Offenses always garner the most notoriety when it comes to football, but defenses almost always wins championships.
That’s what the six No. 1 teams in their respective classifications in Utah are banking on this season.
Bingham, Corner Canyon, Sky View, Summit Academy, South Summit and Duchesne are all playing lights-out defense through the first six games of the season this year, and it’s no surprise that five of the six are undefeated heading into Week 7.
Bingham, the top-ranked team in 6A, headlines that list of dominant defenses. It has recorded two shutouts, is only allowing 8.6 ppg and hasn’t given up a first-half touchdown in the past month.
“Our guys are pretty relentless and I think that contributes to those back-to-back plays that teams need to sustain drives,” said Bingham coach John Lambourne, who credits defensive coordinator Karl Cloward and five other assistant defensive coaches for getting his players ready each game.
“That’s a lot of guys working hard to make a lot of good things happen,” said Lambourne.
Bingham had a pair of defensive touchdowns in Bingham’s 56-7 win over Westlake on Friday.
It faces potentially its toughest defensive assignment of the year this week when it takes on Lone Peak in a showdown that will likely determine the Region 4 title.
Corner Canyon’s defense has been nearly as dominant, and a big reason why is its own scoring proficiency. The Chargers have scored points defensively in all five games, with four defensive touchdowns and a safety.
“Our defense has done it all year,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar after his team’s convincing 44-7 win over Timpview on Thursday. Timpview came into the game averaging 25.8 ppg but rarely moved the ball past midfield against Corner Canyon in rainy conditions.
Sky View has vaulted to the top of the pack in 4A with a defense that is allowing only 13.8 ppg. That’s almost exactly what the Bobcats conceded on Friday night in a 16-13 win over rival Mountain Crest in a battle of undefeated teams.
“Our guys are tough and they’re playing fast. That’s one of the most important things for us playing fast and swarming to the ball,” said first-year Sky View coach Danilo Robinson. “We’re also creating turnovers. We work on creating turnovers constantly, talk about it and drill. Creating turnovers is the name of the game.”
Summit Academy has been an offensive juggernaut this year, averaging 42.0 ppg to lead Class 3A, but the defense has come up big as well in holding teams to 13.3 ppg.
The Bears have found themselves in close games in the second half of a handful of games this year, but they’ve only allowed three total touchdowns in the second half of their past four games, which has allowed them to pull away for the easy wins.
South Summit has scored more points than any team in the state with 275, but the defense has been no slouch either in conceding only 10.3 ppg.
In wins over quality programs San Juan, Morgan and Beaver, the Wildcats only allowed one touchdown.
Duchesne, the top-ranked team in 1A, is the only No. 1 with a loss this year, which came against 3A’s Richfield in Week 4.
Excluding that game, Duchesne has only allowed 9.8 ppg in its five victories. On Friday night, it got a big defensive touchdown from Jack Roberts, which set the tone in the 21-12 win over No. 2 Milford.