4A high school football preview: Highland at Orem

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Highland (7-4) at Orem (8-3)

4A state tournament quarterfinal

Friday, 4 p.m.

Parry’s Power Guide: Highland by 12

All-time series: Orem leads 5-4

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Highland’s Brody Benson and Orem’s Tyler Anderson

Last meeting: Oct. 30, 2009 (4A first round) — Highland 34, Orem 0

The Highland-vs.-Orem matchup pits two teams with completely different offensive philosophies that enjoyed similar success this season. Orem and its 8-3 record presents a pass-happy spread system, while a 7-4 Highland team likes to keep it on the ground with its triple-option attack.

The Highland offense presents a unique challenge for an Orem team that competes in pass-happy region 8.

"Highland runs a similar offense to what we saw with Mountain View, but no, we have not gone against many option teams like that," said Orem coach Tyler Anderson. "Highland will be one of the most physical teams with the most powerful running attack that we've faced so far."

Highland coach Brodie Benson anticipates a similar challenge, but for different reasons.

"That's a very explosive team down there with what they run," said Benson. "We haven't seen a lot of spread teams this year, but that's a team that will try and stretch you on defense and if you're not prepared for what they do, they'll put up a lot of points and a lot of yards on you."

Orem comes in having put up at least 36 points in eight of its last nine contests and has, not surprisingly, won each of those 36-plus point games. In the first round of the 4A playoffs the Tigers put up 41 on Sky View, but also gave up 31.

"We made a lot of mistakes last week that we need to clean up," sand Anderson. "Even on offense a lot of our execution wasn't where it needed to be and we let them get off to an early lead and we can't do that against Highland and hope to win again."

Highland is a team that thrives on gaining early leads and then using a lot of ball-control to stunt comeback bids.

"A big key for us all year is to chew up a lot of clock and we'll try and do that against Orem," said Benson. "We're not a team that likes to play catch-up and we had to do that a bit last week against Olympus. We can do it and I'm proud of how our kids came back and fought, but we want to get up early on a team like Orem."

Highland woke up late against Olympus to outscore the Titans 17-0 in the fourth quarter to secure its 20-14 win. The Rams were led again by quarterback Austin Peterson and running back Viliami Sekona.

"We really need to contain their option and it starts with shutting down their quarterback and their fullback," note Anderson. "They have great players at those positions that can really hurt you if you let them."

Orem features quarterback Taylor Camp, who has thrown for over 3,000 yards on the year. Camp will be looking primarily for receiver Nolan Gray, who has compiled 73 receptions and 16 touchdowns.

"With the way they play and how that offense is they're never out of it," said Benson. "We're going to need a great defensive effort throughout the game and we can't let up. We need to cut down on the stupid personal-foul penalties we had last week and be much better in our overall execution."

Highland statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 23.3 ppg

Scoring defense: 15.9 ppg

Passing leader: Austin Peterson (54-131, 41.2%, 939 yards, 6 TDs, 8 INTs)