By Kurt Johnson
The opening week of Utah high school football saw some serious scoring and huge numbers. If the rest of the season is anything like this, we have some exciting action coming.
The list of elite individual performances from all across the state Thursday and Friday night is long, so as we do each week, here is our best effort at recognizing the players and the numbers that jump out at us, at least from the stats for which we have access through the multiple sources we check….
The game of the night was at Alta (0-1), where the Hawks dropped a back-and-forth classic 72-66 as Lehi (1-0) got the win in double overtime. Cammon Cooper threw a state-record 10 touchdown passes, completing 46-of-74 passes for 609 yards as he connected with Dallin Holker 17 times for 274 yards and five scores, and with Kade Moore on 13 tosses for 193 yards and a TD.
Zach Engstrom had a huge night for the Hawks with 213 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries to go with nine receptions for 100 yards and two more scores. Tu’u Afu ran 11 times for 127 yards and a TD for Alta, while Will Dana completed 23-of-32 for 392 yards and five scores, finding Donovan Spillers four times for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
East (1-0) opened the season Thursday night on the road at Timpview (0-1) and put the state on notice that the Leopards are really good once again with a 42-10 win over the Thunderbirds. After a strong defensive start to the game, Bingham transfer Jaylon Vickers got the East scoring started with a 62-yard pick-6, one of his two interceptions in the contest. The senior backed that up with his team’s second score, on a 50-yard TD reception from Ben Ford. Sione Molisi ran it 15 times for 123 yards and a pair of Leopard scores, while Viliami Tausinga added a second interception touchdown and Tennessee Pututau had 11 tackles and a sack.
A blocked PAT with 1:55 to go allowed Dixie (1-0) to survive for the 35-34 upset win over Springville (0-1) as Jacob Barben was 22-of-34 for 348 yards and two TDs. Payden Harrah caught 11 balls for 141 yards, and Hobbs Nyberg had a rushing touchdown along with seven grabs for 123 yards and a score.
Friday night featured the coming-out party for Braedon Wissler of Bingham (1-0), who rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries as the Miners knocked off Orem (0-1) 41-14. Dax Milne caught four passes for 85 yards, while the Bingham defense was paced by 12 tackles and a sack from Cole Moody, 12 tackles by Saleka Ata’ata and Amoni Kaili with a pair of sacks.
Orem got a huge night from junior wideout Puka Nacua, who turned 10 grabs into 180 yards and two scores.
Corner Canyon (1-0) got its new season off to a great start with an impressive 31-10 win over Pleasant Grove (0-1). Quarterback Zach Wilson completed 21-of-39 for 311 yards and ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Colton Lawson was on the other end of seven of those tosses, going for 106 yards. The Charger defense turned in a huge performance, with big nights from Caden Johnson (13 tackles), Conner Ebeling (11 tackles, interception), Mikey Petty (three sacks) and Brad Findlay (54-yard pick-6).
A 16-0 fourth-quarter advantage and a blocked extra point in overtime lifted Jordan (1-0) to its 45-44 come-from-behind win over Desert Hills (0-1). Crew Wakley ran for three touchdowns and passed for three more to lead the Beetdiggers.
Noah Sewell had a nice debut under center for the Thunder, passing for 156 yards and a touchdown, while running it 19 times for 191 yards and four scores.
The new-look Lone Peak Knights (1-0) got off to a strong start with a 26-13 win over Herriman (0-1). Brock Jones connected on 19-of-30 throws for 264 yards and three touchdowns for Lone Peak, and Kobe Freeman carried 24 times for 97 yards. Andrew Ostler (15 tackles, two sacks) and Thomas Bateman (nine tackles, three sacks) set the pace for the Knights’ defense.
Tavish Darger rushed 16 times for 137 yards and a score for Herriman.
Four Bronson Barron TD passes, three of them connecting with Chase Roberts, led American Fork (1-0) past Weber (0-1) 54-39.
For the Warriors, Austin Bartholomew completed 22-of-37 passes for 379 yards and a pair of scores and also ran it for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Brighton (1-0) picked up a season-opening 17-9 win over Fremont (0-1) as Nicholas Parker ran 12 times for 103 yards a touchdown. Brooks Johnson and Sione Angilau each recorded 10 tackles and Salua Masina had eight tackles.
It took two overtimes for Clearfield (1-0) to finish off Hunter (0-1) 31-24 as Jaxon Mansfield hooked up with Justin Brown for the game-winning touchdown. Mansfield passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, connecting three times for 88 yards with Brown.
Pailate Makakona led the way for Hunter with 274 yards on 31 carries and two scores.
It was a shutout 46-0 win for Beaver (1-0) over Canyon View (0-1) as Porter Hollingshead completed 8-of-11 passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for 58 yards and another score. Walter LeBaron hauled in two of those aerials, both for TDs.
Zach Thomas carried 11 times for 125 yards and a touchdown to lead Judge Memorial (1-0) to a 22-10 win over Ogden (0-1). The Tigers had two runners turn in big opening nights as Carson White ran it 15 times for 157 yards and Rhyle Hanson carried 10 times for 113 yards and an 80-yard TD.
With a 69-21 victory, Pine View (1-0) spoiled the debut of first-year school Green Canyon (0-1) as Jacob Mpungi went for 206 yards on 22 carries with four scores.
West (1-0) delivered a high-scoring victory as it put 64 points on Hillcrest (0-1) in a 64-28 win. Viliami Makoni took a pair of kicks back 91 and 94 yards for scores, while Romeo Johnston was 15-for-21 with 283 yards and four TDs, adding 64 rushing yards as well. Brydon Johnson pulled in four passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
Dual-threat quarterback Dane Leituala ran it 13 times for 205 yards and three scores, and passed for 173 yards and another TD as Taylorsville (1-0) took care of Murray (0-1) 34-3.
Special teams delivered in a big way for Roy (1-0) as it knocked off Syracuse (0-1) 27-21. Trace Tupe had a 96-yard kick-off return for a touchdown and Kyrese Rowan took a kickoff back 98 yards to the house.
Timpanogos (1-0) defeated Payson (0-1) 34-14 behind Roy Ziegra, who ran for 142 yards and a TD on 10 rushes. Gabe Sweeten was 10-of-21 for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 60 yards and another score, while Tyler Walker caught three passes for 105 yards and a TD.
In its 38-25 win over Granger (0-1), Skyline (1-0) picked up a strong performance from Tommy McGrath, who passed for 301 yards and four scores on 19-of-27 passing. Taylor Larsen was on the receiving end of seven aerials for 103 yards and two TDs and Briggs Binford hauled in six balls for 91 yards and a touchdown. Saione Matagi ran for 93 yards and a score for the Eagles.
Jeremy Kaleikini tossed five touchdown passes, including 49- and 70-yarders to Conner Stevenson, and two short scoring passes to Colton Kapp, as Box Elder (1-0) took care of Layton (0-1) 39-14.
The 47-18 victory by Kearns (1-0) over Copper Hills (0-1) was paced by Sese Felila, who ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
The combination of Ashton Fornelius (21-of-28, 219 yards, two TDs) to Jordan Johnson (eight catches, 111 yards, TD) delivered for Woods Cross (1-0) as the Wildcats took care of Maple Mountain (0-1) 31-10.
Austin Staheli was 12-of-18 for 262 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Snow Canyon (1-0) past Uintah (0-1) 49-14. Jase Mendenhall (six carries, 110 yards) and Toshfatefehi Wright (eight carries, 82 yards, two TDs) lifted the Warriors’ running game.
Soujah Gasu returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a score and picked up 121 yards and two TDs on 23 rushes to lead Cyprus (1-0) to a 28-6 win over Grantsville (0-1).
Jake Day and Trevor Burton connected on scoring passes of 1, 34, 61 and 70 yards to pace Delta (1-0) to a 39-32 victory over Juab (0-1).
Spanish Fork (1-0) handled Ridgeline (0-1) 22-8 as Mateen Lomax ran 34 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.
The connection of Hayden Reynolds (20-of-27 for 347 yards and four TDs) to Parker Clawson (seven catches, 170 yards, two scores) combined to lead Summit Academy (1-0) over Union (0-1) 43-14.
A pair of Gavin Davis interceptions helped Duchesne (1-0) knock off American Leadership Academy (0-1) 15-6.
Brayden Schultz carried 14 times for 194 yards and two TDs to lead Grand County (1-0) to a 39-6 victory over Monticello (0-1).
Hurricane (1-0) knocked off Mountain View (0-1) behind 17 carries for 143 yards from Jaron Cordova.
Lance Fowles ran 11 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns to lead Manti (1-0) to a 21-14 win over Carbon (0-1).
Quarterback Bryson Barnes passed for 273 yards and two TDs and scored three touchdowns in the running game to push Milford (1-0) to a 49-14 victory over Gunnison (0-1). Stetson Wright caught three passes for 123 yards and a score.
Harrison Creer connected on 12-of-20 passes for 209 yards and five touchdowns, and Jack Hollberg carried five times for 115 yards and a score, as Olympus (1-0) took care of Cottonwood (0-1) 45-7.
The duo of Ethan Guymon (13 carries, 192 yards, four TDs and a 50-yard pick-6) and Porter Miller (13 carries, 121 yards) paced Parowan (1-0) past Altamont (0-1) 53-0.
James Nelson completed 16-of-23 passes for 245 yards and three TDs as Salem Hills (1-0) beat Ben Lomond (0-1) 38-31.