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4A high school football preview: Box Elder at Maple Mountain

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25 2012 8:15 a.m. MDT

Box Elder (6-4) at Maple Mountain (9-1)

4A state tournament first round

Friday, 5 p.m.

Parry's Power Guide: Box Elder by 16

All-time series: First meeting

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Box Elder's Robbie Gunter and Maple Mountain's Brad Burtenshaw

Had Timpview not been forced to forfeit two region victories, Maple Mountain would've finished third in Region 8 and had the unenviable task of opening the playoffs at defending state champion Logan. Instead, the Golden Eagles find themselves at home this Friday and in a great position to win their first game in school history.

CJ Hildebrand poses a threat on both sides of the ball for the Golden Eagles, and will lead the home team as it searches for a win in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Hildebrand has eight rushing touchdowns under his belt, and has shined on the defensive side of the ball by recording 118 tackles with five interceptions.

Quarterback KJ Hall has tossed six TDs this season for Maple Mountain, but has been most productive on the ground with 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"It's the time of the year when we are grateful to be playing, and grateful to have the opportunity to go down and play Maple Mountain," said Box Elder head coach Robbie Gunter. "They're a newer school, but they are doing great things. They're doing great things with the program, and we're exicted about the opportunity."

Breckin Gunter and Rasten Yeates will be leading the Box Elder defense, and will be looking to capitalize on any chance Hall will give them. Hall already has tossed seven interceptions in 2012, while Gunter and Yeates have combined for 196 tackles they also have three interceptions.

"I think most games come down to who makes the fewest mistakes, and that's what this game is going to come down to," said Gunter. "Whose going to make the fewest mistakes, and if you can capitalize on the other teams mistakes that helps too."

Shad Watson comes into Friday's matchup just 21-yards shy of eclipsing the 1,000 yard passing mark. Watson has heaved eight touchdowns, but has also thrown eight interceptions in the 2012 campaign.

"(Shad) does a great job, and he's excited too," said coach Gunter.

Kyler Allen and Kasen Flinders will be in charge of the ground game for Box Elder, having garnered 14 scores between the pair. While Allen has done the majority of rushing with 712 yards, compared to 306 for Flinders, the juniors should expect a heavy load. Sophomore Matt Williams will surely have his number called on Friday, having rushed for 212 yards and five TDs.

"Advancing in the playoffs is the No. 1 thing. It'd be a great way to keep the season going," said Gunter. "The kids have played hard all year, and have committed to the effort of getting to the point we are at. Right now you can earn a week of practice, and that's what it pretty much comes down too."

For Maple Mountain, a third consecutive trip to the postseason could be the charm as the Golden Eagles are sitting on a 0-2 record in first round playoff games.

Channing Merrill has hauled in five touchdowns from his QB Hall, and Cole Casper fills the role as a second rushing threat with five TDs and 448 rushing yards this season.

Box Elder statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 24.8 ppg

Scoring defense: 14.0 ppg

Passing leader: Shad Watson (64-141, 45.4%, 979 yards, 8 TDs, 8 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Kyler Allen (149 carries, 712 yards, 9 TDs), Kasen Flinders (39 carries, 306 yards, 5 TDs)

Receiving leaders: McKay Parrish (24 rec., 380 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Breckin Gunter (107 tackles), Rasten Yeates (89 tackles)

Sack leaders: Keaton Ayotte (4 sacks), Jayk Brooks, Darius McFarland, Alex Werling (3 sacks)

Interception leaders: Jayk Brooks, Breckin Gunter, Jake Tolman (2 INTs)

Maple Mountain statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 26.9 ppg

Scoring defense: 18.2 ppg

Passing leader: KJ Hall (72-125, 57.6%, 830 yards, 6 TDs, 7 INTs)

Rushing leaders: KJ Hall (159 carries, 1,015 yards, 6 TDs), CJ Hildebrand (59 carries, 331 yards, 8 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Channing Merrill (31 rec., 391 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles leaders: CJ Hildebrand (118 tackles), Drew Bates (68 tackles)

Sack leaders: Mike Matties (6.5 sacks)

Interception leaders: CJ Hildebrand (5 INTs)

Felts Facts for Box Elder High School

All-time record: 536-306-25 (96 years)

Region championships: 35 (1919, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966 co, 1968, 1982, 1983 co, 1984 co, 1992 co, 1995, 1996, 2001 co, 2003, 2004 co, 2010 co)

Playoff appearances: 56 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 41-47-1

State championships: 8 (1926, 1928, 1935, 1945, 1946, 1946, 1957, 1960, 1995)

State championship record: 6-10-1

Felt's Factoid(s): Box Elder's 92 meetings with Bear River is the longest uninterrupted active rivalry in state history, having been played every season since 1923. The winner has taken home a traveling trophy, the Golden Spike, since 1959. ... Box Elder holds the record for most consecutive undefeated, untied regular seasons with four (tied with two others). The Bees didn't lose a regular season game from 1933 through 1936.

Felts Facts for Maple Mountain High School

All-time record: 19-23 (4 years)

Region championships: 1 (2012)

Playoff appearances: 3 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 0-2

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-0

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