Orem (11-2) vs. Mountain Crest (12-1)
4A state championship
Friday, 11 a.m. (At Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Parry’s Power Guide: Orem by 6
All-time series: First meeting
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Orem’s Jeremy Hill and Mountain Crest’s Jason Lee
In the past couple of weeks, Orem football coach Jeremy Hill has received good luck texts from Orem High alums like Chad Lewis, Jonny Harline and Bryan Rowley.
“These are guys that are big-time guys, and they’re still paying attention to Orem football, still excited,” said Hill.
The former Orem High players along with hundreds of others since are excited to see if their alma mater can halt a lengthy state title drought that dates back to 1994.
Standing in the way is a Mountain Crest program that hasn’t tasted the thrill of a championship in over a decade as well, dating back to 2005.
The showdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium at 11 a.m. is a matchup of contrasting styles, and Mother Nature could play a factor as rain is in the forecast.
"We are not just happy to be here. We are here to win. It's been a while since Mountain Crest has won a state championship in football, since 2005. We are happy to here, but we want to win,” said Mountain Crest quarterback Brady Hall.
Both teams have proven throughout the season that they can lean on their defenses if they need to, but they have explosive offenses as well.
Orem owns the No. 1 scoring offense in 4A (37.8 ppg), highlighted by the frequent combination of quarterback Cooper Legas to receiver Puka Nacua. The two have connected 83 times for 1,616 yards and 23 TDs this season.
Legas can also beat teams with his legs, as he rushed for 987 yards this season.
Mountain Crest also features a dual-threat quarterback with Hall, someone that Hill will make sure his defense is aware of at all times.
“Their quarterback obviously makes a D-coordinator’s life a little more stressful because he does have that run-pass option, so you’ve got to account for everybody,” said Hill.
Stansbury did a good job holding Hall in check during most of last week’s semifinal, but running back Beau Robinson picked up much of the slack with a 117-yard rushing performance.
Perhaps the biggest key to the game will be Mountain Crest’s defensive front against Orem’s strong offensive line.
If Legas is given time in the pocket he’s extremely accurate and can pick secondaries apart as evidenced by his 44 touchdown passes this year. Mountain Crest’s physical style could limit his effectiveness, but the Mustangs have to get pressure.
“They’re a physical team. They have a good defensive line, the kids will come hit. They’re very physical, but I like how we match up with them,” said Hill.
Even though Mountain Crest hasn’t won a title since defeating Highland for the 4A title in 2005, it has come agonizingly close on two occasions since, losing in double overtime to Highland in 2010 and then again in double overtime to Timpview in 2012.
To get over that hump this Friday, linebacker Joshua Powell said Mountain Crest will keep the same approach it has in the previous 13 weeks.
"This whole season we've had a mindset of who's next. Every time we finished off a team we would say who's next," said Powell. "We are preparing like we have prepared for any other team."
Orem statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 37.8 ppg (1st in 4A)
Scoring defense: 16.0 ppg (4th in 4A)
Passing leader: Cooper Legas (224-341, 65.7%, 3,802 yards, 44 TDs, 7 INTs)
Sack leaders: Austin Kirby (15.5 sacks), Cayne Sauo-To’a (12.5 sacks)
Mountain Crest statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 31.8 ppg (7th in 4A)
Scoring defense: 14.5 ppg (2nd in 4A)
Passing leader: Brady Hall (151-259, 58.3%, 2,866 yards, 30 TDs, 12 INTs)
Interception leaders: Cameron Moser (3 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for Orem High School
Head Coach: 2016-current — Jeremy Hill (15-9)
All-time record: 504-302-21 (89 years)
Region championships: 27 (1935 co, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 co, 1974, 1985 co, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 co, 2000 co, 2004-co, 2012, 2013 co, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 53
Current playoff appearance streak: 2 (2016-2017)
All-time playoff record: 50-47
State championships: 5 (1962, 1968, 1994)
State championship record: 5-7
Felts Facts for Mountain Crest High School
Head Coach: 2016-current — Jason Lee (14-7)
All-time record: 235-149 (35 years)
Region championships: 13 (1991, 1992 co, 1994, 1998, 1999 co, 2001 co, 2004 co, 2005, 2007 co, 2008, 2009, 2010-co, 2012)
Playoff appearances: 26
Current playoff appearance streak: 1 (2017)
All-time playoff record: 45-22
State championships: 3 (1987, 2001, 2005)
State championship record: 3-4