Take a look at the foursome earning 1990 Deseret News prep football MVP honors, and you'll be treated to a post-holiday smorgasbord of impressive performances in a wide variety of playing styles.
Skyline quarterback Joe Dupaix - a two-year starting quarterback who kept the Eagle wishbone attack clicking. Bountiful running back Chris Jones - a fast yet punishing runner who served as a scoring machine. Beaver's Branden Draper - a big-play quarterback who dished out big-time hits on defense. And North Summit's Matt Bates - a quick, powerful ground gainer bursting out of the single-back formation.The four MVPs lead off the 1990 Deseret News Coaches All-State Team, with 108 players in four size classifications earning first-team all-state honors.
Joe Dupaix, Skyline
Let's look at the numbers first for Eagle quarterback Joe Dupaix, the second-year starter who guided Skyline to a 12-1 record and 4A state championship behind a high-octane wishbone offense. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior rushed 151 times for 994 yards (averaging 6.6 yards a carry) and 18 touchdowns; and he completed 37 of 99 passing attempts for another 898 yards and eight TDs.
Dupaix directed a team that made 40-point efforts commonplace this season.
Consider then the rest of the Eagles' starting
backfield in the wishbone, with Jake Marshall rushing for 1,073 yards, Adam Kershaw for 727, and Trent Whitney for 642. So Dupaix not only earned his share of yards, but he served as conductor of the run-o-rama, score-o-rama Skyline offense.
And the statistics could have been even more lopsided. "These poor guys - we got so far ahead that they didn't play the fourth quarters in nine games," said Skyline Coach Roger Dupaix.
The oldest of nine children, Joe Dupaix is in fact the coach's son - but he wasn't born and bred with the quarterback's role specifically in mind. In fact, the younger Dupaix played running back and wide receiver until the ninth grade, when he asked for a shot at QB. A year later, he led the Skyline sophomore team to an undefeated season while running the complex wishbone system.
"I knew then, when he was a sophomore, that he was going to be good because it was the same offense as the varsity," said Roger Dupaix.
Add to an unbeaten sophomore season Joe Dupaix's record as a starting varsity quarterback - only two losses in two seasons. Last year, the Eagles' sole defeat was in the 4A semifinals to eventual state champion Kearns; this year, the loss came in the regular season to Highland
Chris Jones, Bountiful
You could make a case for a number of MVP-type candidates from the 3A state champion Braves, who finished the year with a glossy 13-0 record as Utah's only undefeated prep football team. Aaron Roderick served as a triple threat at wide receiver, defensive back and return specialist; linebacker Kory Andreasen remained as the core of a stingy defense; and quarterback Austin Lindsey averaged better than 20 yards a completion.
And then there's Chris Jones. The bruising, big-yardage running back is representative not only of the Braves' potent offensive attack but of a strong field of 3A running backs this season, what with Dixie's Tyler Wilkinson, Bear River's Jared Burnham, Springville's John Penrod and others.
The 6-foot, 195-pound senior carried 241 times for 1,446 yards and 27 touchdowns in the Braves' 13 games - and that TD total includes a dozen scores in the four 3A playoff games.
And in Bountiful's 3A title victory over Bear River, Jones rushed for 182 yards and four touchdowns. The fourth TD was perhaps the sweetest, with Jones following his previous trio of short-yardage scores with a touchdown gallop of 94 yards.
"He's a quality kid," said Bountiful Coach Larry Wall. "He's just unbelievable as far as his work habits - he goes above our requirements on our own. He's one of the emotional leaders as well, and we relied heavily on him all year."
Branden Draper, Beaver
A starting quarterback for two and a half seasons, Branden Draper completed 67 of 140 passes for 1,252 yards during his senior season. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder initiated both of the Beavers' touchdowns in their 2A championship victory over Park City, tossing a pair of scoring passes to Cody Erickson - one of 10 yards and the other for 82 yards.
"What he is, is a winner - and a director of the game," said Beaver Coach Alan Raddon. "He did whatever the defense allowed him to do. He was also unselfish, allowing his teammates to work to their best abilities."
Not only did Draper come up with the big plays on offense, he also delivered the big blows on defense, intercepting eight passes and returning four of them for touchdowns.
"He was my big-play defensive hitter - he liked that kind of play," said Raddon of Draper as a defensive back. "Some teams just stopped coming inside on him."
Matt Bates, North Summit
The single-back offense of the two-time 1A titlist Braves seemed well-suited for fullback Matt Bates, and Bates seemed well-suited for the offense. The result - 174 carries for 1,435 yards (an average of 8.2 yards per run) and 12 rushing touchdowns, as well as 15 receptions for another 322 yards and another five TDs.
In all, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior finished with 114 points scored for North Summit. In the Braves' 1A title game, he rushed for more than 150 yards before an ankle injury sidelined him midway in the third quarter.
"We built the offense around him," said North Summit Coach Rick Harrison. "We started him at the slot, then moved him to fullback for the third game and he rushed for more than 100 yards in every game after that."
His best game was against Dugway, when he ran for 232 yards on 24 carries. And in the 1A title triumph against Monticello, he earned 150-plus yards before being sidelined with a ankle injury in the third period.