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5A high school football preview: Brighton at Herriman

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This is the best receiving group we’ve had since 2005. If guys want to stack the box, we’re going to throw the ball. We’ll beat them throwing the ball. … You got to pick your poison, I guess. – Ryan Bullet, Brighton football head coach

HERRIMAN — Football is very much a team-oriented game, but occasionally individuals garner all the attention. In Friday’s 5A quarterfinal matchup, all eyes will be focused on Herriman’s Brandon Farmer and Brighton’s Osa Masina.

Farmer has rumbled for 1,555 yards and 16 touchdowns despite briefly missing action with an injury, and Masina, only a junior, has hit pay dirt 22 times while running for 1,050 yards.

“They run it, run it, run it and run it, and then lull you to sleep and throw a play-action pass,” Brighton coach Ryan Bullet said while reiterating that Masina isn’t the only weapon at his disposal.

“We want to throw it, too. If they want to put guys in the box, I think we’re good enough to throw the ball,” Bullet said. “We’ve got a Division-1 receiver (Isaiah Kaufusi) out there we can get the ball. This is the best receiving group we’ve had since 2005. If guys want to stack the box, we’re going to throw the ball. We’ll beat them throwing the ball. … You got to pick your poison, I guess.”

Brighton’s rush defense has been the unsung hero this season. In eight games (three game statistics unavailable), the Bengals have allowed 138 yards per game on the ground. However, the team has shown weaknesses. In the lone loss this season, it coughed up 346 rushing yards to Bingham.

“The biggest concern for us right now is we need to slow their run down and keep the ball in front of us,” Bullet said. “I don’t know if you’re going to actually stop them. They’ve scored a lot of points this year in every game.”

Making life difficult for Farmer to operate is the main priority.

“You got to keep that kid in front of you. No one is really stopping him — he’s so shifty and quick,” Bullet said. “You need to figure out where he is on pass and not let him get any of his draws off or let them throw a little screen to him or you’ll be in trouble. We’re not putting any one guy on him, but all our kids know who No. 20 is. They’re very well aware.”

It would be the first semifinals appearance for Herriman after it advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. For Brighton, it would be the first time back since 2005. Both teams are approaching the game with a businesslike mentality.

“We’re looking at another opportunity,” Bullet said. “I haven’t heard our kids say one thing. I know we came in on Saturday morning, watched our film and talked about getting ready to play Herriman. I haven’t heard the kids say anything either way. It’s always tough to win on the road, and they’ve earned the home-field advantage.”

Email: tphibbs@deseretnews.com Twitter: @phibbs_

Brighton statistical breakdown

(Note: Does not include first-round stats)

Scoring offense: 41.8 ppg (1st in 5A)

Scoring defense: 14.8 ppg (4th in 5A)

Passing leader: Robbie Hutchins (58-114, 50.9 percent, 1,079 yards, 12 TDs)

Rushing leaders: Osa Masina (135 carries, 1,050 yards, 22 TDs), Josh Thompson (78 carries, 384 yards, 11 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Isaiah Kaufusi (23 catches, 444 yards, 6 TDs), Simi Fehoko (13 catches, 325 yards, 1 TD)

Tackles leaders: Sage Nelson (83 tackles), Isaiah Kaufusi (63 tackles)

Sack leaders: Mufi Hunt (6 sacks), Sage Nelson (5 sacks)

Interception leaders: Simi Fehoko (6 INTs), Sage Nelson (3 INTs)

Herriman statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 32.3 ppg (8th in 5A)

Scoring defense: 26.3 ppg (16th in 5A)

Passing leader: Braydon Kener (40-76, 52.6 percent, 681 yards, 5 TDs), Kyle Strauss (35-67, 52.2 percent, 511 yards, 3 TDs)

Rushing leaders: Brandon Farmer (178 carries, 1,555 yards, 16 TDs), Braydon Kener (82 carries, 695 yards, 8 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Conner Johnson (30 catches, 502 yards, 3 TDs), Jordan Marrott (11 catches, 181 yards, 1 TD)

Tackles leaders: Ben Richards (118 tackles), Kody Jarvis (55 tackles)

Sack leaders: Harris LaChance (5.5 sacks)

Interception leaders: Jordan Marrott, Kody Jarvis (4 INTs)

Felt’s Facts for Brighton High School

All-time record: 313-170-2 (45 years)

Region championships: 16 (1977 co, 1978, 1979, 1981 co, 1982, 1986, 1988 co, 1992, 1995 co, 1996 co, 1997, 2000 co, 2001, 2002 co, 2004, 2005 co)

Playoff appearances: 34

All-time playoff record: 36-32 (including 2013)

State championships: 1 (1982)

State championship record: 1-3

Felt’s Factoid(s): Brighton didn’t have a losing season for 29 straight years — from 1977 to 2005 — the second longest such streak in state history and longest since 1970. The Bengals enjoyed five undefeated regular seasons during the streak.

Felt’s Facts for Herriman High School

All-time record: 25-19 (4 years)

Region championships: 1 (2013 co)

Playoff appearances: 4

All-time playoff record: 2-3 (including 2013)

State championships: 0

State championship record:0-0

Felt’s Factoid(s): Herriman became just the 10th school to qualify for the playoffs in its first year of football (2010). ... Herriman is one of only 11 schools to have a perfect home playoff record (1-0).