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5A high school football preview: Northridge at Lone Peak

Published: Thursday, Nov. 3 2011 8:00 a.m. MDT

Northridge (8-3) at Lone Peak (11-0)

5A state tournament quarterfinal

Friday, 4 p.m.

Parry's Power Guide: Lone Peak by 20

All-time series: Series tied 1-1

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Northridge's Erik Thompson and Lone Peak's Tony McGeary

Last meeting: Aug. 29, 2003, Northridge 17, Lone Peak 16.

They'd better get plenty of extra lightbulbs and maybe even a backup generator for the scoreboard when Lone Peak and Northridge — two valiant bands of Knights in shining armor who also happen to be two of the state's highest-scoring squads — square off in the 5A quarterfinals on Friday.

Top-ranked Lone Peak, with quarterback Chase Hansen leading the way, piles up points to the tune of nearly 41 per game. The Southern Knights have scored less than 35 points in a game only twice all season long.

Hansen has already thrown for over 2,200 yards and an eye-popping 33 touchdowns this season. If that's not enough, he's also Lone Peak's leading rusher with 900 yards and 10 more TDs.

"Chase Hansen is the best football player I've seen in 10 years coming out of this state — not just the best quarterback, but the best football player," said Northridge coach Erik Thompson, whose team faces the unenviable task of trying to slow down the Southern Knights' brightest star. "He runs the ball extremely well, he throws the ball on the button and he can play defense, too. He's a great leader and has a warrior-type mentality, so we've definitely got our hands full."

Hansen's top receiving targets are Connor Humphrey, Zac Saunders and Micah Hannemann, who have combined for 85 catches, good for more than 1,500 yards and 26 TDs between them.

What's more, the undefeated Knights allow less than 15 ppg, with Matt Gowdy and Kurtis Taufa leading a stingy defensive effort for a squad which has already matched the school record for single-season wins with 11.

Northridge quarterback Karson Casteel is certainly no slouch, either, as he's thrown for nearly 2,700 yards and 22 touchdowns, along with nine more rushing TDs. David Adams gives the northern Knights another potent offensive weapon, with nearly 1,200 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns to go along with more than 700 receiving yards and seven more TDs. Christian Schlicte adds more than 900 yards receiving with four touchdowns for Northridge.

"It could be a very good matchup," Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary said. "They put a lot of points on the board and so do we. We hope we can continue to do the same thing. And we're preparing ourselves defensively to try and slow them down some.

"It very well could be a shootout. Both offenses are pretty well-seasoned into what they've been doing all year. We're focusing on our defense and feel like we've got some improvements we can make to get better. If we can slow a team like that down, it will benefit our game plan even better.

"They've got a very long and tall quarterback (Casteel), so we'll have our work cut out for us," McGeary said. "And Adams is such a big part of their offense. He can run the ball and he'll catch the ball out of the backfield, too, so he can be a dangerous offensive weapon for them."

Austin Tate and Kalen Larsen lead the Northridge defense, whose 23.6 points per game allowed probably has the Lone Peak offense licking its chops.

And although Northridge enters Friday's duel as a decided underdog, coach Thompson and his team are taking a "Why not us?" approach when it comes to their chances of knocking off those "other" Knights, the ones who haven't lost all season long.

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