From Week 1 of the preseason until the last trophy was handed out inside Rice-Eccles Stadium last Friday, the 2007 prep football season produced a host of memorable moments. At the Deseret Morning News, we staffed more than 20 games during each week of the season and covered almost every single playoff game. From all of those contests came dozens and dozens of memories.
Here are a few of our favorites.
Alta 21, Bingham 17
(Friday, Nov. 9)
At Rice-Eccles Stadium, at the end of the Alta-Bingham 5A semifinal game, two Bingham players collapsed on the field. One on his knees, the other on his stomach. That's when Kaden Carli left the celebrating Hawks and knelt down next to the Bingham players and whispered just what a competitor needs to hear at a moment like that.
"I just told them, 'I know how this feels. You're great football players; keep your heads up,"' said Carli. "I've been where they're at, and it helps to have someone from the (other) team say something to you." Amy Donaldson
Logan 21, Delta 20
(Friday, Nov. 11)
At Logan High, Logan junior safety Jordan Ballam produced one of those you-would-only-believe-it-if-you-were-there memories, and it's doubtful that anyone who was inside Logan's picturesque stadium that afternoon will forget it anytime soon.
What made what Ballam did so unbelievable is the fact that it was encore performance.
Trailing 20-14 with just over a minute remaining, Logan's playoff hopes looked bleak against Delta in the 3A quarterfinals.
However, after forcing Delta to punt, the snap sailed over the head of the Delta punter. The ball was jarred loose as the Delta punter attempted to retrieve the ball, and Ballam picked it up and scooted 14 yards to the end zone.
A week earlier, Ballam recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to give Logan a miraculous come-from-behind win over Park City.
Logan's resident miracle-maker went on to enjoy one of the greatest defensive postseasons in Utah prep history. In addition to those two fumble recoveries, Ballam came up with three more fumble recoveries, two interceptions and a blocked punt during Logan's semifinal and final wins over Wasatch and Logan, respectively. Dan Rasmussen
American Fork 62, Timpanogos 46
(Friday, Sept. 21)
At American Fork, the offensive fireworks in this game produced one of the highest-scoring battles ever. The Cavemen running backs had a field day, rushing for 559 yards and eight touchdowns. Chris Wernli had 240 of those yards and didn't even play the final 14 minutes. Siosifa Militoni added 178 yards.
Timpanogos quarterback Christian Stewart had a pretty impressive game himself, passing for 450 yards and five TDs. Taylor Lyons also scored four touchdowns for the Timberwolves, including a 99-yard kickoff return.
By jumping out to a 28-6 lead, the Cavemen were able to hold off Timpanogos' late charge of four touchdowns in the final 12 minutes. Twice, after the T-Wolves scored, the Cavemen scored on the very next offensive play. Jim Rayburn
Wasatch 27, Judge 14
(Friday, Oct. 5)
At Judge High, Wasatch running back Jake Salazar had a great game. He pounded through the Bulldogs for 99 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a sack and returning an interception for a score to help the Wasps topple No. 1 Judge.
The best part?
It was the first time his older brother, Colton, had ever seen him play in high school. Colton had missed all of Jake's previous games because he was on an LDS mission or at Purdue to wrestle. Jody Genessy
North Sanpete 20, Delta 13
(Friday, Sept. 21)
At Delta High, this game had an unforgettable performance and a moment a former football coach would likely rather forget.
The Hawks' 6-foot-4 tight end Russ Christenson provided the highlight(s), hauling in five catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.
Longtime Delta coach Dean Fowles, who coached the Rabbits for 20-plus years, has probably tried to suppress his memory of what happened at halftime. As part of homecoming festivities, Fowles, now the school's principal, had to lay a big smooch on a pig.
It is uncertain whether Fowles or the swine squealed louder. Jody Genessy
Judge 23, Juan Diego 9
(Friday, Sept. 21)
At Judge Memorial, the Judge-Juan Diego rivalry gets better and more intense every year, and this year's clash before a packed house in Judge's sparkling new football stadium was no different.
Even though Judge won 23-9, this game was in doubt well into the fourth quarter.
With five minutes remaining, Juan Diego running back Vince Romero pounded his way to the goal line on a first and goal, with one official indicating touchdown and the other the ref closer to the play signaling he was down at the one-inch line.
What a momentum swing that call turned out to be for Judge.
Instead of tying the game on the next play, Juan Diego fumbled the snap with Judge recovering it in the end zone. Nine plays later Judge iced the game on a four-yard touchdown run. James Edward
Brighton 7, Hunter 0
(Friday, Aug. 31)
At Hunter High, with defensive coordinator Mitch Lunak in the hospital with an injury, his Brighton defense dedicated this game to him. The defense played so hard for Lunak, in fact, that it held on for a dramatic 7-0 shutout victory over Hunter,
The game a battle of winless teams was practically flawless until the final two minutes. However, Brighton running back Mike Hanna scored a touchdown with 52 seconds remaining, and the Bengals held on to win one for their coach. Tim Yanni
Layton 49, Skyline 0
(Friday, Nov. 2)
At Layton High, it was a streak that had been building over a span of 21 years and 262 games. Even the state's top defense needed one last big play to kill it.
The Lancers met Skyline owner of a state record scoring streak in a 5A quarterfinal game. They forced several turnovers through four quarters to keep the Eagles out of the end zone.
A potential shutout appeared in jeopardy as Skyline marched down field in the final minute. Until Tanner Johnson got his hands on a final pass in the end zone and wrapped the ball up tight.
At that moment, Layton had finally killed a streak older than anyone on the team's roster with a 49-0 rout.
"It's unbelievable," linebacker Chad Willson said after the game. "I'm happy we could be the team to do it." John Coon
Pine View 45, Las Vegas 12
(Friday, Aug. 24)
At Pine View High, the Panthers scored an astonishing 32 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, rendering the final 38 minutes of the game an exercise in clock management and junior varsity playing time.
Pine View jumped on the two-time defending Nevada state champions from the get-go, as the Panthers scored on a pair of touchdown passes by Nick Marinko, a TD run by Justin Ence, an interception return by Logan Black and a blocked punt and recovery by Taylor Harris.
The Wildcats, who are playing in the Nevada state semifinals this weekend, have become a border rival with the Panthers and an early gauge on how the Pine View season will turn out. It seems if the Panthers can beat the Wildcats, they're on their way to a big season, like 2007's 13-1 campaign. Andy Griffin
Juan Diego 48, Ben Lomond 13
(Saturday, Oct. 27)
At Juan Diego Catholic, the pressures of fund raising for a privately funded parochial school were on full display when Juan Diego hosted Ben Lomond in the 3A state quarterfinals.
Even public schools have booster clubs to drum up sponsorships, but watching the Soaring Eagle provides new perspective into how private schools put helmets on players and finance the field and bleachers.
Throughout Juan Diego's matchup with the Scots, the announcer periodically would say, "That tackle sponsored by ...," or "This field goal attempt brought to you by ...," The constant wave of advertising was so unusual in a high school setting that many in the crowd began anticipating the next on-field promotional moment.
"This water break brought to you by ...," said one fan. Brad Plothow
Bountiful 19 Viewmont 17
(Friday, Aug. 31)
At Bountiful High, the rivalry between the Bountiful Braves and Viewmont Vikings saw one of its greatest games played in Bountiful earlier this season. The stands on each side were packed and the game came down to the final seconds.
The Vikings led through most of the game, but with minutes left in the fourth, Bountiful, down 17-16, drove to the 21-yard line, where Kicker Ammon Schwab split the uprights from 38 yards to give the Braves the lead with just 10 seconds left. Bountiful survived the final seconds and won, 19-17. Chris Watson
Grand 21, Manti 7
(Friday, Oct. 26)
At Grand High, with less than two minutes remaining before halftime in their quarterfinal playoff game, the Grand County Red Devils trailed the Manti Templars 7-6. Manti had the ball at midfield, but Grand's Austin Brewer stepped in front of the intended receiver and picked off Griffin Aste's pass on third-and-14.
Red Devil quarterback Gordon Garrett then completed a long pass to Clay Cowan, followed by a pass to Brewer at the 6-yard line. One play later, Garrett connected with Cowan for a 6-yard TD reception.
Garrett's pass attempt to Brewer for the two-point conversion was good, putting the Red Devils up 14-7 at the half. The key interception followed by the three consecutive pass completions all of which happened in exactly one minute of game time had turned the tide in Grand's favor. Jeff Richards
Spanish Fork 34, Hunter 30
(Friday, Sept. 14)
At Spanish Fork, for three quarters it looked like the Dons were no match for the Wolverines' powerful running game. However, Spanish Fork earned the thrilling homecoming win by scoring three touchdowns in a 90-second span in the fourth quarter.Two early TDs by Hunter tailback Muka Atiga, who finished with 226 yards rushing, and a reverse TD by Dominic Perry and a 19-yard TD catch by Robert Siale on the final play of the first half, gave the Wolverines a 27-13 lead. But with about six minutes left in the game, the momentum took a major shift with Matt Gardner's interception. Four plays later, Breck Lewis connected with Richard Wilson to cut Hunter's lead to 30-20. Hunter then fumbled, and Lewis found Dallin Naulu in the end zone to cut the lead to 30-27. Spanish Fork then recovered an onsides kick, and scored the game-winning TD on a 23-yard run by Trevor Randolph. Jim Rayburn
Riverton 20, Kearns 17
(Friday, Oct. 12)
At Riverton, Mike Miller showed how classy of a coach and person he is after his Silverwolves edged the Cougars in a hard-hitting overtime clash. After junior Danny Hoffman scored an OT TD, Miller celebrated briefly with his team but then spent a while consoling the dejected Cougars far longer than opposing coaches usually do. Miller said the Kearns' games are always hard to coach because he is a Cougar alum and former assistant. It was definitely a nice showing of sportsmanship. Jody Genessy
Jordan 36, Bingham 35
(Friday, Sept. 7)
At Bingham High, this wild game not only included the Beetdiggers' shocking upset victory over the then-top-ranked Miners and a ton of offense, suspense and twists, it also featured the longest field goal ever booted by a Utah high school student-athlete.
BYU-bound kicker Justin Sorensen call him the Pele of Pigskin nailed a 62-yard field goal (actually 62 1/2, if you want to get really accurate) at the end of the first half to kick his way into the Utah prep record books.
His long boot also trimmed Jordan's lead to 28-17. Though playing the second half without injured running back Sam Langi, the Miners fought back on two TJ Ford touchdowns (a 65-yard run and an 85-yard punt return) to go ahead 29-28.
Chaun Cook, who threw for 334 yards and four TDs, helped Jordan regain the lead with a 40-yard scoring strike to Darren Carter. After an interception, Ford trimmed the 'Diggers lead to 36-35 with his third touchdown late in the game. Jordan earned the victory, snapping the Miners 17-game winning streak, by denying Bingham for the third time on a two-point conversion attempt. Jody Genessy
Davis 3, Viewmont 0
(Friday, Sept. 28)
When is a 3-0 game exciting? When a huge goal-line stand punctuates a stellar defensive effort. The Viewmont Vikings had first-and-goal at the Davis 2-yard line after a turnover, but the Darts held their ground on four straight plays en route to the shutout.
"I was almost speechless about (the goal-line stand)," said Davis coach Ryan Bishop. "When our defense held on first and second down, I thought, 'Hey, we have a good chance to hold them."'
The Darts' defensive line had four sacks on the night as Davis defended its home turf on homecoming night. Robert Trishman