1A high school football preview: Diamond Ranch at Rich

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 25 2011 12:11 a.m. MDT

Diamond Ranch (5-4) at Rich (4-5)

1A state tournament quarterfinal

Friday, 2 p.m.

Parry's Power Guide: Rich by 7

All-time series: Rich leads 1-0

Coach vs. coach: Rich's Ashley Brown leads Diamond Ranch's Robby Dias, 1-0

Last meeting: Oct. 14, 2011, Rich 21, Diamond Ranch 0 (At Rich)

No team is more of a mystery heading into the 1A playoffs than Rich.

Regarded as one of two teams with a shot at challenging Duchesne for the state title — albeit a slim one — Rich lost to Layton Christian 12-7 in the regular-season finale last Wednesday.

For a Rich team that had beaten Layton Christian by scores of 51-7 and 48-7 the past two years, it was a stunning way to end the regular season.

"We just made too many mistakes at Layton Christian, turned it over too much," said Rich coach Ashley Brown. "You just can't do that and expect to win."

Rich turned it over four times against Layton Christian, including two inside its own 5-yard line.

Heading into this Friday's quarterfinal game against first-year school Diamond Ranch, the Rebels will definitely be focused on protecting the football.

Rich beat Diamond Ranch 21-0 in a region game just a few weeks ago, but Brown isn't taking anything for granted in the rematch.

"They throw the ball really well, they have a good QB and they do a good job with their passing game. That's going to be an emphasis this week," said Brown.

Senior quarterback Kyle Atchison has been very good this season, throwing for 11 TDs while rushing for six more.

Brown said Rich will try and confuse Atchison with different blitzes and coverages like they did in the previous meeting. Diamond Ranch is coming off a bye, and it has had two weeks to prepare for the rematch with the Rebels.

The key for Rich in this No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed quarterfinal game will be establishing the run. When Austin Groll and Kaden Thomson get going, the Rebels have been tough to stop this year. In most of their five losses, they haven't been able to establish the ground game.

The Rich/Diamond Ranch winner faces the Monument Valley/Duchesne winner at Wasatch High School in the 1A semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 11 a.m.

Diamond Ranch statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 23.0 ppg

Scoring defense: 24.2 ppg

Passing leader: Kyle Atchison (74-139, 53.2%, 1,061 yards, 14 TDs)

Rushing leaders: Anthony Atleework (43 carries, 329 yards, 8 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Joey Fisher (14 receptions, 242 yards, 4 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Not provided

Sacks leaders: Gavin Moore (4.5 sacks)

Interceptions leader: Joey Fisher (3 interceptions)

Note: Does not include stats from Week 6 and 7.

Rich statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 19.3 ppg

Scoring defense: 15.8 ppg

Passing leader: Austin Groll (40-83, 48.2%, 554 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT)

Rushing leaders: Austin Groll (83 carries, 639 yards, 7 TDs), Kaden Thomson (69 carries, 464 yards, 5 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Bracken Pinter (10 receptions, 55, 4 TDs), Brent Wallentine (12 receptions, 151 yards, 1 TD)

Tackles leaders: Not provided

Sacks leaders: Not provided

Interceptions leader: Not provided

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