Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Pleasant Grove (5-6) at Fremont (8-1)
5A state tournament first round
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: Fremont by 6
All-time series: Fremont leads 2-0
Coach vs. Coach: Pleasant Grove's Dale Sampson and Fremont's Kory Bosgeiter, first meeting
Last meeting: Oct. 27, 2006 — Fremont 18, Pleasant Grove 14
It's good to be the Fremont Silver Wolves these days.
Fremont enters the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak and as Region 1 champions. On top of that, the Silver Wolves have had a long time to rest, as they haven't played since beating Davis in the Region 1 title game on Oct. 13.
By the time Fremont faces Pleasant Grove in a first-round 5A playoff game on Saturday, it will have had 17 days off. Silver Wolves coach Kory Bosgieter said the long break has been good for his team.
"Right now I think it's a good thing," he said. "We were nicked up, and we got healed up."
He also isn't worried about any possible rust when his team faces the underdog Vikings.
"Our practice tempo has been good," Bosgieter said. "We try to practice at a game pace. That's (rust) not something I'm worried about. I'm happy we're healed up."
While the Silver Wolves are rested and ready to go, the Vikings enter the playoffs with some momentum of their own.
Pleasant Grove upset Alta on the Hawks' home field last week to force a play-in game with Brighton on Tuesday. Playing on a neutral field at Alta High, the Vikings got a late touchdown from Colton Babb to defeat the Bengals 14-10 to advance to Saturday's playoff game.
Even with two straight wins, Pleasant Grove still is below .500 at 5-6. But that doesn't matter now, as the Vikings and Silver Wolves are both in a one-game season.
"Overall, the team is coming around," said Pleasant Grove coach Dale Sampson. "They've tasted the bitter, now it's sweet to make the playoffs."
The Vikings face a tall task in making their season any more sweet.
When Pleasant Grove faces Fremont on Saturday, it will be playing its third game in eight days. That's tough on anyone, even high school kids who have fresh legs and plenty of energy.
"I think we're looking at it as another opportunity," Sampson said. "Getting to the playoffs has got to be a goal for everybody's season. We've met that goal and now, hopefully, we can step up to the next one."
The Vikings' biggest challenge against Fremont will be trying to slow down running back Nick Vigil. The junior has rushed for 1,176 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. Fremont also boasts a solid receiving threat in Tate Lewis.
Babb leads Pleasant Grove in rushing and is coming off a 119-yard effort against Brighton. McKay Madsen is the Vikings' top receiver.
Both teams are accustomed to playing in close games. Fremont has won two overtime contests. Five of Pleasant Grove's games have been decided by seven points or less. The Vikings are 3-2 in those contests, which could bode well in their upset bid against Fremont.
"I want to say that they've played through things," Sampson said of his players. "We've met a few challenges, and guys are starting to get a little more confident. We've been able to finish. We've played some really close ballgames all year — other than Bingham — and we just haven't finished. The last two games we've been able to finish."
Pleasant Grove statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 17.3 ppg
Scoring defense: 21.8 ppg
Passing leader: Zach Christensen (60-of-125, 48.0%, 905 yards, 7 TDs)
Rushing leader: Colton Babb (109 carries, 473 yards, 5 TDs), Cooper Caldwell (102 carries, 405 yards, 8 TDs)
Receiving leader: McKay Madsen (34 receptions, 540 yards, 4 TDs)
Tackles leader: Austin Heder (117 total tackles)
Sacks leader: Dakota Lynn (4 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Quinn Newbold (4 interceptions)
Fremont statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 25.2 ppg
Scoring defense: 13.6 ppg
Passing leader: Aaron Van Woerkom (96-of-174, 55.2%, 1,066 yards, 8 TDs)
Rushing leader: Nick Vigil (194 carries, 1,176 yards, 12 TDs)
Receiving leader: Tate Lewis (36 receptions, 548 yards, 4 TDs)
Tackles leader: Bryan Thompson (56 total tackles)
Sacks leader: Lloyd Stephens (4.5 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Tyson Montgomery (4 interceptions)