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.
Extra Point 1: Syracuse is the first No. 4 seed to get to the semifinals since … Judge, last year. But in 5A, it's the first since Skyline did in 2005 and won the championship.
Extra Point 2: The Titans have allowed more than two touchdowns in a game just twice this season.
Extra Point 3: A Fremont victory secures a 10-win season for the second year in a row and the third time in school history.
Lone Peak (12-0) vs. Jordan (10-2) – 2:30 p.m.
Series history: Lone Peak leads 2-0.
Last meeting: The Knights conquered the 'Diggers 35-30 on Oct. 8, 2010 at home.
Coach vs. Coach: LP's Tony McGeary is 2-0 vs. Jordan's Eric Kjar.
Current winning streaks: Lone Peak 12, Jordan 3.
Lone Peak's last semifinal: 2010, lost to Fremont 20-14. This year marks the Knights' second straight semifinal after a five-year drought. They last made the finals in 2004.
Jordan's last semifinal: 2010, fell to 5A champ Bingham 51-23. Before last year, Jordan hadn't been to the semis since 1998 when they advanced to the championship and lost to Skyline.
Lone Peak's playoff record (13th appearance in 15 seasons): 17-12; semifinal record: 2-2.
Tony McGeary's playoff record (fourth appearance in four seasons): 5-3; semifinal record: 0-1.
Jordan's playoff record (41st appearance in 102 seasons, 11 state titles): 47-29; semifinal record: 11-7.
Eric Kjar's playoff record (third appearance in three years): 4-2; semifinal record: 0-1.
Extra Point 1: In the postseason under McGeary, Lone Peak has advanced deeper each year. The Knights made the first round his first year, the quarterfinals his second and the semifinals last season.
Extra Point 2: LP has its most-ever victories, surpassing 2010's 11-win season.
Extra Point 3: The high-scoring Knights have tallied at least 35 points in 10 of its 12 games while Jordan has put up 32 or more in nine of its 12 contests.
Extra Point 4: Jordan seeks its landmark 500th victory to become just the seventh school to hit that mark.
Extra Point 5: The Beetdiggers reached double-digit wins for the first time since 1998 and for just the 10th time in their 102-year history.
Extra Point 6: Jordan has scored in 84 consecutive games, the third longest current streak and 22nd longest in state history. It's not a school record though. The Beetdiggers scored in 88 straight games from 1984-92.
Class 4A Semifinals, Thursday
(Only Bountiful repeats from last year)
In contrast with 5A and 3A, these semifinalists have all won state championships with a combined 34 titles.
Logan (12-0) vs. Bountiful (8-4) – 11:00 a.m.
Series history: Bountiful leads 8-3.
Last meeting: Logan 56-31 on Sept. 2 (Week 3) at home.
Coach vs. Coach: Bountiful's Larry Wall is 5-2 vs. Logan's Mike Favero.
Current winning streaks: Logan 12, Bountiful 4.
Logan's last semifinal: 2007, clobbered Wasatch 48-24 en route to winning the 3A championship over Judge.
Bountiful's last semifinal: 2010, lost to Mountain Crest 42-35. Before that, the Braves hadn't made the semis since 2003 when they advanced to the title game as defending 4A champs and defeated Logan.
Logan's playoff record (45th appearance in 93 seasons, six state championships): 47-38; semifinal record: 13-6.
Mike Favero's playoff record (12th appearance in 13 seasons [missed in '09], three state championships): 22-8; semifinal record: 4-1.
Bountiful's playoff record (36th appearance in 56 seasons, five state titles): 47-30; semifinal record: 9-4.
Larry Wall's playoff record (25th appearance in 27 seasons, four state titles): 33-20; semifinal record: 5-4.
Extra Point 1: Logan is 12-0 for first time since 1978, matching its best-ever start, and enjoying its eighth double-digit win season and first since 2007.
Extra Point 2: Bountiful hasn't missed playoffs since 2000; its 11-year streak is the longest of the 12 semifinalists outside of Timpview, which has been in the tournament 22 straight years.
Extra Point 3: Logan returns to the semis after a three-year drought, the longest in Favero's coaching history.
Extra Point 4: Logan leads the state in scoring offense, 44.4 p.p.g. and has scored at least 28 points every game and over 40 eight times.
Extra Point 5: Favero and Wall have combined for seven state championships, the most of any coaches paired up in the semifinal round.
Extra Point 6: Wall has coached 307 of Bountiful's 597 games – over 51% – and 209 of the Braves' 354 victories, or 59%. He's also directed 53 of Bountiful's 77 playoff games (69%), claiming 33 of its 47 postseason victories (70%) and four of the Braves' five state titles.
East (11-1) vs. Timpview (10-2) – 2:30 p.m.
Series history: East leads 3-2, all postseason matchups.
Last meeting: Timpview tripped the Leopards 10-7 on Nov. 10, 2006 in a 4A semifinal at the U.
Coach vs. Coach: First meeting between East's Brandon Matich and Timpview's Louis Wong.
Current winning streaks: Timpview 9, East 2.
East's last semifinal: 2006, lost to 4A champion Timpview 10-7. The Leopards last qualified for the title tilt in 1996 when they squashed Timpview 37-0 for 4A honors.
Timpview's last semifinal: 2009, defeated Mountain Crest en route to winning the 4A championship.
East's playoff record (39th appearance in 98 seasons, 15 state championships): 45-23-2; semifinal record: 13-5-1.
Brandon Matich's playoff record (sixth appearance in seven years): 6-5, including 3-4 at Park City (2005-09) and 3-1 at East (2010-11); semifinal record: 0-2 at Park City. He only missed taking a team to the playoffs his first year, 2005.
Timpview's playoff record (31st appearance in 35 seasons, eight state titles): 56-22; semifinal record: 9-6.
Louis Wong's playoff record (seventh appearance in seven seasons; four state championships): 20-2; semifinal record: 4-0.
Extra Point 1: Even though Timpview missed the semifinals last year, the T-birds are in the semis for the fifth time in six seasons and the eighth time in the past 10.
Extra Point 2: Timpview has won 130 games since 2000, failing to hit double digits only in 2001 and 2005.
Extra Point 3: The Thunderbirds enjoy their school-record sixth straight 10-win season and 14th overall. Only Skyline has more consecutive double-digit win seasons, 10, from 1995-2004.
Extra Point 4: East last celebrated a 10-win season – its seventh – in 1996, the Leopards' 13-0 championship season.
Extra Point 5: Wong has a stellar 77-9 (.895) record in seven seasons at Timpview while Matich sports a glossy 19-4 (.826) record in two years at East.
Extra Point 6: East's tie in the semifinals occurred in 1925 when the Leopards and West dueled to a scoreless tie. Payson and South Sevier also tied 0-0 in the other semifinal. No state final was held and all four received state crowns.
(Only Hurricane repeats from the 2010 semifinal round)
None of these semifinalists have won a state title in 11-man football. Spanish Fork, Cedar and Hurricane are three of the six schools that have played the most seasons without winning a championship. (Cedar captured the 6-man crown in 1941 and Hurricane won in 1947 and '48.)
Only Park City (104 seasons) and North Sanpete (96) have competed more years than Spanish Fork (92) without winning a championship.
The Dons have never even played in the finals. They're second only to North Sanpete in the number of seasons played without making a championship-game appearance.
Wasatch has battled for 88 years without winning a state title, followed by Cedar, in its 65th season and Hurricane in its 63rd.
Hurricane (11-0) vs. Spanish Fork (9–3) – Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Series history: First meeting.
Coach vs. Coach: First meeting between Hurricane's Chris Homer and SF's Matt Christensen.
Current winning streaks: Hurricane 11, Spanish Fork 5.
Hurricane's last semifinal: 2010, defeated Delta 38-7 before losing to Juan Diego in the finals for the third straight year. A Tigers win puts them in their seventh championship contest.
Spanish Fork's last semifinal: 1995, lost to Box Elder 54-26 at USU.
Hurricane's playoff record (31st appearance in 63 seasons): 23-30; semifinal record: 6-2.
Chris Homer's playoff record (eighth appearance in ten seasons): 13-7; semifinal record: 3-1.
SF's playoff record (29th appearance in 92 seasons): 16-28; semifinal record: 0-5.
Matt Christensen's playoff record (sixth appearance in six seasons): 5-5; first semifinal.
Extra Point 1: Hurricane is in the semifinals for the fourth year in a row for the first time in school history. In the process, it became the 14th school to win at least two playoff games over four consecutive seasons.
A victory this week elevates the Tigers to elite status. They'd become just the third team to win three playoff games over the course of four consecutive seasons. Hurricane would join Skyline (won three postseason contests for nine straight years, 1995-2003) and Timpview (won three playoff games over four straight seasons, 2006-2009).
Extra Point 2: With a win, the Tigers reach 12 season victories for the fourth time, matching 2005, '08 and '10. They're trying to equal their best-ever start, 12-0 in 2005, when they lost to Logan in the semis.
Extra Point 3: Hurricane has won 46 games from 2008-11, tied with Bingham and just three behind Juan Diego's 49 for the most victories during those four seasons.
Extra Point 4: Spanish Fork has prevailed in nine games just once before, in 1996. Thus, a victory guarantees the Dons their first-ever double-digit win season.
Extra Point 5: SF has been in postseason action the past ten years while Hurricane has for the last seven.
Desert Hills (8-3) vs. Cedar (6-5) – Friday, 5:00 p.m. at Dixie St.
Series history: Cedar leads 4-0.
Last meeting: Cedar whipped the Thunder 48-20 on Oct. 19 (Week 10) at home.
Coach vs. Coach: Cedar's Todd Peacock is 6-3 vs. DH's Jake Nelson, including a 3-3 split when Nelson was at Dixie from 2002-07.
Current winning streaks: Cedar 4, DH 2.
Desert Hills makes its first semifinal appearance.
Cedar last made the semis in back-to-back appearances in 2003 and 2004 but since 1998 hasn't advanced to the finals, where it's 0-3.
DH's playoff record (fourth appearance in four seasons): 3-3.
Jake Nelson's playoff record (ninth appearance in nine seasons, third in three seasons at DH): 8-8, including 5-6 at Dixie (2002-07) and 3-2 at DH (2000-11). Semifinal record: 0-2, at Dixie.
Cedar's playoff record (36th appearance in 65 seasons): 25-35; semifinal record: 3-8.
Todd Peacock's playoff record (22nd appearance in 25 seasons; 18th appearance in 21 seasons at Cedar): 20-21, including 0-1 at East Carbon (1987), 1-3 at North Sanpete (1988-90) and 19-17 at Cedar (1991-2011); semifinal record: 1-4, including 0-1 at North Sanpete and 1-3 at Cedar.
Extra Point 1: Desert Hills has its most victories in its four-year history.
Extra Point 2: DH is one of four schools to qualify for the state tournament every year the school has played (joining Rich – 27 years, Herriman – 2 and Diamond Ranch – 1).
Class 2A Finals
Manti (10-1) vs. Millard (9-2) – Saturday, 1 p.m. at Pleasant Grove High School
Series history: Millard leads 19-8, but Manti has a three-game streak going against the Eagles. This is their first championship-game matchup.
Last meeting: The Templars nipped Millard 20-14 on Oct. 14 (Week 9) at home.
Coach vs. Coach: Manti's Cole Meacham is 5-1 vs. Millard's Marshall Sheriff. Both have coached for 12 seasons, since 2000.
Current winning streaks: Manti 9, Millard 2.
Manti's last final: 2008, lost to North Summit 31-28 at Timpview. The Templars captured championships in 1999 and 2003.
Millard's last final: 2007, lost to North Summit 30-6 at S.U.U. The Eagles' 13 state titles came from 1950-53, '58, '60, '76, '78, '81, '82, '88, '95 and 2001.
Manti's all-time record (44th season): 205-219 (.484); playoff record (26th appearance): 24-23 (.511); championship game record: 2-2 (.500).
Cole Meacham's all-time record (12th season): 88-41 (.682); playoff record (12th appearance): 14-10 (.583); championship game record: 1-2 (lost to Juan Diego in 2002, defeated Juan Diego in '03 and fell to North Summit in '08).
Millard's all-time record (86th season): 537-235-22 (.690); playoff record (59th appearance): 77-45 (.631); championship game record: 13-7 (.650).
Marshall Sheriff's all-time record (12th season): 102-35 (.745); playoff record (12th appearance): 15-10 (.600); championship game record: 1-2 (defeated San Juan in 2000, lost to San Juan in '06 and to North Summit in '07).
Extra Point 1: Manti's sole loss was to 3A Juan Diego while Millard lost only to Manti and 3A Delta.
Extra Point 2: Manti has its most victories since 2008 and its fifth double-digit win season. A state championship gives the Templars its most triumphs since its 13-0 season in 1999.
Extra Point 3: Millard is enjoying its most wins since going 11-1 in 2007.
Extra Point 4: In postseason action, Millard has the most appearances, 59 (Box Elder is second with 55), and games, 122 (Skyline has 114 and Delta 105, the only others with more than 100 state games). Millard has 77 playoff victories, second only to Skyline's 87.
Extra Point 5: Millard competes in its 21st championship game, a state record (Skyline is second with 20). Only Skyline (14) has won more title contests than Millard (13).
Extra Point 6: A Millard win assures the Eagles their 21st double-digit win season, tying them with (who else?) Skyline in leading the state.
Extra Point 7: Manti has improved 5 games from 5-6 last year to 10-1 this season. That's the second best turnaround in the state this year (to Stansbury's 6.5 game improvement).
Extra Point 8: This is the first championship game held at Pleasant Grove.
Class 1A Finals
Duchesne (11-0) vs. Layton Christian (6-5) – Saturday, 1 p.m. at Wasatch High
Series history: Duchesne leads 7-1. LCA's only series win came in 2008 in Duchesne.
Last meeting: Duchesne 56-12 on Sept. 23 (Week 6) at LCA.
Coach vs. Coach: Duchesne's Billy Hoopes is 3-1 vs. LCA's Will Hawes.
Current winning streaks: Duchesne 21, LCA 5. Duchesne has the longest current winning streak and 13th longest in state history (tied with two others). LCA started 1-5 before turning its season around and winning its last five contests.
Duchesne's last final: 2010, defeated Rich 21-14 in overtime. Duchesne added that trophy to its only other state crown, which it won in 2006. These Eagles compete in their third consecutive title game and fourth in six years.
It's the LCA Eagles' first championship game.
Duchesne's all-time record (41st season): 196-197-1 (.499); playoff record (32nd appearance): 22-29 (.431); championship game record: 2-3 (.400).
Billy Hoopes' all-time record (fourth season): 34-12 (.739); playoff record (fourth appearance): 6-2 (.750); championship game record: 1-1 (lost to Rich in 2009, beat the Rebels in 2010).
LCA's all-time record (eighth season): 29-48 (.377); playoff record (fourth appearance): 2-3 (.400).
Will Hawes' all-time record (fifth season): 21-28 (.429); playoff record (second appearance): 2-1 (.667). His only other trip to the tournament was in 2008 when the Eagles lost their first postseason game.
Extra Point 1: Duchesne has posted its third consecutive 10-win season and fourth in school history. A victory grants the Eagles their second undefeated season – they were 13-0 in 2006.
Extra Point 2: Duchesne is averaging 55.5 points in two playoff games. Tooele's 1928 team is the all-time leader – the Buffs averaged 57.0 points in three postseasons. To top that, Duchesne needs to score 61 vs. LCA, which isn't likely, but if Duchesne can score 39, it'd be just the sixth team to average 50 points in a playoff series. The others: Tooele 57.0 (1928), Dixie 55.3 (1972), Northridge 53.0 (2001), Highland 50.7 (1997) and Logan 50.3 (2005).
Extra Point 3: Duchesne's winning margin in the playoffs of 43.5 p.p.g. ranks third behind Tooele's 54.7 (1928) and Dixie's 45.3 (1972).
Extra Point 4: If LCA (6-5) upsets Duchesne, it'll be just the third team to win championship with five losses. Dixie won the 1998 3A title with a 9-5 record and Skyline won the 2005 5A crown, also with a 9-5 mark.
Extra Point 5: With a win, LCA becomes the first championship team that failed to make the playoffs the previous year since Grand in 2005.
Extra Point 6: Duchesne has scored at least 35 points in every game except against 3A Park City (won 27-21) and 2A Enterprise (won 28-21). The Eagles have shut out four of its last five opponents. The four shutouts are the most for Duchesne in a season since a school-record seven in 2006.
Extra Point 7: Duchesne has won its 11 games by a state-leading average of 33.8 points per game.
Extra Point 8: The 1A title contest is the first championship game held at Wasatch High.
Time to refresh the stats on a few of the leading players this year.
The past weeks have seen a pair of 500-yard performances by Jordan's Austin Kafentzis. In the first round against Davis, he passed and ran for 533 total yards, the 10th most on record. A couple of weeks earlier, he accumulated 510 yards of total offense, the 19th most in history.
Chase Hansen's 551 yards of total offense for Lone Peak on Sept. 9 still tops the charts this season and ranks fifth all-time.
Switching to season records, Kafentzis and Logan's D.J. Nelson have jumped into the top five among Season Total Offense leaders to make it an all Jordan-Logan affair:
1. Riley Nelson (Logan, 2005), 5,815
2. Alex Hart (Jordan, 20009), 4,986
3. McCoy Hill (Jordan, 2010), 4,659
4. Austin Kafentzis (Jordan, 2011), 4,412 and counting
5. D.J. Nelson (Logan, 2011), 4,322 and counting
In addition, Kafentzis became the 24th gridder to pass for more than 3,000 season yards – he's thrown for 3,082, which puts him 20th all-time. Nelson is poised to become the 25th to reach 3,000 passing yards – he currently has 2,939.
Nelson has the most TD passes this season, 43, which ranks fourth all-time. That's just 10 behind his brother, Riley, who set the record in 2005 and is well within striking distance of second-place Alex Hart's 46 (Jordan, 2009).
Nelson's also responsible for 64 touchdowns, and that ranks even higher all-time: second behind Riley's 84. Chase Hansen has jumped into 10th on the same list with 46.
Switching again, to career records, Spanish Fork's Hayden Neilsen became the fourth player to accumulate over 9,000 yards of total offense. He has 9,131, but needs 738 more to catch third-place Riley Nelson's 9,869 (Logan, 2003-05).
Neilsen is fourth all-time in passing yards with 7,331 and needs 293 to overtake Alex Hart (Jordan, 2008-09) for third. He's tossed 74 touchdown passes, sixth on the all-time list, but just five shy of second place.
In addition, he's seventh in career completions (480) and eighth in career attempts (810).
Meanwhile, there's a battle between Nielsen and D.J. Nelson in Career-TDs-Responsible-For: Nielsen ranks fourth with 95 while Nelson is fifth with 94.
And a couple of career performances lie just outside the Top-10: Chase Hansen has 6,174 yards of total offense – placing him 14th – with at least one game left. D.J. Nelson has connected on 63 touchdowns, tied for 12th all-time.
In the kicking game, Logan's Jake Thompson has booted on 65 PATs this season, the eighth most all-time, while Lone Peak's Trevor Robb has hit 60, tied for 15th most on the all-time list.
Highland's Hayes Hicken finished his career for the Rams with 24 field goals – tied for second most all-time – and 159 PATs – the third-most ever kicked.
Timpview's Tyler Solorzano is a baker's dozen behind with 146 career extra points, but that's still fourth best. Logan's Jake Thompson is in seventh with 135 PATs and Dixie's Austin Barker concluded his career in 12th place with 120.
From Last Week
Fremont's Nick Vigil rushed for 256 yards against Bingham, the most a player has racked up on the Miners since Alta's Sausan Shakerin rumbled for 276 yards in the 2006 5A championship game (which Bingham won). It's just the second time in Bingham's 88-year history that the Miners have given up more than 250 yards on the ground to a single player.
And despite losing in the quarterfinals, Juan Diego is 49-4 since 2008, the most wins in the state over the past four years. By comparison, Bingham and Hurricane are both 46-7, Timpview is 44-5 and San Juan is 43-3 during the same time frame. San Juan's .935 winning percentage is the best in the state over the last four seasons.