We feel like we have a better chance at winning when we can control the clock and control the line of scrimmage. —Springville coach Willy Child
Alta (6-4) at Springville (8-3)
5A state tournament quarterfinals
Friday, 4 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Alta by 11
All-time series: Springville leads 1-0
Coach vs. coach: Springville’s Willy Child leads Alta’s Alema Te’o, 1-0
Last meeting: Nov. 11, 2016 – Springville 42-14 (4A semifinal)
Contrasting styles will be matched when Alta travels to take on Springville in the quarterfinal round of the 5A state playoffs. Alta seems to thrive in a wide-open and high-scoring game, while Springville opts for a more traditional between-the-tackles-ball-control approach.
The Red Devils' approach won out last year, as they got by the Hawks in the semifinal round by a convincing 42-14 margin. It all left Alta coach Alema Te'o impressed with what Springville presents.
“They are so good at running the football. It’s real impressive and we got a full dose of it last year,” Te’o said. “They execute their blocking scheme as well as anyone, so we really have to be sound and assignment-sound upfront. It’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
Springville is using the same approach it has in its consecutive runs to the state championship game. It's an approach that led it to a perfect 5-0 mark in Region 8 play, earning the No. 1 seed with a largely rebuilding team that does include several players who have been part of the team's recent success.
“A lot of kids on our team have contributed during those runs,” said Springville coach Willy Child. “So yeah, it’s a big thing with those kids being able to draw on the experience. Also, we had to make a run to win region and we earned two home games and we feel that’s an advantage for us, having home field.”
Child is aware of how explosive the Hawks can prove and is focused on playing the game on his team's terms.
“We feel like we have a better chance at winning when we can control the clock and control the line of scrimmage,” Child said. “So we want to play our game and when we do I feel like we have a good chance to come out on top.”
Alta's season has been up-and-down, although Te'o believes his players have a far better focus late in the year, having slogged through a tough Region 7 schedule before hitting all cylinders in a 52-6 blowout over Roy in the first round.
“We’re starting to figure things out,” Te’o said. “It’s taken a while for the guys to get together, but I feel that’s happening. I’ve felt the mentality has been good to finish off the season and into the playoffs, and we’ll need to be that much more mentally tough to beat Springville.”
Playing in Region 7 has contributed to improving Alta's overall mentality, given how competitive the teams have proved throughout the year.
“We’ve played in the toughest region in the state, so yeah, we feel like we’ve been in the playoffs for the last couple of months,” Te’o said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if any of the four teams making the playoffs won it all. We beat each other up every week and it’s been a wild ride, but now I feel we’re playing our best ball and hopefully we’re ready to take on Springville.”
Friday's game between the Hawks and the Red Devils kicks off at 4 p.m. MDT.
Alta statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 1st ppg (45.8 in 5A)
Scoring defense: 30.2 ppg (18th in 5A)
Passing leader: Will Dana (185-297, 62.3%, 2,832 yards, 28 TDs, 9 INTs)
Rushing leaders: McCoy Didericksen (68 carries, 668 yards, 5 TDs), Tu’u Afu (80 carries, 664 yards, 10 TDs)
Interception leaders: MF Tafisi (2 INTs)
Springville statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 27.6 ppg (13th in 5A)
Scoring defense: 22.4 ppg (9th in 5A)
Passing leader: Ty Eriksson (70-118, 59.3%, 1,307 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs)
Receiving leaders: Ben Schreiner (30 rec., 740 yards, 7 TDs)
Felts Facts for Alta High School
Head Coach: 2015-current — Alema Teo (25-10)
All-time record: 275-163 (40 years)
Region championships: 12 (1984 co, 1985 co, 1988 co, 2000 co, 2003, 2005 co, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 co, 2011, 2016)
Playoff appearances: 32
Current playoff appearance streak: 21 (1997-2017)
All-time playoff record: 46-27
State championships: 4 (1983, 1988, 2007, 2008)
State championship record: 4-2
Felt’s Facts for Springville High School
Head Coach: 2012-current — Willy Child (46-22)
All-time record: 432-402-32 (101 years)
Region championships: 25 (1922, 1926, 1929, 1933, 1938, 1954, 1976 co, 1977 co, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 co, 1988 co, 1990, 1991 co, 1992, 1993 co, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 47
Current playoff appearance streak: 5 (2013-2017)
All-time playoff record: 29-45
State championships: 1 (1985)
State championship record: 1-4