In 5A, 4A and 3A, eleven of the 12 semifinalists also made the semis at least once in 2010 or 2011. The 12th team, Dixie, last made the semis in 2009.
The semifinals are rife with schools that have captured multiple state football crowns. Six of the participants have won a combined 52 championships. That's nearly 20% of all titles by about 5% of all schools. The list is led by East's 15 and Jordan's 11.
In 3A, one semifinal pairs teams with 11 combined championships – Dixie has six and Juan Diego five. The other pits schools – Spanish Fork (93 seasons) and Desert Hills (five seasons) – that have never won.
Jordan and Lone Peak return to Rice-Eccles for the third straight year while Desert Hills, East, Spanish Fork, Syracuse and Timpview appear in their second consecutive semifinals. (Incidentally, Timpview is back for the ninth time in 11 seasons.)
Even though these three missed last year, Bingham qualifies for the semis for the sixth time in seven seasons, Mountain Crest for the fifth time in six years and Juan Diego for the fourth time in five attempts.
In 1A, two-time defending champ Duchesne makes the title game for the fourth consecutive season and in 2A, defending champion Manti for the second. Including Rich and San Juan, the four finalists that play Saturday have won every 2A and 1A title the past three seasons.
Duchesne and Rich match up for the fifth time in the finals. Only Beaver and Kanab have met more times – seven – to decide a championship.
A Manti championship provides Cole Meacham an ancillary benefit: his 100th victory with the Templars…. Mark Wootton tries to guide Mountain Crest to the title game and snare his 75th win at the Mustang helm.
It's a landmark season for two teams as Spanish Fork and Syracuse enjoy their most-ever wins with 11.
This season, Jordan's Austin Kafentzis leads the state in total offense with 3,937 yards, which ranks 15th all-time and is about 100 yards shy of the Top-10. But its over 600 yards short of his 2011 performance. Kafentzis is responsible for 47 total touchdowns this year, tied for ninth-most all-time with three others.
One of those others is Timpview's Jake Lloyd. He enters the semifinals tied for third all-time in season touchdown passes with a school-record 46. He's also 17th in season passing yards (3,300). Over his career, Lloyd is seventh in TD passes (73).
One of Lloyd's go-to receivers, Dax Raymond, has hauled in 20 touchdown passes this season and is tied for second all-time with two others. He's just three off the state record.
Another receiver, Orem's Nolan Gray had a stellar season. He accumulated 1,514 reception yards, the fourth most on record and caught 17 touchdown passes, tying him with five others for the seventh most. He had 83 receptions this year, which puts him 11th all-time.
Gray's quarterback, Taylor Camp, finished his season 12th in all-time passing yards (3,480), tied for 19th in touchdown passes (36) and in the top 30 among season total offense leaders (3,641 yards). He's also eighth in all-time season passing attempts (420) and 12th in completions (231), both school records.
Camp completed his career ranked 11th in passing yards (6,446), and 12th in both attempts (789) and completions (426).
Alta's Chipper Lucero ended his season ranked ninth in completions (236) and 15th in both season passing yards (3,414) and touchdown passes (37) – all school records.
Dixie's Blake Barney has amassed 8,554 yards of career total offense, the fifth-most ever, and 6,913 passing yards, the eighth-most ever. He's attempted 775 passes (ranks 13th) and completed 419 (ranks 14th). He's also responsible for 81 career touchdowns (15th).
Among kickers, Northridge's James Baird, who kicked last year for Maple Mountain, concluded his career with 19 field goals, the same as Timpview's Tyler Solorzano and tied with four others for the 10th-most in Utah prep history.
Class 5A Semifinals – Thursday (Jordan, Lone Peak and Syracuse all repeat from last year)
Jordan has won 11 state championships, Bingham, seven and Lone Peak, one.
Syracuse (11-0) vs. Bingham (10-2) – 11 a.m.
Series history: Bingham leads 1-0.
Last meeting: The Miners handled the Titans 38-3 in a 5A quarterfinal on Nov. 6, 2009.
Coach vs. coach: Bingham's Dave Peck is 1-0 vs. Syracuse's Russ Jones.
Current winning streaks: Syracuse 11, Bingham 7.
Syracuse's last semifinal: 2011, lost to Fremont 21-14.
Bingham's last semifinal: 2010, defeated Jordan 51-21 en route to the 5A title.
Syracuse's playoff record (fifth appearance in six seasons): 7-4; semifinal record: 0-2.
Russ Jones' playoff record (eighth appearance in 11 seasons): 9-7, including 2-2 at Viewmont (2000-02), 0-1 at Woods Cross (2005-06) and 7-4 at Syracuse (2007-12). Semifinal record: 0-2.
Bingham's playoff record (40th appearance in 89 seasons, seven state championships): 44-32; semifinal record: 9-8.
Dave Peck's playoff record (18th appearance in 19 seasons, 13th at Bingham in 13 seasons): 28-14, including 1-1 at North Sanpete (1984), 1-4 at Cypus (1995-99) and 26-9 at Bingham (2000-12, three state titles). Semifinal record: 4-3, all at Bingham.
Extra Point 1: Bingham is gunning for its fourth championship game in five years.
Extra Point 2: Bingham has posted four shutouts and allowed more than two touchdowns in a game just twice this year, while Syracuse has also blanked four opponents, but allowed more than two TDs just once – last week against Alta.
Jordan (10-1) vs. Lone Peak (10-2) – 2:30 p.m.
Series history: Lone Peak leads 3-0.
Last meeting: The Knights booted the Beetdiggers 45-41 in the 2011 semifinals last Nov. 11.
Coach vs. coach: Lone Peak's Tony McGeary is 3-0 vs. Jordan's Eric Kjar.
Current winning streaks: Syracuse 11, Bingham 7.
Jordan's playoff record (42nd appearance in 103 seasons, 11 state titles): 49-30, semifinal record: 11-8.
Erik Kjar' playoff record (fourth appearance in four seasons): 6-3 semifinal record: 0-2.
Lone Peak's playoff record (14th appearance in 16 seasons, one state championship): 21-12; semifinal record: 3-2.
Tony McGeary's playoff record (fifth appearance in five seasons): 8-3, semifinal record: 1-1.
Extra Point 1: Although this game marks Jordan's third straight semifinal, the 'Diggers haven't advanced to the championship contest since 1998.
Extra Point 2: Jordan last made three consecutive semifinals in 1981, '82 and '83.
Extra Point 3: Jordan has scored at least five touchdowns in every game and 15 total in two playoff contests.
Extra Point 4: Since Tony McGeary took over at Lone Peak in 2008, the Knights have won 51 games, the most during any five-year span in their history.
Class 4A Semifinals – Friday (East and Timpview repeat from 2011)
The 4A semifinalists have all won state championships with a combined 31 titles.
Mountain Crest (10-2) vs. Highland (8-4) – 11 a.m.
Series history: Mountain Crest leads 6-5.
Last meeting: Highland captured the 2010 championship 37-36 in double-overtime on Nov. 19, 2010.
Coach vs. coach: MC's Mark Wootton is 4-3 vs. Highland's Brody Benson.
Current winning streaks: MC 9, Highland 3.
Mountain Crest's last semifinal: 2010, defeated Bountiful 42-35 before losing to Highland in the title game.
Highland's last semifinal: 2010, whipped Springville 46-21 en route to the 4A title.
MC's playoff record (24th appearance in 30 seasons, three state championships): 41-20; semifinal record: 6-7.
Mark Wootton's playoff record (18th appearance in 22 seasons, eighth in eight seasons at MC): 21-16, including 6-9 at North Sanpete (1991-2003) and 15-7 at MC (2004-12; one state championship). Semifinal record: 2-6 including 0-3 at NS at 2-3 at MC.
Highland's playoff record (39th appearance in 56 seasons, five state championships): 51-33; semifinal record: 9-8.
Brody Benson's playoff record (seventh appearance in seven seasons, one state title): 12-5, semifinal record: 2-0.
Extra Point 1: Mountain Crest has improved 4.5 games from 5-6 to 10-2 to join with three others in leading the state as the most improved teams this season.
Extra Point 2: The last time Highland entered the playoffs with an 8-4 record, in 2010, the Rams went on to win the 4A title.
Timpview (7-5) vs. East (5-7) – 2:30 p.m.
Series history: East leads 4-2, all postseason matchups.
Last meeting: East dropped the T-birds 24-10 in the semis on Nov. 10, 2011.
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Timpview's Cary Whittingham and East's Brandon Matich.
Current winning streaks: Timpview 7, East 3.
Timpview's playoff record (32nd appearance in 36 seasons, eight state titles): 58-23; semifinal record: 9-7.
Cary Whittingham's playoff record (first season): 2-0.
East's playoff record (40th appearance in 99 seasons, 15 state championships): 49-24-2; semifinal record: 14-5-1.
Brandon Matich's playoff record (seventh appearance in eight seasons and fourth in four seasons at East): 10-6, including 3-4 at Park City (2005-09) and 7-2 at East (2010-12). Semifinal record: 4-3, all at Bingham.
Extra Point: Timpview shoots for its fifth championship game in seven years and its sixth in nine seasons.
Class 3A Semifinals (Desert Hills and Spanish Fork repeat from last year)
Dixie has six championships and Juan Diego has five.
Desert Hills (8-3) vs. Spanish Fork (11-1)
Series history: First meeting.
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Desert Hills' Carl Franke and Spanish Fork's Kirk Chambers.
Current winning streaks: Spanish Fork 8, Desert Hills 5.
Desert Hills' last semifinal: 2011, defeated Cedar 23-21 at Dixie St. before falling to Hurricane in the championship.
Spanish Fork's last semifinal: 2011, lost to Hurricane 38-35.
DH's playoff record (fifth appearance in five seasons): 6-4; semifinal record: 1-0.
Carl Franke's playoff record (first year): 2-0.
SF's playoff record (30th appearance in 93 seasons): 18-29; semifinal record: 0-6.
Kirk Chamber's playoff record (first year): 2-0.
Extra Point 1: A Desert Hills victory gives the Thunder a school-high nine wins, matching last year's total.
Extra Point 2: Spanish Fork has 20 wins since 2011, the most in SF history over two-years.
Juan Diego (12-0) vs. Dixie (9-2)
Series history: Tied 2-2.
Last meeting: Juan Diego silenced the Flyers 41-0 in a first-round game, Oct. 28, 2011.
Coach vs. coach: JD's John Colosimo is 1-0 vs. Dixie's Blaine Monkres.
Current winning streaks: Juan Diego 12, Dixie 2.
JD's last semifinal: 2010, defeated Judge Memorial 13-7 in overtime en route to winning its third straight 3A championship.
Dixie's last semifinal: 2009, fell to Springville 29-21. The Flyers last advanced past the semis when they won the 3A title in 1998.
Juan Diego's playoff record (12th appearance in 13 seasons, five state championships): 26-6; semifinal record: 6-0.
John Colosimo's playoff record (20th appearance in 24 seasons, 12th in 13 seasons at JD): 31-14, including 5-8 at Judge Memorial (1985-96) and 26-6 at Juan Diego (2000-12, five state titles). Semifinal record: 7-0, including 1-0 at JM and 6-5 at JD.
Dixie's playoff record (39th appearance in 68 seasons, six state championships): 50-32; semifinal record: 8-15.
Blaine Monkres' playoff record (19th appearance in 23 seasons, fourth at Dixie in five seasons): 24-17, including 5-2 at Morgan (1990-03, one state title), 14-12 at Fremont (1994-2007) and 5-3 at Dixie (2008-12). Semifinal record: 2-7, including 1-2 at Morgan, 1-4 at Fremont and 0-1 at Dixie.
Extra Point 1: Juan Diego tried to advance to its fourth championship game appearance in five years.
Extra Point 2: The Soaring Eagle have compiled a 61-4 record, best in the state, since 2008.
Extra Point 3: Dixie's nine season wins is the most for the Flyers since 1998.
Class 2A Championship
Manti (10-1) vs. San Juan (11-0) – Saturday, 11 a.m. at Pleasant Grove high School
Series history: San Juan leads 11-5.
Last meeting: Manti conquered the Broncos 26-13 in a 2A semifinal on Nov. 8, 2008.
Coach vs. coach: Manti's Cole Meacham is 2-1 vs. San Juan's Monty Lee.
Current winning streaks: San Juan 11, Manti 9.
Manti's last final: 2011, defeated Millard 27-9 for its third championship trophy.
San Juan's last final: 2010, trimmed South Summit 19-6 for its sixth state title.
Manti's playoff record (27th appearance in 45 seasons): 27-23; championship game record: 3-2.
Cole Meacham's playoff record (13th appearance in 13 seasons): 17-10; championship game record: 2-2.
San Juan's playoff record (38th appearance in 57 seasons): 54-31; championship game record: 6-6.
Monty Lee's playoff record (10th appearance in 10): 16-6; championship game record: 3-1.
Extra Point 1: By winning, San Juan not only celebrates its seventh state title, but also the Broncos' fourth undefeated season, joining the 1989, 2000 and 2010 squads. (The 2000 team went 13-0, the most victories in school history.)
Extra Point 2: Manti's only loss came to 3A power Juan Diego. Excluding that game, the Templars have outscored opponents 365-85 in 10 contests.
Class 1A Championship
Duchesne (11-0) vs. Rich (8-3) – Saturday, 2 p.m. at Pleasant Grove High School
Series history: Rich leads 21-14.
Last meeting: Duchesne blasted the Rebels 40-8 in Week 8, Oct. 5, at Rich.
Coach vs. coach: Rich's Ashley Brown and Duchesne's Jerry Cowan are tied 3-3.
Current winning streaks: Duchesne 33, Rich 3.
Duchesne's last final: 2011, blasted Layton Christian 35-9 and claimed its third consecutive title.
Rich's last final: 2010, lost a 21-14 heartbreaker in overtime to Duchesne.
Duchense's playoff record (33rd appearance in 42 seasons): 25-29; championship game record: 3-3.1 comment on this story
Jerry Cowan's playoff record (sixth appearance in six seasons, 2003-07 and 2012): 9-4, championship game record: 1-0.
Rich's playoff record (28th appearance in 28 seasons): 32-22; championship game record: 5-6.
Ashley Brown's playoff record (13th appearance in 13 seasons): 18-10, championship game record: 2-4.
Extra Point 1: A Duchesne victory gives the Eagles their fourth state title and third undefeated season, joining the 2006 and 2011 teams.
Extra Point 2: Duchesne's last loss came at the hands of South Summit on Aug. 27, 2010.