The number of unbeaten teams dropped from 21 to 13 last week. The survivors include a single team from each of Regions 1 through 7 (Syracuse, Granger, Jordan, Lone Peak, Logan, East and Herriman, respectively).
Carbon, Dixie and Hurricane are undefeated in 3A, San Juan is the only unvanquished team in Class 2A and Diamond Ranch and Duchesne remain unbeaten in 1A.
Just a pair of games match undefeated teams: Hurricane at Dixie in Region 9 and Duchesne at Diamond Ranch in 1A North. (Incidentally, Dixie and Hurricane are two of the top five highest scoring teams statewide, averaging over 40 points per game.)
The number of winless teams fell from 23 to 15, but only Timpanogos at Springville pits winless schools. The Red Devils claimed the two previous contests in 2004 and '06.
Diamond Ranch, in its first year of varsity football, continues to draw attention with its strong opening: it's only the fourth school to win its first four games, but the Diamondbacks will get a stiff test this week hosting defending 1A champion Duchesne. An Eagle victory over DR will give Duchesne its best start since its undefeated championship season of 2006.
Syracuse (4-0), in its fifth season, is enjoying its best opening, eclipsing 3-0 starts in 2008 and '09.
If Granger takes care of Juan Diego, the Lancers will claim five wins for the first time since 2004 and be 5-0 for the first time since starting 7-0 in 1989…. Dixie will be 5-0 for the first time since 2005 with an upset of Hurricane.
If Logan handles Bonneville, the Grizzlies will be 5-0 for the first time since their 12-0 championship season in 1978, their only undefeated campaign…. By beating West, Lone Peak will see 5-0 for the first time since a 7-0 start in 2006.
First-time Matchups (7):
With everyone but Regions 2 and 4 in Class 5A and Regions 10 and 12 in 3A involved in league competition this week, a number of interesting first-time pairings are on the docket in non-region games: American Fork at Copper Hills, Granger at Juan Diego, Lehi at Viewmont and Lone Peak at West.
Meanwhile, realignment has created a couple more first-time meetings in region play: Olympus vs. Westlake (Region 7 – at Cottonwood) and Timpview at Maple Mountain (Region 8). Of course, Duchesne at Diamond Ranch is also a first-time matchup.
Busing to "home" Games?
In Granite District, reconstruction of Granger and Olympus continues. Granger celebrated the inauguration of its new gridiron by pasting Cyprus 52-14 on Sept. 2. But Olympus' new field is still under construction and the Titans hope it will be ready for homecoming on Oct. 7. Oly has already played one "home" game at Skyline and another is likely on Sept. 30 (vs. Herriman). Since Skyline is home this week, Olympus "hosts" Westlake on Cottonwood's turf. And later, Oly meets Skyline on the road, so the Titans will play more games at Skyline than at home this season.
San Juan has the longest active winning streak at 24, tied for the fourth longest in state history and just two behind Bingham's third-place, 26-game streak, which ended two weeks ago. Duchesne has the second longest active streak, 14, followed by the other 11 teams with 4-0 records.
Pleasant Grove is going for its 350th win…. On the heels of a big win over arch-rival Bountiful, Viewmont hopes to get its 200th victory, against Lehi…. Dennis Wells is coaching his 100th contest at Grand.
Scoring teams: Logan 46.3 ppg, Dixie 46.0, San Juan 42.8, Highland 42.0, Hurricane 40.5.
Defensive teams: San Juan 5.8, Diamond Ranch 7.5, Beaver 7.8, Davis and Jordan 8.3.
By winning margin: San Juan 37.0, Dixie 26.5, Jordan 24.0, Monticello, 23.0, Diamond Ranch 22.8.
Most-Played Rivalry Games:
Ogden and Bear River, both realigned to Region 11, meet for the 63rd time, but first since 2008. The O-town Tigers lead the series 35-26-1 and have won two straight over the Bears after BR claimed nine consecutive contests.
Hurricane at Dixie not only pits undefeated, high-scoring teams, but these long time rivals meet for the 60th time since 1949. The Flyers dominate the series 42-16-1, but the Tigers have captured two straight and seven of the last 10.
Other Game Notes:
Alta's first-ever game was an 8-0 loss to Jordan in 1978. The pair didn't meet from 1987 through '94 but played every year before and since. The Hawks lead the series 17-8 including a 14-13 nail-biter in 2010.
Bingham and Cottonwood last clashed in 2009, their only meeting since playing at least annually from 1977-2002. The Miners lead the series 18-13…. Bountiful and Cyprus haven't squared off since 2004; the Braves lead the series 7-2.
The last time North Summit fought Manti was for the 2008 Class 2A title; NS prevailed 31-28…. Juab defeated Park City 19-6 the last time these two met, in 2000, but the Miners have won seven of the 10 games in the series.
Payson and Uintah face off for the first time since 1971, a Lion win in the Class 2A playoffs. These teams also split contests in 1952 and '54…. Judge has a 2-1 series edge over Spanish Fork, but they haven't played since 1976.
Some Notable Performances:
Richfield and Enterprise opened their contest with back-to-back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns, an event believed to be unique in Utah prep history. Wildcat Ryley Cunningham dashed 85 yards, Enterprise's Sage Palmer returned the favor on an 86-yard sprint and Richfield's Braden Hampton then stunned the Wolves with an 80-yard gallop. Fans entering the stadium just 45 seconds into the contest saw Richfield already ahead 14-6. Scoring slowed down a bit after that as Richfield went on to win 31-28.
Mentioned by others, but worth mentioning again: Lehi ran for 601 yards last week against Payson, just the second time a team has rushed for at least 600 yards and only 13 off the state record held by Park City (614 vs. Uintah, 2007). The Pioneers completed just one pass for 27 yards and the teams combined for 959 total yards.
In that game, Lehi's Zane Munger scored six touchdowns and scampered for 309 yards, the 49th time a Utah prep gridder has rushed for more than 300 yards. Three such performances occurred just last year – Springville's Marcus Case (370), Monticello's Devin Wright (343) and West's Anetipa Vaisagano (303).
Meanwhile, in Lone Peak's wild 56-41 win over Highland, Chase Hansen amassed 551 yards of total offense, fifth most all-time.
At Milford, Duchesne scored all of its 42 points in the first quarter in shutting down the Tigers 42-6. That ties with five others for the 14th most-points scored in a quarter and the most since just last year when Park City also tallied 42 in the first quarter against American Leadership. In 2009, Milford was on the other side when it racked up 44 points in the first quarter against Whitehorse.
And Long Runs:
Last week, Herriman's Brandon Farmer ran 99 yards for a touchdown against Copper Hills while Beaver's Parker Fails returned an interception the same distance vs. Parowan and Pine View's Wesley Moeai grabbed a pick-six for 98 yards in a loss to Dixie.
The season's longest punt return took place when Delta's Christian Hatch ran 83 yards to score against Park City. Orem's Matt Gay booted 2011's longest field goal – a 54-yarder – in the Tigers' 52-35 win over Provo.
Spanish Fork's Hayden Nielsen has accrued nearly 7,000 yards of total offense in his three-year career. With 6,970 yards, he currently ranks seventh all-time. He's passed for 5,705 yards, putting him 13th all-time, but just 165 yards shy of 10th place.
On the receiving end, West Jordan's Martavius Redmond is 12th all-time with 1,885 reception yards while teammate DeShawn Perkins follows in 13th with 1,854. However, Perkins has more catches – 151, which ranks third all-time – and Redmond has 134, in sixth place.
In the kicking game, Highland's Hayes Hicken has booted 138 career extra points, good for fifth all-time and just two away from tying for fourth. Hicken has hit 20 field goals – the seventh most all-time. Dixie's Austin Barker became the 20th Utah prep athlete to connect on at least 100 PATs.
San Juan leads state in winning margin, 37.0 points-per-game, and has allowed just 10 points in last three games. With Richfield, Enterprise and South Sevier (3-9 combined) the next three weeks, the Broncos have a shot a maintaining that top position.
For several years, Jordan has been among the top offensive teams, averaging at least four TDs a game every season since 2005 and scoring an average of over 37 points since 2009. But defense? – not so much. The 'Diggers average margin of victory has been less than a touchdown each season over the same time. So far, this year is a different story: the Beetdiggers still rank high in points-scored (32.3) but lead 5A in fewest points allowed, 8.3 per game (tied with Davis) and victory margin, 24.0 ppg (Lone Peak is next, winning by 21.0 ppg).
Jordan at Alta is a huge Region 3 contest this week, but on Saturday, September 24, both will host teams from opposite coasts in a double-header (of sorts) at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Beetdiggers will take on the Notre Dame (Lawrenceville, N.J.) Irish at 1 p.m. and the Hawks will play the William Howard Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) Toreadores at 7 p.m.
Notre Dame was 9-0 and 8-1 the past two regular seasons, but lost its first-round playoff game both years. The Irish defeated Lawrence 48-0 in their 2011 season opener and host the West Windsor-Plainsboro North Knights (wow! try to get that mouthful printed on uniforms) this week. (Upon returning to the Garden State, the Irish play the West Windsor-Plainsboro South Pirates.)
Taft lost its opener to Dorsey, 10-3, and plays Notre Dame (of Sherman Oaks, not New Jersey) this week.
According to the Rio Tinto website, Notre Dame and Taft will arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and after practices on Friday afternoon, all four teams will enjoy a banquet at Rio Tinto.
The Rio Tinto website has ticket and more information about the event, teams and schools.