By Kurt Johnson
A new Utah high school football season has arrived. The 2016 campaign began Thursday night as Skyridge knocked of Ridgeline in a matchup of the state’s brand new schools. That game saw a huge aerial performance by Skyridge as the Falcons picked up their first win and left the Riverhawks to wait at least one more week to do the same.
As we look at the players who stepped up on Thursday and Friday night for Week 1 of the Utah high school football season, here are some of the notable performances. Let us know about the big plays and players we did not get on our list….
The game of the night was the overtime thriller in Hurricane, where Skyline beat the Tigers 28-27 on a two-point conversion by Seth Kaelin after Kaelin ran it in from 10 yards out in the initial extra period. The Eagles elected to put the game on the line by going for two after seeing Hurricane overcome a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter capped by a 75-yard Hail Mary heave from Josh Parker to Toby Swensen that went off the fingers of a Skyline defender. An excessive celebration penalty pushed the Tigers back on the PAT, which was missed to send the game to overtime and open the door for the Eagles. Saione Matagi had an early 73-yard TD run for Skyline.
Now that he has moved over from the defensive side of the ball to play quarterback, Spencer Jorgensen appears poised to have a big year for Provo. He completed 18-of-28 for 410 yards and four touchdowns and led the Bulldogs to a 35-21 victory over Cedar. Jorgensen was hot for most of the night and survived two late interceptions in pacing the win, and he also ran it nine times for 59 yards on the night. The biggest star for Provo was receiver Ty Jones, who caught 10 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. His TD grabs came from 68 and 16 yards, but his most impressive catch was a twisting one-handed 44-yard snatch as he fell to his back on a huge third-down conversion. Tevita Ika had 102 yards receiving and two scores and Joey Tolutau came up big in slowing a potent Redmen offense, with 14 tackles.
The first offensive series in the history of Skyridge High ended quickly on a 69-yard scoring toss from Cody Frampton to Wyatt Parkinson. Frampton was 17-of-26 for 330 yards and five scores to lead the Falcons to the 33-14 victory. Parkinson caught seven passes for 192 yards and three TDs (32, 56 and 69 yards) in the win, while Nathan Upham had four receptions for 84 yards and a 39-yard touchdown.
Seven different runners scored touchdowns as East ran up big yardage in a 67-21 win over Syracuse. Jaylen Warren put up huge numbers to lead the way with 267 yards on just 15 carries and two scores, including a 71-yarder. Tyler Eteuati also scored a pair, running it in from 24 and 84 yards.
It was a great start for Lehi quarterback Cammon Cooper, who threw for six TDs, to five different receivers, on 27-of-34 passing for 318 yards as the Pioneers defeated Hillcrest 41-15.
Isaiah Jackson hauled in five passes for 115 yards and two scores and Spencer Curtis caught three for 87 yards and a 54-yard TD as Jordan held off Desert Hills 28-21 behind junior quarterback Crew Wakley, who threw it for 256 yards and three touchdowns while running 18 times for 135 yards.
Quarterback Tayler Katoa rushed 11 times for 184 yards and touchdowns of 15, 25, 37 and 59 yards to lead Layton to a 28-17 win over Weber.
His five touchdown runs covered 2, 3, 15, 39 and 60 yards and Angelo Rios finished with 197 yards as Ben Lomond beat Richfield 40-17. Richfield quarterback Emmitt Hafen passed it for 211 yards and ran for 78 more on 17 rushes.
Quarterback Will Dana completed 18-of-25 passes for 275 yards and five touchdowns in leading Alta to a 49-21 win over Taylorsville. MJ Tafisi paced the Hawk defense with 18 tackles, while Zach Alsop (13 tackles) and Mitch Medina (12 tackles) also stepped up on that side of the ball.
Junior quarterback Bronson Barron was 21-of-35 for 250 yards and four scores as American Fork knocked off Hunter 31-21. Senior AJ Jaecke led the Caveman defense with a dozen tackles and an interception.
An early 25-yard interception return for a touchdown by Daniel Loua set the tone for Bingham as it opened a 35-2 halftime lead on its way to a 42-9 victory over Westlake. Loua also scored on a 69-yard run while Tongi Langi housed a punt from 60 yards out. Jahvontay Smith also scored a pair of touchdowns for the Miners.
Defending state champ Herriman started its season off with a 26-16 win over Brighton behind 15 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns from Juney Leakehe and a pair of offensive scores and an interception by Noah Vaea. Sione Lund ran it 14 times for 105 yards and added six catches for 51 yards and a score from the Bengals.
Haze Hadley caught 10 balls for 137 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-14 Fremont win over Bonneville. Jay Scott picked up 129 yards on nine carries with two scores and on the defensive side, Austin Freeman had 10 tackles.
Jordan Hardy ran for 133 yards and three TDs and passed for three more scores in leading Beaver to a 41-14 win over Canyon View.
The high-scoring contest of the night was a 44-41 Kearns victory over Stansbury in which Sese Felila ran it 34 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Matthew McIntyre scored four times for the Stallions, including an 80-yard scoring run and also tallied on a blocked kick, while Mitchell McIntyre scored on a 55-yard run.
With senior running back Riley Smith pacing its offense with 27 carries for 148 yards and two scores, Davis handled Clearfield 27-10. Hayden Garlock led the Darts’ defense with 10 tackles and Riley Stringham picked off a pair of passes.
It was the debut of Dakota Hansen as the Lone Peak starting quarterback and it went pretty well for the senior, who was 19-of-29 for 205 yards and a touchdown. He also ran it for another score as the Knights took care of Bountiful 31-13. Tyler MacPherson was the top choice on the receiving end with eight grabs for 87 yards and a TD.
The Zur twins are back and that means a whole lot of offense for Park City. The Miners opened with a 34-0 shutout of Union as Spencer Zur was an efficient 18-for-22 with 229 yards passing and three TDs. Collin Zur was on the other end of one of those scores and caught eight total passes for 133 yards.
A 28-23 win by Uintah over Snow Canyon featured 16-of-32 for 284 yards and two touchdowns for Kyle Henderson and six receptions for 97 yards by Cruz Leyba. Chris Poulson had a nice night for the Warriors with 17 carries for 153 yards and a pair of scores.
Clay Giles had 192 total yards, with two receiving TDs and a punt-return touchdown, and Kade Lamborn also took a punt back 85 yards to the house as Duchesne knocked off Milford 35-9.
The running game was huge for Granger in its 55-12 victory over Copper Hills as the Lancers ran for seven touchdowns. Sione Houma scored from eight and 59 yards, Chase Alofipo took it in from one and 52 yards, while Enrique Salvador hit pay dirt from 22 and 26 yards out. Amata Tavai scored an offensive touchdown and also delivered another six on a 46-yard fumble recovery return.
A three-sack night for Tyler Trotter was a major part of the win as Pleasant Grove won on the road at Corner Canyon by a 19-16 count. Jake Jensen was strong in his first outing as the Viking signal caller, connecting on 21-of-34 for 301 yards and a touchdown. He also carried it 15 times for 52 yards and two scores, including the game-winning 2-yard run with five seconds remaining.
Springville defeated Dixie 37-21 as Brennen Rymer caught a 40-yard touchdown pass and scored on 99-yard kick return. Ty Eriksson threw a pair of scoring passes for the Red Devils.
In guiding Juab to a 42-7 win over Millard, Ryker Osborne tossed three TD passes and Alex White took an interception back for another score.
Mac Stevens ran 16 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a TD pass, while Michael Alder led the defense with 10 tackles as Manti shut out Carbon 42-0.
Opening night was business as usual for Timpview, which beat West 37-0 behind a punt-return touchdown and a pair of receiving scores from Kyle Van Leeuwen. Jake Biggs threw three TD passes and Alema Te’o scored on a 53-yard pass play and another touchdown in the ground game.
Olympus knocked off Cottonwood 28-8 behind quarter Sawyer Pierce, who was 14-of-21 for 204 yards and three touchdowns (17, 25 and 56 yards). Pierce also ran for a fourth score.
Eight sacks by the Roy defense, led by two from Wynton Lamar, were a big reason for the Royals 47-6 victory over Murray. Three backs went over 100 yards for Roy, as Hunter Mather (123 yards), Keenan Johnson (115) and Trace Tupe (102) all hit the century mark.
Ten tackles and four tackles-for-loss by Jacob Rolfe combined with two rushing touchdowns and 10 tackles from Vili Wolfgramm were key as Salem Hills beat Delta 24-0.
Visiting Sierra Canyon from California got the better of Orem by a 30-20 final, but Puka Nacua had a huge night for the Tigers with six receptions for 167 yards.
Nick Beasley threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth in leading South Summit past San Juan 35-26. Kavika Su’eSu’e carried it 19 times for 151 yards and four scores for San Juan.
Three short rushing touchdowns from Noah Conway and a big day by Mateen Lomax (19 carries for 158 yards, two TDs) led Spanish Fork past Mountain View 46-6.
New Summit Academy QB Isaac Hamilton threw and 80-yard touchdown pass to Tryston Peery and two other scoring aerials as the Bears took care of Emery 20-7.
The first quarter was decisive for Timpanogos as it scored 26 points on its way to a 39-0 win over Payson. The Timberwolves were led by Casey Hamilton, who completed 11-of-17 for 259 yards and two TDs and also ran for a score. Carl Pinegar (3 receptions, 91 yards, TD) and Garrett Sweeten (4 catches, 93 yards, TD) were the leading pass catchers for Timpanogos, while Seth Trowbridge led the shutout effort on defense with nine tackles, three TFLs and two sacks.
Three scoring runs by Lincoln Powers lifted Tooele to a 34-13 victory over North Sanpete.
The big play was significant for Viewmont in its 35-20 win over Northridge as Davis Weir connected on scoring plays of 64 (to Tyson Handley) and 62 yards (to Jared Haws) on his way to a 253 yard passing night with four TDs. Cortland George ran for 139 yards and a score.
Wasatch rolled up 498 yards rushing and eight touchdowns in the ground game, led by 11 carries for 88 yards and three scores from Nash Jones and 21 runs for 109 yards plus a score by Hayden Richards as the Wasps beat Ogden 55-14.
Lei Toki and Michael Ponce each scored a pair of TDs as West Jordan took care of business against Juan Diego Catholic 32-25. Stone Azarcon scored two times for the Soaring Eagle, from 31 and 33 yards out.