Editor's note: While this is the final week of the season, Felt’s Facts will have a wrap-up edition next week highlighting the teams and individuals that have made their way into the Top-20 all-time rankings in various game, season and career categories.
The 2017 season climaxes with two-time Class 4A champion East battling defending 5A champ Bingham in the inaugural Class 6A title game. In 5A, Lehi returns to the finals for the first time since 2000. It faces Skyridge, which is the fifth school in state history to advance to the championship in just its second year. The Class 4A final pits Mountain Crest, which last appeared in the championship in 2012, against Orem, which last played for a state crown in 1996.
Bingham is back in the title game for the fourth time in five years and for the seventh time in 10 seasons. East returns for the third straight year and for the fifth time in six seasons.
East tries for its 19th championship — and third straight — and Bingham for its 11th — and fourth in five years. Orem goes for its fifth state title, Mountain Crest its fourth and Lehi its third.
Of this week’s three matchups, only Bingham and East have met before, most recently when the Miners throttled East 48-17 on Aug. 25 (Week 2).
Since 1964, when the state tournament expanded to include more than just region champions, there have been 17 state champions that didn’t make the playoffs the previous year. Grand County was the last to accomplish that feat, in 2005. This year, Mountain Crest and Skyridge hope to join that group as they have advanced to the finals but didn’t make the tournament in 2016.
East suffered a losing season in 2014, and Lehi and Orem did in 2015. Mountain Crest went 3-6 last year. Meanwhile, Bingham enjoys its 14th straight winning season, the longest streak of the teams playing this week, and second-longest current streak to Highland’s 15.
Two of the six coaches in this week’s finals have won at least one state championship: Bingham’s John Lambourne (2016) and East’s Brandon Matich (2015 and 2016). The other four head mentors, Lehi’s Ed Larson, Mountain Crest’s Jason Lee, Orem’s Jeremy Hill and Skyridge’s Jon Lehman advance to the finals for the first time.
Of this season’s six championship games in all classifications, three reprise regular-season bouts: Beaver-South Summit, East-Bingham and Milford-Duchesne. Of the 296 championship games, 131 have been rematches of regular-season contests. That seems to be a surprisingly high 44-percent. But with more classifications resulting in fewer teams in each class, season rematches in championship games will likely become more common.
Through 2016, the loser of the regular-season meeting has gained revenge 48 times in 128 past attempts – that’s nearly 40-percent of the time. Last week, Milford did it for the 49th time.
In addition, Milford became just the 14th team to avenge its only loss of the season in the championship game. Duchesne accomplished the feat last year, defeating Kanab for the 1A crown.
Bingham seeks to join South Summit as the only unbeaten teams this year. Since Utah prep football began in 1893, just 108 teams, including South Summit, have enjoyed perfect seasons. That’s a mere 1.6 percent of all the teams and seasons that have been played. (Through 2017, there have been 6,632 team seasons, which is the sum of all years each team has played. The 2017 season adds 106 team seasons since that’s how many teams played this year.)
Juan Diego coach John Colosimo snared his eighth state title last week, moving him into a first-place tie with Roger DuPaix (Skyline) and Al Marshall (Beaver) for the most championships won among all-time coaches.
South Summit’s Mike Grajek picked up his second state crown. He captured his first at Milford in 1993. Grajek is just the eighth coach to win a championship at more than one school. (No one has won at three.)
Milford’s Thayne Marshall grabbed his first state trophy and became the 150th coach to win a championship.
296 title games but 328 state champs?
Friday’s nightcap, the Lehi-Skyridge game, is the 296th championship contest since 1919, but the winner is the 328th state champion. That’s because before 1919, state champions – 21 of them – were awarded trophies based on which team had the best season record. Then, in the 1920s, ties in the finals and semifinals, too, resulted in multiple champions some years.
As mentioned, before state playoffs begin – the 20 seasons from 1898 through 1917 – the team with the best season record was named the state champ. But in 1901, West (then known as Salt Lake High) and Ogden had the same record, so both were champions. (The careful reader may have noted that prep football began in Utah in 1893, but there wasn’t a state champion declared until 1898. That’s because Salt Lake High was the only prep team from 1893-97 and found opponents against small college academies, club teams and university teams.)
Three championship games ended in ties (1924, 1926 and 1943 [Class B]), so two teams got trophies each of those years. The 1925 semifinals ended in ties and all four teams involved were awarded trophies. Twice, in 1928 and 1943 (Class A), the semifinal winners refused to meet in the championship for various reasons and so the semifinal winners were declared state champions.
So that’s 293 championship-game winners, plus six teams that tied in the state finals, plus the four teams that tied in the 1926 semifinals, plus the four that won semifinals but didn’t meet in the finals, plus the 21 that were state champs based on their season record – making 328
Want a couple more complications? Playoffs and championship games were supposed to start in 1918, not 1919, but the Spanish Flu ended the 1918 season after the first week (and just five games) had been played. And the 1942 playoffs were affected by World War II. In October of that year, the tournament was canceled to support fuel conservation. Thus, there were no state champs in 1918 and 1942.
This section appeared in last year’s Felt’s Facts, but it warrants inclusion again since the college field where semifinal and final rounds are played has different hash-mark dimensions in comparison with prep fields.
Some may feel that prep kickers are disadvantaged by the narrower goal posts on a college field – 18 feet, 6 inches versus 23-4 inches on a high school gridiron. However, the distance between the hash marks – the outer limits of where the ball is put in play – is also narrower, so players have a more direct kick toward the goal posts.
In prep football, the hash marks evenly divide the field into thirds, so the marks are 53-4 inches apart. On college fields, the hash marks are 40 feet apart (and 60 feet from the sidelines) giving more room along one sideline to spread out the defense. NFL gridirons have the hash marks line up with the goal posts, thus making the distance between them just 18 feet, 6 inches apart and a whopping 70-4 inches from the sideline.
Another way to look at it: one-third of a high school field lies between the hash marks, one-fourth of a college gridiron and just about one-ninth of a pro field.
In 1972, the NFL moved the hash marks closer together, “looking for a way to produce more action and more touchdowns. Putting the ball in play farther from each sideline supposedly gives the offense more room to exercise its options,” according to Sports Illustrated.
6A Championship – Bingham (12-0) vs. East (11-2)
Series record: East leads 5-2
Series history: These two ancients of Utah prep football – East is in its 104th season and Bingham in its 94th – first met in 1927. East whitewashed the Miners 32-0 that year, 36-0 the next and 31-0 when they again played in 1960. In 1961, Bingham scored but still lost to East 12-7. The Miners finally defeated the Leopards, 13-10, in 1979. East avenged that loss with a shutout 19-0 win the next year. They didn’t meet again until this season, when Bingham crushed the Leopards 48-17 on Aug. 25 (Week 2) at Bingham.
Coach vs. coach: Bingham’s John Lambourne is 1-0 vs. East’s Brandon Matich
Current winning streaks: Bingham – 12 (tied for the longest active streak), East – 3
Bingham Quick Facts22222
The Miners began their football program in 1910, but after compiling a 3-2 record against such teams as Collegiate Institute and Liberty, as well as Jordan, Park City and Payson, Bingham took 14 years off before resuming in 1925. The 2017 season is Bingham’s 94th season.
Finals record: 10-2 (.833). Last championship: 2016. Playoff record: 61-34 (.642), 45th playoff appearance
Championship game history:
1939, defeated American Fork 13-0 (Class B)
1941, defeated Park City 13-0 (B)
1945, defeated Park City 14-6 (B)
1946, defeated Lincoln (now Orem) 13-12 (B)
1974, lost to Davis 17-14 in overtime (3A)
2006, defeated Alta 21-19 (5A)
2008, lost to Alta 21-17 (5A)
2009, defeated Davis 35-24 (5A)
2010, defeated Fremont 30-7 (5A)
2013, defeated Brighton 38-13 (5A)
2014, defeated American Fork 20-3 (5A)
2016, defeated Lone Peak 17-10 (5A)
Coach: John Lambourne is 37-3 (.925) in his third year with the Miners. However, his only in-state loss was to Lone Peak in the 2015 semifinals. He’s 77-18 (.811) in eight seasons overall, including 40-15 at Hunter (1994-98).
Playoff record at Bingham: 9-1, third appearance. He’s 14-6 (.700) overall in eight appearances, including 5-5 at Hunter. Championship game record: 1-0.
East Quick Facts
Opened in 1914; 104th season
Championships: 18 – comprised of 14 victories, one title in 1917 when season records determined the state champion, one in 1925 when both semifinal games ended in ties and all four semifinalists were named champions, one in 1926 when East tied Box Elder in the title contest and one in 1943 when East and Davis won semifinals but Davis refused to play in the Class A championship game because of a bracketing change. Both were declared champions.
Finals record: 14-4-1 (.789). Last championship: 2016. Playoff record: 63-27-2 (.696), 45th postseason appearance.
Championship game history:
1919, defeated Payson 79-0
1920, defeated Logan 14-6
1921, defeated Logan 30-0
1922, defeated Box Elder 38-0
1923, defeated Granite 6-0
1926, tied Box Elder 7-7 (co-champions)
1952, defeated Weber 27-6 (Class A)
1953, defeated Ogden 13-0 (A)
1955, defeated Murray 27-0 (A)
1956, defeated Logan 34-6 (A)
1964, defeated Bountiful 14-6 (A)
1973, lost to West 36-22 (4A)
1974, defeated West 14-7 (4A)
1995, lost to Box Elder 51-28 (4A)
1996, defeated Timpview 37-0 (4A)
2011, lost to Logan 18-11 (4A)
2013, lost to Timpview 33-28 (4A)
2015, defeated Timpview 49-14 (4A)
2016, defeated Springville 48-20 (4A)
Coach: Brandon Matich is 79-24 (.767) in his eighth year, since 2010, at East. He’s 118-42 (.738) overall, including 39-18 in five seasons at Park City from 2005-09.
Playoff record at East: 21-5 (.708), eighth appearance. He’s 25-9 (.735) overall in 12 appearances including 4-4 at Park City.
Championship game record: 2-2, at East
Extra Point 1: Bingham and East rank first and second in victory margin in 6A, but the Miners win by an average of 31.3 ppg while the Leopards prevail by an average of 22.7 ppg.
Extra Point 2: Bingham is 74-8 over six seasons, from 2012 through last week. Four of those eight losses have come to out-of-state teams, one was to Alta, one to Syracuse and two to Lone Peak. Meanwhile, East is 59-19 over the same time frame.
Extra Point 3: A Bingham victory gives the Miners their 500th win.
Extra Point 4: Bingham strives for its fourth undefeated season – the other three came in 2006, 2010 and 2013.
Extra Point 5: Bingham celebrates its sixth consecutive double-digit win season, its 12th in 13 years (since 2005) and its 13th in school history.
Extra Point 6: Bingham’s John Lambourne is the second-winningest active coach (min. 5 seasons) and East’s Brandon Matich ranks sixth.
Extra Point 7: East plays in its 20th championship game. Only Millard and Beaver have appeared in more, with 21 each.
Extra Point 8: All-time, East is the fifth-winningest playoff team by percentage (.696), behind Skyridge (1.000), Juan Diego (.804), Skyline (.733) and Timpview (.729).
Extra Point 9: East enjoys its third straight double-digit win season, its fifth in seven years (since 2011) and its 12th in school history.
Extra Point 10: Fifty-nine teams have ruined another team’s perfect record in a championship game. East attempts to become the 60th and first since the Leopards themselves accomplished that feat last year by defeating Springville.
Extra Point 11: East hopes to become the 50th school to avenge a regular-season loss in the championship game.
Extra Point 12: East’s Brandon Matich has won 11 straight tournament games. Only six coaches have longer playoff winning streaks, led by Skyline’s Roger DuPaix’s 23.
5A Championship – Lehi (11-2) vs. Skyridge (12-1)
Series history: First meeting
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Lehi’s Ed Larson and Skyridge’s Jon Lehman.
Current winning streaks: Lehi – 9 (third-longest active streak); Skyridge – 5
Lehi Quick Facts
Began its football program in 1919 but didn’t field a team in 1920, ’23 or ’24; 96th season.
Finals record: 2-2. Last championship: 2000. Playoff record: 23-30 (.434), 33rd postseason appearance.
Championship game history:
1944, lost to Cyprus 27-20 (Class B)
1963, lost to Judge Memorial 14-6 (B)
1980, defeated Morgan 7-6 (2A)
2000, defeated Delta 30-25 (3A)
Coach: Ed Larson is 22-23 (.489) in his fourth year, since 2013, at Lehi. He’s 54-72 (.429) overall including 6-12 in two seasons at Provo (1993-94), 2-17 in two seasons at Ogden (2004-05) and 24-20 in four seasons at Timpanogos (2010-13).
Playoff record at Lehi: 4-1, second appearance. He’s 4-6 in seven appearances overall including 0-2 at Provo and 0-3 at Timpanogos.
First championship game.
Skyridge Quick Facts
Opened in 2016, second season.
Playoff record: 3-0, first postseason appearance.
Coach: Jon Lehman is 18-6 (.750) in his second season.
Playoff record: 3-0.
Extra Point 1: Over the season, Skyridge and Lehi rank second and third, respectively, in victory margin in 5A (behind Corner Canyon). The Falcons win by an average of 25.2 ppg while the Pioneers prevail by an average of 19.2 ppg.
Extra Point 2: Lehi (11-2) has posted 11 wins, tying a school record, for the first time since its championship season of 2000.
Extra Point 3: Lehi has posted double-digit wins for the fifth time in school history.
Extra Point 4: Lehi is one win short of tying a school record for its longest winning streak. The Pioneers won 10 straight in 1997.
Extra Point 5: Ed Larson has coached Lehi from 0-10 his first year, in 2014, to 3-7 in 2015, to 8-4 and a quarterfinal appearance last season, to 11-2 and a championship game.
Extra Point 6: Skyridge is the fifth school to reach the finals in just its second season (no one has its first year). The previous four all lost in the title game. By year, they were Logan (1919), Layton (1969), Fremont (1995) and Snow Canyon (1995). Only Layton, Fremont and Skyridge won three games en route to the championship.
Extra Point 7: Skyridge hopes to become the youngest school to win a championship. Three schools captured state titles in their third year: Highland (1959), Snow Canyon (1996) and Juan Diego (2002).
Extra Point 8: Skyridge (12-1) is just the second school to win as many as 12 games in just its second season. (Corner Canyon was the first, posting a 12-1 record in 2014.)
Extra Point 9: Lehi quarterback Cammon Cooper ranks in the top-five in several season and career categories (the season marks all pertain to this year):
- State record for Season Passing Yards – 4,464
- State record (tied) for Season Touchdown Passes – 53 (Timpview’s Jake Lloyd  and Logan’s Riley Nelson  also passed for 53 TDs)
- State record for Career Completions – 857
- Second in Career TD Passes – 113, just one behind record-holder Austin Kafentzis (Jordan, 2011-14)
- Second in Career Passing Yards – 11,110 to Kafentzis’ 12,929
- Second in Career Attempts – 1,375 to Kafentzis’ 1,434
- Third in Season Completions – 312, five shy of Hart’s second-place 317, but he needs 18 more to match Logan’s Luke Falk record of 330 (2012).
- Third (tied with his 2016 total) in Season Attempts – 486, four short of Hart’s second-place mark of 490, but 76 off Falk’s state record of 562.
- Fourth in Career Total Offense – 11,019 yards
- Fourth in Season TDs-Responsible-For – 122
- Fifth in Season TDs-Responsible-For – 58
Extra Point 10: Lehi receiver Dallin Holker ranks fourth all-time in Season Receiving Yards with 1,615.
4A Championship – Orem (11-2) vs. Mountain Crest (12-1)
Series history: First meeting
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Orem’s Jeremy Hill and Mountain Crest’s Jason Lee.
Current winning streaks: Orem – 9 (tied for the third-longest current streak), Mountain Crest – 7 (fifth-longest active streak).
Opened in 1929 as Lincoln High and became Orem High in 1956; 89th season.
Finals record: 5-7 (.417). Last championship: 1994. Playoff record: 51-47 (.520), 53rd postseason appearance.
Championship game history:
1946, lost to Bingham 13-12 (Class B)
1947, defeated Cyprus 6-0 (B)
1962, defeated Tooele 16-13 (A)
1965, lost to Davis 6-0 (A)
1966, lost to Ogden 21-13 (A)
1968, defeated Provo 28-7 (A)
1970, lost to Skyline 21-0 (AA)
1987, defeated Skyline 28-21 (4A)
1988, lost to Alta 40-0 (4A)
1993, lost to Skyline 7-3 (5A)
1994, defeated Davis 14-6 (5A)
1996, lost to Skyline 13-6 (5A)
Coach: Jeremy Hill is Carl Franke is 16-9 (.640) in his second season.
Playoff record: 3-1.
First championship game appearance.
Mountain Crest Quick Facts
Opened in 1983; 35th season.
Finals record: 3-4 (.429). Playoff record: 46-22 (.677), 26th postseason appearance.
Championship game history:
1987, defeated Sky View 9-7 (Class 3A)
1991, lost to Bountiful 7-3 (3A)
1992, lost to West 43-22 (3A)
2001, defeated Box Elder 32-24 (4A)
2005, defeated Highland 16-13 (4A)
2010, lost to Highland 37-36 in double overtime (4A)
2012, lost to Timpview 38-31 in double overtime (4A)
Coach: Jason Lee is 15-7 (.682) in his second season.
Playoff record: 3-0, first appearance.
Extra Point 1: This season, Orem and Mountain Crest rank first and fourth, respectively, in victory margin. The Tigers win by an average of 21.8 ppg and the Mustangs by 17.3 ppg.
Extra Point 2: Both teams have secured double-digit win seasons, and it’s the 10th time for both teams.
Extra Point 3: Orem (11-2) last won 11 games in 1993 and hopes to see 12 victories for the first time since 1968.
Extra Point 4: All-time, Mountain Crest is the sixth-winningest playoff record by percentage (.677), behind Skyridge (1.000), Juan Diego (.804), Skyline (.733), Timpview (.729) and East (.696).
Extra Point 5: Mountain Crest (12-1) has matched its school record for season victories first set in 2005.
Extra Point 6: MC leads the state as the most-improved team this season. The Mustangs have moved from 3-6 last year to 12-1, an improvement of 7.0 games. (The NCAA calculates this by taking the difference in year-to-year victories and the difference in losses, adding the two numbers and dividing by 2.) Only nine teams have improved by more games in Utah prep history, led by Hurricane’s nine games when the Tigers went from 1-8 in 2004 to 12-1 in ’05.
Extra Point 7: Second-seeded Mountain Crest hopes to become just the 13th team to defeat three region champions en route to a state title. Dixie was the last to accomplish that in 2012.
Extra Point 8: Orem receiver Puka Nakua is tied for second in Season Touchdown Receptions with 23. He needs one to tie Brighton’s Simi Fehoko’s record set in 2014. Nakua ranks third all-time in Season Receiving Yards with 1,616. He needs 40 more to catch Fehoko (1,656 yards in 2014) and 153 more to match Logan’s Richie Geertsen (1,769 yards in 1989).
Extra Point 9: Orem High was originally known as Lincoln High from 1929 through 1955. A new building opened in 1956, the name was changed to Orem, but the mascot, colors and student body remained the same. During the 1956 season, newspapers referred to the new school sometimes as Orem and sometimes as Lincoln.