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
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."
"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)
Rushing leaders: Austin Peterson (145 carries, 730 yards, 6 TDs), Viliami Sekona (75 carries, 404 yards, 5 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Malcolm Card-Turner (29 rec., 537 yards, 4 TDs)
Sack leaders: Luti Nonu (3.5 sacks), Nolan Groesbeck (2.5 sacks)
Interception leaders: David Kocher (5 INTs)
Orem statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 36.6 ppg
Scoring defense: 22.2 ppg
Passing leader: Taylor Camp (207-375, 55.2%, 3,138 yards, 35 TDs, 9 INTs)
Receiving leaders: Nolan Gray (73 rec., 1,330 yards, 16 TDs), Tyler Valdez (38 rec., 576 yards, 7 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Not provided
Sack leaders: Not provided
Interception leaders: Not provided
Felts Facts for Highland High School
All-time record: 378-215-3 (56 years)
Region championships: 15 (1958, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1986, 1987, 1988 co, 1996, 1997, 2003 co, 2004 co, 2005 co, 2006 co, 2007 co, 2009)
Playoff appearances: 39 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 50-33
State championships: 5 (1959, 1961, 1963, 1989, 2010)
State championship record: 5-4
Felt’s Factoid(s): Highland holds the record for biggest comeback in state history. Down 28-0 to Bonneville in the second quarter of a 1995 playoff game, Highland scored 31 straight points to win 31-28.
Felt’s Facts for Orem High School3 comments on this story
All-time record: 477-272-21 (84 years)
Region championships: 25 (1935 co, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 co, 1974, 1985 co, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 co, 2000 co, 2004 co, 2012)
Playoff appearances: 49 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 48-43
State championships: 3 (1962, 1968, 1994)
State championship record: 5-7
Felt’s Factoid(s): Tiger Jared Harper is the only Utah prep player with a 99-yard run in a state playoff game (1996 quarterfinals).