4A high school football preview: Highland vs. Springville
Red Devils and Rams know goals have not been reached yet
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
HIGHLAND (8-4) VS. SPRINGVILLE (10-1)
Friday, 11 a.m. — Rice-Eccles Stadium (field turf)
Ticket Information: Fans can purchase tickets at www.uhsaa.org
TV: None — Parry's Power Guide — Springville by 2
SALT LAKE CITY — Sure there was some celebration as the Springville Red Devils walked off the field. After all, they had just beaten Timpview, but they aren't finished.
"When you beat a team that has won it four years in a row, and they are the quality of team that Timpview was, it is an upset, and sure, you are excited about it," said Springville coach Scott Mitchell. "But we didn't set our goal at the beginning of the season to beat Timpview in the quarterfinals. We set the goal to get back to the title game and win it."
If Springville is going to reach that goal, first, it has to get past Highland at Rice-Eccles Stadium Friday at 11 a.m., and it senses that is no easy task.
"We know that Highland isn't going to just lay down for us," added Mitchell.. "They aren't going to say, 'Oh, those guys beat Timpview. We might as well not even show up.' We know they are going to come out and give it their best game. We've seen enough to know they are a very good football team."
Highland overcame its own obstacles in reaching "the turf." The Rams trailed Pine View 37-22 on the road entering the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal game. They answered by scoring 26 points in the final 12 minutes.
"I think it showed a lot about this team," said Highland coach Brody Benson.. "They very easily could have gotten down, given up. Instead, they never stopped believing and just got to work. It showed the type of character these guys have. It showed just how far they have come as a group that they simply didn't want their season to end, they wanted one more week."
Something to keep an eye on with these two teams is the quarterback position. Springville's Steven Bate and Highland's Anthony Smithson are both playmakers that lead their teams.
"Their QB is spot on," said Highland's Benson of Bate. "He is very good at putting the ball exactly where it needs to be, and he makes good decisions."
"They are an option team, but their quarterback gives them the ability to throw the ball as well," said Springville's Mitchell of Smithson. "He is a very dynamic player that does a good job of running their offense."
Another similarity between the schools is both have a playmaking wide receiver. The Red Devils' Jaylon Miyasaki has 38 catches for 891 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year, while the Rams' Nate Fakahafua has 46 catches for 1,082 yards and 14 scores, including five in the two playoff games.
"He is a good looking athlete," said Mitchell of his opponent. "We will have to pay attention to where he is, along with stopping the run."
With two evenly matched teams — Parry's Power Guide has Springville a 2-point favorite — which will make the plays and advance, and what does that play need to be?
"Our secondary needs to play with confidence," said Benson. "They need to believe they can make plays and then go make them. They need to not play scared."
"We need to continue playing good defense and then keep up our balance on offense," said Mitchell. "I think it all comes down to playing our game."
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