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Preece Power Poll: 4A champion East tops final rankings

East vs. Springville in the 4A state championship high school football game in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. East won 48-20.
East vs. Springville in the 4A state championship high school football game in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. East won 48-20.
Jeffrey D. Allred,

East finished its season by going 14-0 and defeated two storied out-of-state programs to finish atop the Preece Power Poll.

Preece Power Poll (final)

Rank/Team/2016 Record/Note

  1. East (4A)/14-0/Jaylen Warren an unstoppable force
  2. Bingham (5A)/14-0/Miners hold off Lone Peak to win 5A crown
  3. Lone Peak (5A)/12-2/Two losses on season to 5A champs
  4. Springville (4A)/12-1/23-2 in last two seasons earns huge respect
  5. Jordan (5A)/8-3/High-flying offense but defense lacking to contend
  6. Fremont (5A)/10-2/Silverwolves have very good year
  7. Alta (4A)/11-2/Josh Davis led high-octane Hawk offense
  8. Timpview (4A)/9-3/Gave East its best game inside Utah
  9. Highland (4A)/8-3/Solid season again for Rams
  10. Lehi (5A)/8-4/Pioneers have good year despite losing enrollment
  11. American Fork (5A)/8-6/Cavemen made nice 5A playoff run
  12. Desert Hills (3AA)/10-2/Epic comeback completes 3AA title run
  13. Pine View (3AA)/10-3/Just short again against cross-town rival
  14. Dixie (3AA)/7-4/Injuries to key players doomed Flyers
  15. Syracuse (5A)/7-4/Titans had big playoff win vs. West Jordan
  16. West Jordan (5A)/8-3/Jags had best season in years
  17. Roy (5A)/7-3/Solid season filled with some enigmatic losses
  18. Woods Cross (4A)/6-5/Better than record with a very tough schedule
  19. Sky View (5A)/6-4/Bobcats stopped by Lehi in first round in 5A
  20. Taylorsville (5A)/5-7/Warriors stunned Davis in 5A playoffs
  21. Davis (5A)/7-4/Darts derailed early in playoffs again
  22. Hunter (5A)/5-6/Wolverines won two play-in games
  23. Pleasant Grove (5A)/6-5/Second half of season much better
  24. Herriman (5A)/5-5/2015 5A champs taken out in play-in game
  25. Layton (5A)/6-4/Lancers lost play-in game to Hunter
  26. Viewmont (5A)/6-5/Vikings finish in a 3-way tie in Region 2
  27. Granger (5A)/6-5/Lancers lost in play-in game to Layton
  28. Stansbury (3AA)/9-3/Stallions' magical season ended in 3A semifinals
  29. Tooele (3AA)/9-2/Buffs followed 2015 season with another good year
  30. Beaver (2A)/11-1/Beavers claim second straight 2A title
  31. Juan Diego (3A)/8-4/Soaring Eagle peaked to win 3A title
  32. Juab (3A)/8-4/Wasps downed by Juan Diego in 3A semifinals
  33. Maple Mountain (4A)/7-6/Golden Eagles won seven of last eight games
  34. Provo (4A)/7-5/Record-setting Ty Jones led Bulldog attack
  35. Box Elder (4A)/6-6/Bees stunned Olympus in 4A first round
  36. Olympus (4A)/8-3/Titans claimed Region 6 title
  37. Kearns (4A)/8-3/Cougars had some nice wins on season
  38. Northridge (5A)/4-7/Knights qualified for 5A playoffs
  39. Orem (4A)/5-7/Tigers had big wins but some big losses as well
  40. Skyridge (4A)/6-5/Falcons had very good inaugural season
  41. Corner Canyon (4A)/6-5/Beat Alta and Timpview but still missed playoffs
  42. Bear River (3AA)/8-4/Bears came on strong at end of season
  43. Ridgeline (3AA)/8-4/First-year school turned heads in 3AA
  44. Westlake (5A)/4-6/Thunder can’t win enough league games
  45. Salem Hills (4A)/6-5/Skyhawks’ season ended by Timpview
  46. Summit Academy (2A)/9-2/Semifinal appearance by charter school
  47. Delta (3A)/9-4/Rabbits were 3A runner-up
  48. Brighton (5A)/3-6/Bengals were disappointing in 2016
  49. South Summit (2A)/10-2/Wildcats fall short to Beaver in 2A final
  50. Wasatch (4A)/6-5/Wasps stopped by Highland in 4A first round
  51. San Juan (2A)/9-2/Broncos stopped in 2A semifinals
  52. Morgan (3A)/8-4/Trojans had solid season
  53. Bountiful (4A)/2-8/Losing eight games unheard of for Braves' program
  54. Park City (3AA)/6-6/Miners had some nice wins in 2016
  55. Hillcrest (4A)/3-7/Playoff appearance big step for Husky program
  56. Skyline (4A)/4-6/Eagles got run over by East to end season
  57. Cedar City (3AA)/4-6/Program stuck in rugged 3AA South
  58. Enterprise (2A)/8-3/Wolves had very good season
  59. Ben Lomond (3AA)/5-6/Scots made huge strides in 2016
  60. Hurricane (3AA)/3-7/No playoff magic for Tigers
  61. Spanish Fork (4A)/3-6/Dons missed playoffs in 2016
  62. Duchesne (1A)/11-1/Eagles back on top in 1A
  63. Weber (5A)/3-6/Warriors missed 5A playoffs
  64. Mountain Crest (5A)/3-6/Mustangs looking forward to new realignment
  65. Murray (4A)/3-6/Spartans missed playoffs but beat Juan Diego
  66. Kanab (1A)/11-2/Cowboys fall just short in 1A title game
  67. Uintah (4A)/4-6/Utes won in preseason but faltered in league play
  68. Snow Canyon (3AA)/3-7/Warriors struggled to win games in 3AA South
  69. Riverton (5A)/1-9/Tough season for Silver Wolves
  70. Canyon View (3A)/4-7/Falcons made 3A playoffs but couldn’t advance
  71. Grantsville (3A)/4-7/Lost head coach in midseason but still battled
  72. Manti (3A)/3-7/Forgettable season for solid 3A program
  73. South Sevier (2A)/4-7/Rams made 2A playoffs but exited early
  74. North Sanpete (3A)/4-5/Big win over Maple Mountain season highlight
  75. Emery (3A)/4-6/Spartans battled but could not break through
  76. Timpanogos (4A)/3-7/Some nice early seasons, but league play was tough
  77. North Summit (2A)/4-7/Brave season not up to standards
  78. Grand (2A)/5-6/Solid season but nothing spectacular for Red Devils
  79. Clearfield (5A)/2-8/Program struggles continue
  80. Rich (1A)/6-5/Semifinal appearance for Rebels in 1A
  81. Logan (3AA)/1-9/Won 2015 3AA title, but 2016 season was painful
  82. Cottonwood (5A)/1-9/Colts' program mired in tough times
  83. Milford (1A)/7-4/Tigers have best season in over a decade
  84. Union (3A)/2-8/Cougars struggled in 2016
  85. Cyprus (4A)/1-8/Pirates continue to find the waters rough
  86. Bonneville (4A)/1-9/Laker program in tough times
  87. Gunnison (2A)/3-7/Made 2A playoffs but failed to advance
  88. West (5A)/0-9/Panther program in free-fall
  89. American Leadership (2A/4-6/Early season momentum was not sustained
  90. Diamond Ranch (1A)/4-5/Diamondbacks couldn’t find magic this year
  91. Layton Christian (1A)/7-4/Breakout season for private school
  92. Payson (4A)/1-9/Beating Ogden was lone highlight
  93. 93. Monticello (1A)/3-7/Buckaroos’ season not up to usual standards
  94. Copper Hills (5A)/0-10/Biggest enrollment in Utah didn’t lead to wins
  95. Judge Memorial (3AA)/0-10/Bulldogs had extremely rough season
  96. Parowan (1A)/3-6/Rams made 1A playoffs but couldn’t advance
  97. Richfield (3A)/1-9/Wildcats have struggled in recent years
  98. Mountain View (4A)/0-10/Bruins had brutal season
  99. Ogden (Ind.)/0-10/Independent schedule still didn’t lead to wins
  100. North Sevier (2A)/1-9/Wolves lacked bite in 2016
  101. Millard (2A)/0-10/Very uncharacteristic season for Eagles' program
  102. Monument Valley (Ind.)/4-3/Had winning season playing outside the state
  103. Carbon (3A)/0-10/Dino program is in the abyss
  104. Altamont (1A)/1-9/Longhorns struggled in 2016
  105. Whitehorse (Ind.)/1-5/Raiders play out-of-state for its games
  106. 106. Wayne (1A)/0-9/Second season playing football didn’t produce wins

Notes: I know some will say Bingham should be No. 1 because it is 5A and has had great success the past decade (or so), but East was more dominant, even against 4A competition. But bottom line, this season East had the wins against out-of-state programs, taking out storied programs Del La Salle (California) and Pulaski (Arkansas). Maybe East will choose to move up to 6A next year and take on the Miners. This would be great to see.

For the second time in the 3AA championship game, Desert Hills won on the last play of the game. Pine View has now lost six championship games. Desert Hills won its second state title. But its game with the Panthers was a game for the ages with some clutch play down the stretch. And the Quinn Kiser’s shuffle pass to Gavin Young has to go down as one of the headiest plays in Utah prep football history. What a game, and it’s too bad one team had to lose.

I alluded in my midseason power poll to keep an eye on Maple Mountain, and the Golden Eagles didn’t disappoint, winning seven games in a row to rebound from a 0-5 start. You can’t blame Maple Mountain for being crushed by East to end its run because the Leopards did that to just about everybody this year.

Lost in the hoopla of East’s dominance was the fine season put together by Springville. The Red Devils have gone 23-2 the last two seasons, and both losses have been to East, this year in the 4A title game, the previous year in the semifinals.

In 2A, the second-place teams from each league actually made the state finals. Beaver took out 2A North champ Summit Academy in one semifinal, while South Summit got past San Juan in the other. This set up a rematch from the 2015 final, and for the second straight year Beaver pulled through. The Beavers also avenged an early season loss to the Wildcats.

In 3A, the same sort of situation occurred as Juan Diego and Delta placed second in their respective leagues. Juan Deigo took out South champ Juab, while Delta took out North champ Morgan.

One could argue that 2A was better than 3A. Only four 3A programs had winning records, and Juan Diego took home the title despite four losses. The Soaring Eagle found their form in the playoffs, while Delta upset Juab to make the finals.

The most enigmatic team of the year has to be Corner Canyon. The Chargers managed to lose to Orem (twice) and Provo and Skyridge, but beat Alta and Timpview. The Chargers also beat Roy and Maple Mountain. But in the end, Corner Canyon finished 6-5 and couldn’t make the 4A playoffs.

Fellow league rival Orem was also a bit of a mystery, looking great one week taking Timpview to the brink and then generally looking awful against Provo, a team Timpview handily beat. The Tigers had to manage through some early season turmoil but made it through to qualify for the playoffs.

Give Ed Larson some props for his coaching job at Lehi. The Pioneers were 8-4 and finished second to Lone Peak in Region 4. Bingham ended its season but Lehi didn’t embarrass itself either, losing 31-17. What was remarkable about Lehi’s season was the Pioneers have struggled since being classified in 5A but put together a nice season despite the school losing nearly half of its enrollment with the opening of Skyridge.

Speaking of Skyridge, the Falcons had a very good year, going 6-5, but the Falcons did lose some steam at the end of the season, losing three straight. This led to a play-in game with Provo, and the Bulldogs prevailed.

East’s Jaylen Warren, Alta’s Josh Davis and Provo’s Ty Jones were the offensive players of the year by far. Warren rushed for over 3,000 yards, shattering the single-season mark set by Beaver High legend Kelly Smith. Davis broke the 2,000-yard barrier and set the state record for all-purpose yards. Jones finished his career in the top five all-time in touchdowns and had five games with over 200 yards receiving and was in the top 10 in the nation in receiving. Jones is likely heading to the University of Washington next season, while recruiting for Warren and Davis has been inexplicably light. This trio was certainly exciting and dominated the competition.

Not only did Beaver avenge an early season loss to win a state title, so did Duchesne, which got back at Kanab in a defensive classic, 16-14. The Eagles have dominated 1A in recent years and own the state’s longest winning streak at 48 games.

Some nice things are going on in Tooele County as Stansbury made the semifinals with a 9-3 record. Tooele finished 9-2 before being stopped in the quarterfinals by Pine View. Grantsville finished 4-7 but had to deal with the loss of its head coach in midseason.

Brian Preece is a freelance sportswriter. He was also the head wrestling coach of Provo High School from 1994-2006 and in 2006 he was named the Utah Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.