We were able to open up our playbook last week and it worked for us. When we’re able to open everything up, then we’re hard to stop because of all the different angles we can hit you from. —East coach Brandon Matich
No aspect of the game can be taken for granted at the semifinal stage of the 6A state playoffs, a fact certainly not lost on Lone Peak coach Bart Brockbank, regardless of the opponent. But when that opponent is East, overlooking nothing and focusing on taking every inch possible is perhaps amplified.
The Knights take on the Leopards this Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and the task certainly has all of Brockbank's attention.
“East has been touted all year and for good reason,” Brockbank said. “It’s obviously an extremely good team that presents a huge challenge for anyone, and certainly presents a challenge for us.”
Sure, the Leopards had two losses on the year, but those losses were to powerhouse programs Bingham and IMG Academy (Florida). Take away those two games and it's easy to see East is in top form, particularly after last week's 67-31 demolition of American Fork in the quarterfinal round.
“We were able to open up our playbook last week and it worked for us,” said East coach Brandon Matich. “When we’re able to open everything up, then we’re hard to stop because of all the different angles we can hit you from.”
Regardless of which angle East elects, its offense will operate behind one of the best lines in the state. That O-line causes headaches for opposing coaches and is why Brockbank is stressing to his team to take every opportunity to gain an advantage.
“It’s important to win the turnover battle with anyone, but that could be even more important this Friday,” Brockbank said. “We want to be ball hawks and focus on gaining an advantage wherever we can — whether it be special teams or anywhere. We can’t let anything slide against a team like East.”
Fortunately for Brockbank, Lone Peak has exactly the type of team that can beat an opponent in a variety of ways. While relying on the pass some years, this year's Knights have a more diverse offensive attack. Last week the running game was prominent in a 26-17 win over Weber in the quarterfinal round.
“We try and take what a defense gives us and fortunately we have the type of running game and passing attack to do that, for the most part,” Brockbank said. “We haven’t been as one-dimensional and that’s been an advantage for us. No question.”
Lone Peak (9-2) vs. East (10-1)
6A state tournament semifinals
Friday, 11 a.m. (at Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Parry’s Power Guide: East by 5
All-time series: First meeting
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Lone Peak’s Bart Brockbank and East’s Brandon Matich
For East, the focus will be on eliminating mistakes and protecting the football.
“We’ve had issues turning the ball over, so we’ve worked hard to improve our ball security,” Matich said. “We’ll just keep what we’re doing and hope it’s rectified, because otherwise it could be a long day for us, considering how strong our opponent is.”
Lone Peak presents an aggressive defensive scheme that probably can't match up with East strength-wise, but will work to gain any advantage with athleticism and execution.
“They’re a very good defensive team that likes to put on a lot of pressure. They sort of live and die by the pressure, and they’ll bring at least five guys on every play, and as many as seven or eight,” Matich said. “So we’ll have to be ready for that. They’re not real big up front, but they’re athletic and assignment sound. They’ll be a big challenge.”
Lone Peak statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 36.8 ppg (5th in 6A)
Scoring defense: 22.2 ppg (11th in 6A)
Passing leader: Brock Jones (199-337, 59.1%, 3,158 yards, 33 TDs, 11 INTs)
East statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 42.9 ppg (1st in 6A)
Scoring defense: 19.6 ppg (6th in 6A)
Passing leader: Ben Ford (23-49, 46.9%, 553 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT)
Tackles leaders: Villiami Tausinga (80 tackles), Apu Ika (74 tackles)
Sack leaders: Tennesse Pututau (12 sacks), Johnson Hansen (11 sacks)
Interception leaders: Jaylon Vickers (6 INTs), Saia Hamilton (5 INTs)
Felts Facts for Lone Peak High School
Head Coach: 2017-current — Bart Brockbank (9-2)
All-time record: 181-70 (21 years)
Region championships: 13 (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 co, 2005, 2009-co, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 co, 2015, 2016)
Playoff appearances: 19
Current playoff appearance streak: 10 (2008-2017)
All-time playoff record: 31-17
State championships: 1 (2011)
State championship record: 1-4
Felt’s Facts for East High School
Head Coach: 2010-current — Brandon Matich (78-24)
All-time record: 576-353-31 (104 years)
Region championships: 36 (1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 co, 1925 co, 1926, 1929 co, 1934, 1935, 1936 co, 1937 co, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1973, 1996, 2006 co, 2007 co, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 45
Current playoff appearance streak: 8 (2010-2017)
All-time playoff record: 62-27-2
State championships: 17 (1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1943, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1974, 1996, 2015, 2016)
State championship record: 14-4-1