In 2007, the four Class 5A region champions advanced to the semis, just the second time in 10 seasons that four region champs — and top seeds — in any classification made the semifinals. This year, the Class 4A region winners, Cottonwood, Mountain Crest, Pine View and Timpview, and the Class 3A No. 1 seeds, Hurricane, Juan Diego, Morgan and Park City, all made the semifinal round.

In Class 5A, the last three state champions, Skyline ('05), Bingham ('06) and Alta ('07) are in the semifinals. In Class 4A, three of last year's four semifinalists are back (Cottonwood lost in the '07 quarterfinals). Class 3A has a completely new slate of semifinal teams (Union, Judge, Logan and Wasatch were in last year).

TITLE HUNT: Of the 16 teams still playing, six have yet to win a state football championship: Park City (101st season), Hurricane (60th), North Sevier (50th), Cottonwood (39th), Pine View (26th) and, of course, Syracuse (2nd).

FAST STARTS: Juan Diego will try to match its best-ever start, 13-0, set in its undefeated, 2004 championship season. Cottonwood is 12-0 for the first time ever and trying to advance to the finals for just the second time.

Meanwhile, Morgan (10-2) last won 10 games in 2003, the Trojans' last semifinal appearance. Manti (10-1) also hasn't had a 10-win season since 2003, the year the Templars last took state. Mountain Crest (10-1) last enjoyed a 10-win season in 2005. North Summit (10-2) hasn't experienced back-to-back 10-win seasons since '75 and '76.

Syracuse (10-2) is the just the fourth school in its second year to win double-digit games. Hunter (10-2 in '91), Layton (11-2 in '69) and Snow Canyon (11-1 in '95) were the others and those three advanced to the finals, but Hunter and Layton lost to Skyline while Snow Canyon lost to Delta.

North Sevier (9-3) has won nine games for just the second time in school history; the Wolves went 9-1 in 1996.

STATE RECORD SET: Cottonwood's Isi Sofele has now carried the ball 741 times in his career, smashing the old mark of 722 set by North Summit's Andy Carlsen from 2000-02. Sofele has rushed for 4,502 career yards, eighth-most all-time.

PLAYER WATCH: Logan's Jeff Manning accumulated exactly 4,000 yards of total offense this season, just the fourth player on record to reach that mark. He joins Riley Nelson, (5,815, Logan, 2005), Ryan Zimmerman (4,283, Mountain Crest, 2001) and Lance Pendleton (4,023, Dixie 1998).

Manning also finished ninth all-time in season passing yards (3,180), third all-time in season TD passes (42) and second in touchdowns-responsible for (54).

In career standings, he's 16th in passing yards (5,450), fifth in touchdown passes (71), and fourth in touchdowns-responsible for (93).

Another quarterback, Jordan's Alex Hart, amassed 3.773 total offensive yards this year, the 10th best performance all-time. He passed for 3,169 yards, good for 13th place all-time and completed 228 passes, the seventh highest season performance ever.

Hurricane's Gordie Dotson leads the state in rushing yards this year with 1,659. Last week, he ran for 112 yards to eclipse the 3,000-career-rushing yard mark with 3,065. He's also rushed for 49 scores, the 11th most all-time.

Cedar's Trent Grover finished with 289 carries this season, tying him with Emmett White (Ben Lomond, 1997) for the sixth-most season rushes, all-time. Davis' Tanner Hinds carried 278 times, tied with West Jordan's Leroy Love (2007) for the 12th most all-time.

PLAYOFF STREAKS: With a victory over Mountain Crest, Timpview will claim its 11th straight playoff win. Only three other schools, Skyline (23 straight from 1995-2000), Northridge (14, 2000-03) and Kanab (12, 1985-88) have won more consecutive postseason games. The Thunderbirds would tie with three other schools, Beaver (1979-82), East (1919-26) and Millard (1950-54) in fourth place.

Kanab is making its fourth straight championship game appearance, the most since Skyline's nine straight title game appearances from 1995-2003. Besides Skyline, only four other schools, Kanab (8 straight, 1981-88), Beaver (5, 1969-73), East (5, 1919-1923) and Judge (5, 1969-73) have made more.

FREQUENT SEMIFINALISTS: Skyline is in the semis for the 14th time in 16 years and 16th time in the past 19 seasons. Timpview has advanced to the semifinals for the sixth time in seven years and 10th in 13 tries. Alta is back in the Final Four for the fifth time in six years and Pine View for the fourth time in five seasons.


Class 5A Semifinals

Bingham (10-2) vs. Skyline (8-4)

Bingham comes into the contest on a 10-game winning streak and has won 45 of its last 50 games. The Miners are making their third straight semifinal appearance, trying to advance to the finals for the second time in three years.

Skyline is attempting to make the championship game for the 11th time in 14 seasons.

Series history: Skyline leads 10-2.

Last meeting: Skyline, 24-17, Aug. 22 (Week 1) at Skyline.

Last semifinal result: Bingham, 2007, lost to Alta, 21-17. Skyline, 2005, defeated West Jordan, 33-3.

Last advanced to finals: Bingham, 2006, won championship. Skyline, 2005, won championship.

Current win streaks: Bingham, 10. Skyline, 3.

Coach vs. coach: Skyline's Roger DuPaix leads 2-1.

Coaches' semifinal record and last appearance: DuPaix, 14-2 (all at Skyline), 2005. Dave Peck, 1-3 (all at Bingham), 2007.

State championships: DuPaix, 8. Peck, 1.

Alta (11-1) vs. Syracuse (10-2)

Defending champion Alta, winners of 35 of their last 40 contests, are trying to make the finals for the third straight season.

Syracuse is only the fourth school to advance to the semifinals in its second year and the first since Snow Canyon made the 3A finals in 1995. The Titans have improved a full nine games over last year's 0-10 season, currently matching Hurricane's state-record turnaround set in 2005.

Series history: First meeting between schools and coaches.

Last semifinal: Alta, 2007, beat Bingham, 21-17.

Last advanced to finals: Alta, 2007, won championship.

Current win streaks: Alta, 7. Syracuse, 4.

Coaches' semifinal record and last appearance: Alta's Les Hamilton, 3-1 (2-1 at Alta), 2007. Russ Jones, first appearance in seven combined seasons at Viewmont, Woods Cross and Syracuse.

State championships: Hamilton, 1. Jones, 0.

Class 4A Semifinals

Cottonwood (12-0) vs. Pine View (10-1)

Both Cottonwood and Pine View have made the playoff frequently in recent years, but both are still looking for their first state gridiron crowns. The Colts are trying to make the finals for just the second time in school history, while the Panthers hope to get there for the fourth time in five years. Cottonwood has won 24 of its last 27 games and Pine View has been victorious in 23 of their past 25 games.

Series history: Cottonwood leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Cottonwood, 52-23, Sept. 5 (Week 3) at Cottonwood.

Last semifinal result: Cottonwood, 2005, lost to Mountain Crest, 35-22. Pine View, 2007, beat Sky View, 55-24.

Last advanced to finals: Cottonwood, 2004, lost to Davis. Pine View, 2007, lost to Timpview.

Current win streaks: Cottonwood, 12 (school record). Pine View, 8.

Coach vs. coach: Cottonwood's Cecil Thomas leads 1-0.

Coaches' semifinal record and last appearance: Thomas, first appearance. Ray Hosner, 3-0, 2007.

State championships: Both looking for first state title.

Mountain Crest (10-1) vs. Timpview (11-0)

It's well-known that Timpview owns a state-record 34-game winning streak, is trying to make the championship game for the fourth time in five years and capture their third straight 4A title and fourth in five seasons. But the T-birds have also won 78 of their last 86 games and with the exception of a 19-point loss to East in the 2005 quarterfinals, haven't lost a game by more than 10 points since 2001.

Its biggest loss before that? A 50-27 quarterfinal setback to Mountain Crest in 2001. MC is hoping to make the finals for the third time in eight years.

Series history: Timpview leads, 4-3, all playoff games.

Last meeting and last in semifinals: Timpview, 38-0, 2007 semifinal at U.

Last advanced to finals: Mountain Crest, 2005, won championship. Timpview, 2007, won championship.

Current win streaks: Timpview, 34. Mountain Crest, 9.

Coach vs. coach: Timpview's Louis Wong leads 1-0.

Coaches' semifinals record and last appearance: MC's Mark Wootton, 1-3, 2007. Wong, 3-0, 2007.

State championships: Wong, 2. Wootton, 1.

Class 3A Semifinals

Hurricane (11-1) vs. Morgan (10-2)

The story here is turnaround: Hurricane has improved 7.5 games this season, from 3-8 in '07 to 11-1. Morgan has improved 4.5 games, fourth best in the state this year, from 5-6 to 10-2. The Tigers are trying to advance to the finals for the fourth time in school history and Morgan is gunning for its 11th state final appearance.

Series history: Morgan 3-0, all playoff games in the 1980s.

Last meeting: Morgan, 21-13, 1986 Class 2A quarterfinal at Morgan.

Last semifinal result: Hurricane, 2005, lost to Logan, 59-29. Morgan, 2003, lost to Grantsville, 10-9.

Last advanced to finals: Hurricane, 1989. Morgan, 1997, won 3A title.

Current winning streaks: Morgan, 9. Hurricane, 6.

Coach vs. coach: first meeting.

Coaches' semifinal record: Hurricane's Chris Homer, 0-1, 2005. Morgan's Kovi Christiansen, first appearance.

State championships: Both coaches looking for first state title.

Juan Diego (12-0) vs. Park City (7-4)

Since moving to Class 3A in 2005, Juan Diego has complied a 37-11 (.771) record. The Soaring Eagle had previously dominated the 2A ranks, winning two titles in three seasons before moving to 3A.

Meanwhile, Park City, under fourth-year coach Brandon Matich, has compiled a 25-8 record over the last three seasons and advance to the semis for the first time since 2001.

Series history: first meeting between schools and coaches.

Last semifinal appearance: Juan Diego, 2004, defeated Manti, 28-26. Park City, 2001, beat North Sanpete, 33-14.

Last advanced to finals: Juan Diego, 2004, won 2A championship. Park City, 2001, lost to Delta.

Current winning streak: Juan Diego, 12. Park City, 5.

Coaches' semifinal record: JD's John Colosimo, 4-0, 2004. Matich, first appearance.

State championships: Colosimo, 2. Matich, 0.

Class 2A Championship

Manti (10-1) vs. North Summit (10-2)

Manti is the finals for the first time since taking the 2A title in 2003, its second state crown.

Before Cole Meacham's predecessor, Brennan Jackson, arrived at Manti in 1992, the Templars had only five winning campaigns in their first 24 seasons and won barely more than 30percent of their games. Jackson won 60percent of his games in eight years and guided Manti to its first championship in 1999. Meacham built on that foundation, having won nearly 70percent of the games he's coached, capturing the '03 title and directing the Templars to their fourth championship game.

Meacham is in his ninth year at Manti, with a 66-29 record (.695) and is the seventh winningest active coach by pct. He's 1-1 in title games.

Defending 2A champion North Summit has won 31 of its last 35 contests and is 6-4 in championship games.

Coach Jerre Holmes is in his ninth year at North Summit, with a 68-36 record (.654). He's 139-81 (.632) overall in his 20th season, the 15th winningest active coach. His 139 wins is the fifth-most among active coaches. Holmes is 4-2 in championship games including three titles at Rich from '94-'96. He's just the fifth Utah prep coach to win state titles at two schools.

Series history: Manti leads 11-8; all were regular season games.

Last meeting: Manti, 29-21, Sept. 26 (Week 6) at Manti.

Current winning streaks: Manti 4, North Summit 3.

Coach vs. coach: Meacham leads, 6-3.

Class 1A Championship

Kanab (9-3) vs. North Sevier (9-3)

Defending champion Kanab is in its fourth straight title game (won in '05 and '07) and 15th overall, seeking its 10th gridiron crown. Only Skyline, Millard (20 each), Beaver (18) and Box Elder (17) have played in more championship games. The Cowboys have a 48-29 (.623) playoff record and have won 10 of their last 11 postseason games. In addition, Kanab has won 41 of its last 47 contests overall.

Bucky Orton, in his sixth year, is 58-15 (.795), the second winning active coach (behind Pine View's Ray Hosner) in percentage terms. He has an 11-3 (.786) playoff record in six postseason appearances. This is his fourth championship game.

North Sevier is in the title game for the first time and the Wolves are enjoying just their ninth winning season in 50 seasons of football. In fact, North Sevier has won nine games in a season just once before, in 1996. The Wolves are 10-18 (.357) in the postseason.

Ryan Higgs is in his second season and took North Sevier from 4-5 last year to 9-3 this season.

Series history: Kanab leads 36-5, in an uninterrupted series that began in 1975. This marks the third playoff encounter between the two.

Coach vs. Coach: Orton leads, 2-0.

Last meeting: Kanab, 26-14, Oct. 15 (Week 9) at Kanab.

Current winning streaks: Kanab, 8; North Sevier, 3.

REALIGNMENT NOTE: Next year, Class 2A will lose American Leadership, Juab, Manti and Richfield to Class 3A, but gain Enterprise, Kanab, Layton Christian, Parowan and North Sevier from 1A to become a 13-team football league. I've heard that 2A wants to retain its new three-region alignment for all sports including football (5-5-3 split) rather than divide into North and South just for football.

In addition, apparently Class 1A will survive, despite losing five of its current 10 football-playing schools. Apparently, Monument Valley and Whitehorse have agreed to forsake their independent schedule and rejoin 1A competition.

FINALLY: Timpview has hosted one other state football championship game, the 2000 Class 2A final.