4A high school football preview: Bountiful at Mountain Crest

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

Bountiful (9-2) at Mountain Crest (9-2)

4A state tournament quarterfinal

Friday, 4 p.m.

Parry’s Power Guide: Mountain Crest by 7

All-time series: Mountain Crest leads Bountiful, 4-3

Coach vs. coach: Mountain Crest’s Mark Wootton leads Bountiful’s Larry Wall, 4-1

Last meeting: Nov. 12, 2010 (4A semifinal) — Mountain Crest 42, Bountiful 35

HYRUM — A rich winning tradition is a wonderful thing.

And ever since their existence, it seems, Mountain Crest and Bountiful have fielded two of the more successful high school football programs in Utah.

Over the last decade or so, each school has a pair of state championships, with the Mustangs taking home titles in 2001 and 2005, with the Braves claiming the coveted crown in back-to-back years, 2002 and 2003.

And they know each other well, too, having tangled every year from 2005-08 and squaring off in the 4A semifinals in 2010.

The two teams' coaches — Bountiful's venerable Larry Wall and his Mountain Crest counterpart, Mark Wootton — are two of the most well-respected prep coaches in the state.

And they have great respect for each other's programs, too.

Thus, the stage is set for a dandy playoff duel when the Braves and Mustangs lock horns Friday afternoon in a 4A quarterfinal clash in Cache Valley.

"They're pretty big and physical," Wootton said in sizing up the Braves. "They've got a couple of big running backs that are well over 200 pounds, including one kid who goes around 235 and another one who goes 205, and they're just a lot bigger than we are.

"That one kid (Jakob Hunt) has over 1,400 yards, and he's big and fast and breaks a lot of tackles. We'll have to get a lot of people to him to stop him. He's a big, physical kid. He's a legitimate football player, fast and strong, and when you watch him on film he really does run hard and breaks tackles.

"If we can withstand the pounding, that'll be the key," Wootton said. "Hopefully we can get 'em to fumble the ball. Physically we're quite outmatched size-wise, but Mountain Crest always seem to be undersized a little bit, for some reason. But one of our biggest assets is we have good team speed."

In this showdown between two 9-2 teams, Mountain Crest brings an eight-game winning streak into Friday's contest, while Bountiful has won seven of its last eight games.

Each of them won handily in last week's opening round of the 4A state playoffs, with the Region-5 champion Mustangs stampeding Timpanogos 38-6 while the Braves skunked Skyline 35-6.

Wall, who has spent 27 seasons as Bountiful's head coach and leads the state among active coaches in career games coached (308) and victories (209), knows his team will have its hands full Friday.

"It's a tough one," he said of their upcoming matchup. "We've had a good rivalry with Mountain Crest over the past years and we've got a lot of respect for them. They've got a good program. We know they're a top-notch outfit.

"Every year we've played em, they've been very potent on offense. They always score a lot of points, play fast, and do a lot of different things. They're pretty balanced. They've always been a good offensive football team and present a lot of problems for you. They're multi-faceted and can run the ball well and throw the ball well, too."

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