Not since 2006 have all three defending champions in the largest classifications been eliminated before the semifinals. Of the 12 semifinalists, a whopping seven have never won a state football championship, including three teams in 5A and all four in 3A.
Last week, the three in 5A, Fremont, Syracuse and Lone Peak, ousted Bingham, West and Northridge, which have won a combined 17 state championships.
Southern Utah Party
Region 9's Hurricane, Desert Hills and Cedar are all in the semis – the first time since 2007 that three teams from the same region have advanced to the semifinals in 5A, 4A or 3A. In 2007, then-Region 10's Wasatch, Union and Judge competed in the 3A semis, but Logan, from then-Region 11, won the title.
Incidentally, moving the DH-Cedar contest to Dixie State makes sense for the teams and fans. But it's the first time since 2004 that a semifinal or championship game in the three largest classifications hasn't been at Rice-Eccles Stadium. That year, Pine View defeated Dixie in a 3A semi at Dixie State.
Two years ago, No. 1 seeds filled 11 of the 12 semifinal spots in the three largest classifications. Last season, just eight top-seeded teams occupied those berths. That number dropped to six this year. It's the fewest No. 1 seeds to advance to the semis since 2005 when only five did.
The 2005 season was also the last time that two lower seeded teams made the semis. This year, No. 4 Syracuse and No. 3 Cedar join four No. 2 seeds as the gatecrashers.
Only top-seeded teams have won championships in the three largest classifications since 2006 other than Highland, which snared the 4A title last year as a two-seed. Skyline was the last four-seed to surprise the field by grabbing the 5A trophy in 2005.
Class 5A Semifinals, Friday
(Fremont, Jordan and Lone Peak all repeat from last year)
Of the four semifinalists, only Jordan has won a state championship.
Fremont (9-2) vs. Syracuse (8-3) – 11:00 a.m.
Series history: Fremont leads 3-2.
Last meeting: The Silver Wolves captured a 15-3 victory at home on Oct. 7 (Week 8).
Coach vs. Coach: Fremont's Kory Bosgieter and Syracuse's Russ Jones are tied 3-3 including a 1-1 split in 2001 and 2002 when Bosgieter was at Weber and Jones at Viewmont.
Current winning streaks: Fremont 7, Syracuse 3.
Fremont's last semifinal: 2010, defeated Lone Peak 20-14 before falling to Bingham in the championship. The Silver Wolves make their second straight trip to the semis, but just their third over the past ten seasons. Fremont has advanced to the finals twice, last year and in 1995.
Syracuse's only semifinal: 2008, lost 5A champion Alta 42-14.
Fremont's playoff record (15th appearance in 18 seasons): 20-14; semifinal record: 2-4.
Kory Bosgieter's playoff record (eighth appearance in 13 seasons, third at Fremont in four seasons): 9-6, including 4-4 at Weber (1994-2002; 4A championship in '99) and 5-2 at Fremont (2008-11). Semifinal record: 2-0 (including 1-0 at Weber, 1999).
Syracuse's playoff record (fourth appearance in five seasons): 5-3; semifinal record: 0-1.
Russ Jones' playoff record (seventh appearance in ten seasons): 7-6, including 2-2 at Viewmont (2000-02), 0-1 at Woods Cross (2005-06) and 5-3 at Syracuse (2007-11). Semifinal record: 0-1.