Brighton (5-3) at Fremont (7-2)
5A state tournament first round
Friday, 3:30 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: Fremont by 9
All-time series: Fremont leads 2-0
Coach vs. coach: Fremont's Kory Bosgeiter leads Brighton's Ryan Bullett, 1-0
Last meeting: Aug. 26, 2011, Fremont 20, Brighton 15
It's not often that two teams who have already met once during the regular season wind up squaring off against each other again in the opening round of the state playoffs.
But that's the case Friday when Region 1 champion Fremont takes on a very tough Brighton ballclub at Plain City in what could very well be the best first-round 5A matchup of the day.
The Bengals wound up in a three-way tie for second place with Jordan and Cottonwood in the Region 3 race, but Brighton lost the tiebreaking coin flip and wound up with the league's No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
"We drew a No. 2 seed that just wasn't very lucky in a coin toss," said Fremont coach Kory Bosgieter. "That No. 4 seed is very deceiving.
"We've got to stop their power run game, and any team that's got that good of a power run game has got a good play-action pass game, too. Defensively, they jump around a lot with a lot of movement, so our guys have got to be on their toes.
"They're a real good team," Bosgieter said of the Bengals. "This is not one of those games where it's 'let's walk into the first round and start getting ready for the second round.' It's definitely going to take a good football game on our part in all three phases to beat 'em."
Fremont and Brighton have already met once this season, with the Silver Wolves coming away with a 20-15 victory over the Bengals two months ago in the second week of the 2011 campaign. In that contest, Fremont led 7-0 entering the fourth quarter, and each team scored two touchdowns in a wild final period.
"We've changed a lot since then, but so have they," Bosgieter said. "Everybody's a lot better than they were in Week 2 or we would've already turned our gear in by now.
"I'm happy with our progress. And now it's a new season and we want to go out and do what we do well."
Fremont will have its sights set on getting back to the 5A state championship game, where the Silver Wolves were beaten by Bingham last year. It's a glorious goal which the Wolves could be capable of reaching, as the combined record of the two teams that beat Fremont this season — Jordan (8-2) and East (9-1) — is a sparkling 17-3.
Since dropping their season opener to Jordan, the Silver Wolves have won seven of their last eight games, including five straight on their way to sweeping the Region 1 title with a perfect 5-0 record. In those five league victories, the Wolves outscored their opponents by a whopping margin of 152-24 — an average margin of victory of around 30-5.
"Our kids played well through the region season," Bosgieter said. "I think our whole schedule, the preseason plus our region, has prepared us for what's to come."
Three other 5A playoff teams — Northridge, Davis and Syracuse — couldn't come closer than 12 points of the Silver Wolves, and when Fremont plays its very best, it is awfully good, as its wins of 50-0 over Weber and 40-0 over Layton would certainly attest.
The Silver Wolves allowed just 10 total points in their last four games combined and have given up more than 20 only once all season long. They've allowed an average of less than 10 points per game to their opponents this season.
Running back Nick Vigil leads the Wolves' offense with over 700 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, and they like to alternate quarterbacks Kelley Cooper and Jordan Preator with difference play packages.
"Nick's just a good football player," Bosgieter said of Vigil. "He's very good on defense for us at strong safety and returns kicks for us as well."
Bosgieter admits that reaching last year's 5A title game may have actually hurt the Silver Wolves at times this season, since that showing served to put a bull's-eye on the Wolves' backs for their opponents to shoot at.
"I don't think going all the way to the finals helped us early in the season at all," he said. "I think it actually took it's toll on us a little bit. I think we thought some things would come easier to us than they did this year."
Brighton, meanwhile, suffered its only other two losses to a couple of 5A playoff teams, Cottonwood (49-37) and powerful Alta (21-0), and the Bengals' season-opener against Davis ended in a scoreless tie when a power outage forced the game to be canceled at halftime.
Brighton quarterback Andy Jones has thrown for 11 touchdowns this season, while Brayden El-Bakari and Uaea Masina have combined for more than 200 carries, nearly 1,100 yards rushing and a dozen touchdowns.
Brighton statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 20.6 ppg
Scoring defense: 15.6 ppg
Passing leader: Andy Jones (88-162, 54.3%, 1,064 yards, 11 TDs, 10 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Brayden El-Bakari (102 carries, 566 yards, 6 TDs), Uaea Masina (100 carries, 511 yards, 6 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Brayden El-Bakari (79 total tackles), Andrew Kenney (42 total tackles)
Sacks leaders: Thomas Peterson (2 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Uaea Masina, Elias Fairman (2 interceptions)
Fremont statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 27.3 ppg
Scoring defense: 9.7 ppg
Passing leader: Kelley Cooper (90-169, 53.3%, 1,233 yards, 10 TDs, 6 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Nick Vigil (133 carries, 702 yards, 11 TDs), Jordan Preator (74 carries, 503 yards, 3 TDs)
Sacks leaders: Josh Talbot (4.5 sacks), Jake Gallegos (3 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Carson Child, Jordan Preator (3 interceptions)