High school football: State champs all tabbed as teams to beat in 2014

Published: Monday, July 14 2014 11:45 p.m. MDT

as Bingham High School and Lone Peak High School play in the 5A State football semi-final Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in Salt Lake City.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

The high school football season is still over a month away, but it’s no secret who everyone is gunning for this season.

In fact, in the Deseret News’ annual preseason coaches rankings all six defending state champions begin the season ranked No. 1 in their respective classifications. All six were nearly unanimous No. 1s too.

After tallying all the coaches' votes, Bingham, Timpview, Desert Hills, Judge, South Summit and Duchesne begin the season with the bull’s-eye on their backs. It’s hard to argue with the coaches’ championship predictions either as they lost a combined six games all of last year.

Bingham (5A) and Duchesne (1A) are both coming off perfect seasons, and both have the personnel to make a run at perfection again.

The Miners return six defensive starters from a team that finished 2013 ranked No. 15 nationally, according to USA Today. Offensively they return underrated quarterback Kyle Gearig, who burst onto the scene as a junior last year.

This the fifth-straight year Bingham begins the season ranked No. 1 in the Deseret News preseason rankings.

Led by big-time recruit Osa Masina, last’s year 5A runner-up Brighton begins the year ranked No. 2 after receiving four first-place votes.

Jordan checks in at No. 3 led by 2012 Mr. Football winner Austin Kafentzis. The Wisconsin-bound quarterback could break nearly every significant offensive record in state history this season, but another state championship is what he really covets.

Herriman and Davis round out the 5A top five.

In 4A, buoyed by last year’s impressive run to the state title — which included an impressive win over No. 1 East in the title game — Timpview received every first-place vote but two. With Britain Covey back at QB, and Gabe Reid on the defensive line, the tradition-rich T-Birds have an excellent foundation to lean on.

East will begin the season ranked second after coming up short in the 4A title game a year ago.

Logan, Wood Cross and second-year Corner Canyon round out the top five.

In 3AA, Desert Hills received all but one first-place vote to claim early bragging rights in the larger of the 3A classifications. A year ago, Desert Hills finished third in its region, but avenged regular-season losses to Dixie and Pine View with playoff wins to clinch the state title.

The Thunder lost a lot of talent to graduation, but running back Bridger Cowdin and defensive lineman Boogie Sewell are among the best players in 3AA.

Led by BYU commit Kody Wilstead, Pine View begins the year ranked No. 2, followed by Juan Diego, Dixie and Hurricane.

Defending 3A state championship Judge topped the 3A voting by a wide margin, while Juab, Morgan and Manti were bunched very tightly to round out the top four.

In 2A, rivals South Summit and North Summit check in at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, which has the makings of a very exciting game when they meet on Oct. 10. The 2A South region rounds out the top five with San Juan, Beaver and Grand.

In 1A, record-shattering Duchesne is the obvious front-runner.

The Eagles begin the season on a state-record 47-game winning streak and with five returning starters they’re poised to win a fifth-straight state championship. After losing in last year’s championship by one point after a failed two-point conversion, No. 2 Rich is hungry for a shot at Duchesne.

2014 Deseret News preseason high school football rankings