Just a couple weeks into the high school football season it became pretty clear who the four best teams in Class 2A football were.
San Juan, Manti, North Summit and Juab all separated themselves from the 2A pack early on, so it's only appropriate that all four have advanced to this Saturday's semifinals with a combined 37-3 record.
"I really believe there's not a dark horse and there's not a true favorite," said North Summit coach Jerre Holmes.
Manti coach Cole Meacham couldn't agree more.
"Usually in the semis there's usually one good one and one that you can can pick the winner of. I don't know anyone who would give you odds this weekend," said Meacham.
The two semifinals will be playing simultaneously at 2 p.m. this Saturday at different locations to accommodate travel. Both games were originally scheduled to be played at Southern Utah University, but the Juab (10-0) vs. North Summit (8-2) game was moved to Woods Cross High School.
Holmes said he would've played the game in Arizona if necessary, but did admit the location change is much more convenient for North Summit fans and the school's budget.
San Juan (10-0) vs. Manti (9-1) is still being played at SUU.
Both games are extremely intriguing.
Juab and North Summit is a rematch of the regular season finale back on Oct. 15. In that game, Kris Tatton hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Brock Orme with 5.5 seconds remaining to seal Juab's 27-20 victory and the outright 2A North championship.
Juab controlled field position throughout the game, and Holmes admits it will be tough to win if his defense is always trying to defend such a short field against such an explosive offense. The Wasps also own one of the best defenses in 2A only surrendering 10.5 ppg.
"We're excited. I know they're excited," said Holmes. "This is what you play football for. You don't play for the blowouts."
Both teams advanced to the semis with blowouts in the quarterfinals. Juab earned its third shutout of the season with a 34-0 win over Beaver, whereas North Summit steam-rolled South Sevier 52-29.
The other semifinal pits two schools that haven't met since 2005, which ironically enough occurred in the 2A semis as well with San Juan prevailing 23-14.
This game has marquee matchup written all over it. Manti quarterback Griffin Aste is one of the best athletes in 2A, but he hasn't faced a defense as dominant and as fast as San Juan, which only surrendered an average of 8.1 ppg this year.
Led by quarterback Kyle Johnson and running back Kohler Black, San Juan is an explosive offensive team as well, averaging over 32 points per game.
"I don't think we can go out and shut them down, but if we can force them into long drives, force them to move the ball 60, 70, 80 yards, we'll have a chance," said Meacham.
The 2A championship game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 15, at 11 a.m. at Timpview High School.