryan Baker, a 61-yarder by Josh Vasquez and a 47-yarder by Danny Wilson) in its 49-0 win over Carbon.
Stetson Wood scored twice, once on the ground and also on a 75-yard kick return, as Desert Hills (3-1 3AA South, 4-3 overall) beat Snow Canyon 35-0.
South Summit (4-0 2A North, 8-0 overall) kept things rolling with a 37-3 victory over Millard behind 78 and 88-yard TD runs from Isaac Tillett and three more scoring dashes from Nicholls Beasley.
It wasn’t easy, but Brighton (3-1 Region 3, 6-2 overall) got back on the winning track with a 27-24 victory over West Jordan. Sione Lund picked up 123 yards on 14 carries, caught five balls for 63 yards, had 12 tackles and a quarterback sack in a complete performance for the Bengals. Andrew Covey completed 13-of-21 for 223 yards and ran 13 times for 65 yards, while Simi Fehoko caught six passes for 168 yards.
Three Talmage Gunther touchdown passes and a strong ground game keyed by Tyler Kap (13 carries, 91 yards and a TD) pushed Lone Peak (5-0 Region 4, 8-0 overall) to a 38-13 win over Lehi (1-3, 3-5).
Herriman (4-0 Region 4, 6-2 overall) stayed in the hunt for the Region 4 championship with a 23-15 win over American Fork (2-2, 4-4) as Brig Rush ran it 17 times for 118 yards.
The Cavemen got another strong performance from Josh Bailey, who had 16 tackles.
Pleasant Grove (2-2 Region 4, 4-4 overall) picked up a much-needed league win 38-0 over Riverton as Koy Wilkinson carried 21 times for 96 yards and four touchdowns, while Dane Christiansen carried twice for 87 yards and Brock Winterton recorded 10 tackles.
Johnnie Lang scored on runs of seven, 49 and 51 yards as East (3-0 Region 5, 5-2 overall) handled Box Elder 36-15.
Booker McGuire carried 19 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns as Hillcrest (1-3 Region 6, 2-6 overall) beat Cyprus 28-10.
Three Kaden Simmonds touchdown runs led Bountiful (2-2 Region 5, 4-4 overall) to an important 41-21 victory over Bonneville (1-2, 2-6).
Braxton Wright was 26-of-44 for 385 yards and two scores for the Lakers in that game.
Austin Allred spent a lot of time in the end zone during Emery‘s (2-2 3A North, 4-4 overall) 50-13 win over Grantsville. Allred ran it 11 times for 143 yards and three scores, while also scoring twice on receptions.
A pair of Mason Fakahua to Bodrey Allred TD passes (80 and 16 yards) fueled Cedar (2-2 3AA South, 4-4 overall) to an important win over Pine View (1-3, 4-3).
Dixie (3-1 3AA South, 6-2 overall) took care of Hurricane (2-2, 4-3) behind 24 carries for 135 yards from Tre Miller and 11 tackles from Jeff Martinez.
Kirt McDaniel put up big numbers for the Tigers in the loss, with five receptions for 144 yards to go with 40 additional yards on the ground and eight tackles on defense.
Fremont (3-2 Region 1, 5-3 overall) rallied from an early 14-point deficit to knock off Weber 48-14 as Austin Freeman ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns.
Layton (1-3 Region 2, 4-3 overall) picked up its first league win 47-7 over West as Keoni Larsen ran it 11 times for 138 yards and two scores. Tayler Katoa ran it nine times for 95 yards and a TD and Julian Blackmon hit big on three carries for 86 yards.
Beaver (4-0 2A South, 7-1 overall) followed the lead of Matthew Roberts (11-of-16, 187 yards and two TDs, 27 carries for 178 yards and three scores) to a 41-19 win over San Juan (3-1, 5-3).
A 37-20 win by Judge Memorial (2-2 3AA North, 3-5 overall) over Ben Lomond was aided greatly by a 21-yard touchdown run and an 88-yard touchdown on a pick-6 by Sam Cassel.
Defense was big for Tooele (3-1 3AA North, 5-3 overall) in its 22-7 win over Bear River. Christian Paystrup and Ty Allred each had 13 tackles for the Buffaloes.
Layne Coil was everywhere, with 13 carries for 115 yards on offense, and 13 tackles to go with an interception on defense as Duchesne (2-0 1A North, 5-2 overall) defeated Rich 28-7. Wyatt Remund caught three touchdown passes for Duchesne.
Kanab (2-0 1A South, 6-2 overall) beat Parowan 51-12 after scoring 44 points in the first half as Treg Reidhead picked up 116 yards and scored twice on just seven runs. Layne Anderson ran for three more Cowboy TDs.
Three rushing touchdowns by Rand Pentz were key as North Summit (4-0 2A North, 6-2 overall) took care of business against American Leadership Academy 42-13.
Grand (2-2 2A South, 4-4 overall) beat Enterprise (2-2, 4-4) 28-14 as Dalton McElhaney had 32 rushes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, and Kayden Cresswell had 12 tackles.
South Sevier’s (1-3 2A South, 17 overall) first win of the season was a 27-20 victory over North Sevier as Carter Anderson ran it 27 times for 205 yards and three TDs, while also intercepting a pass.
Park City (2-2 3AA North, 5-3 overall) picked up a non-league win over Ogden 35-14 as the Zur brothers were at it again. Spencer Zur was 17-of-28 for 342 yards and two touchdowns, with Collin Zur catching five passes for 141 yards and a TD and Harrison Fugate hauling in six balls for 116 yards and a score.
In another non-region contest, Westlake (1-3 Region 4, 4-4 overall) survived an exciting battle with Salem Hills, winning 46-34 as Alema Te’o ran for three touchdowns.