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3A football semifinal preview: Summit Academy-Juan Diego is turning into a rivalry

Cameron Fisher recovers a fumble in Summit Academy's win over Juan Diego Friday night. The senior has become a corner stone of the Bears defense despite dealing with health issues.
Cameron Fisher recovers a fumble in Summit Academy's win over Juan Diego Friday night. The senior has become a corner stone of the Bears defense despite dealing with health issues.

Summit Academy (8-2) vs. Juan Diego (7-4)

3A state tournament semifinal

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. (at Provo High School)

  • Parry’s Power Guide: Juan Diego by 1
  • All-time series: Summit Academy leads 2-1
  • Coach vs. coach: Juan Diego’s John Colosimo is 3-2 against Summit Academy’s Les Hamilton (including two games Colosimo won in 2003 and 2004 when Hamilton was at Grantsville)
  • Last meeting: Oct. 12, 2018 — Summit Academy 28, Juan Diego 19

Watch the game live for free

When Juan Diego and Summit Academy meet on Saturday in the 3A semifinals, the two sides will be familiar with each other. It will be the fourth meeting in two years between the two teams, and out of those meetings, a rivalry is brewing.

“This is the fourth time in two years that we’ve played, so we’re familiar with each other. Now, we both know what each other do and so now, it’s about doing the basics right. Minimizing turnovers, tackling well on defense and the team that has the fewer turnovers and the team that tackles better is probably going to be the one that’s going to come out victorious,” Summit Academy coach Les Hamilton said.

Last year, Juan Diego ended Summit Academy’s season in the semifinals, winning 38-37 in double overtime after losing the regular-season matchup against the Bears. In 2018, Summit Academy clinched a region title after defeating Juan Diego 28-19.

“We’re really excited to play this game. It’s a good opponent. They’ve become kind of a rivalry for us. We’re pretty close to each other here at the south end of the valley. A lot of our kids know their kids and their kids know our kids. It’s a healthy rivalry, it’s nothing that’s contentious, but I know they want to win bad, we want to win bad, so it should be a good ballgame on Saturday,” Juan Diego head coach John Colosimo said.

It seems that the only sure thing about Saturday’s contest is that it will be a thrilling game.

Summit Academy rolls into Provo High with the No. 1 offense in 3A, putting up 35.4 points per game. The Bears’ offense starts with quarterback Kasey Briggs, who boasts 2,520 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns on the season.

“Offensively, for us, it’s about Kasey Briggs, our quarterback and his ability to get the ball to our playmakers — Parker Clawson, Talmage Brown, Colin Dodge, JT Kupiec and Astchyn Brady. Those are my five offensive skill guys. We go as Kasey goes,” Hamilton said.

“The quarterback is a nice quarterback, throws a good ball, is a big kid, runs hard, is pretty much a competitor. I really like him. Four nice receivers and they’ve all caught passes and touchdown passes and they all run good routes,” Colosimo said.

The Bears can also strike with their running game. Running back Talmage Brown has 822 yards for 14 touchdowns in 2018.

“I really like their running back, Talmage Brown. He does a nice job of getting to the edge on running plays,” Colosimo said.

For Juan Diego, it’s all about the run game. Running backs Hunter Easterly (1,243 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Tristan Tonozzi (997 yards, 12 touchdowns) power the Soaring Eagle offense. When needed, quarterback Colby Smith can get it done through the air, throwing for 611 yards and seven touchdowns this year.

“It starts with Easterly, their running back. He’s the catalyst of their whole thing. He’s a big, athletic back, and if he gets into open field, you’re in trouble. He’s hard to bring down, so we’ve got to make sure that we tackle well. We’ve got to make sure that we know where he’s at all the time. The last couple of games, their quarterback has also been playing really well, and so it’s going to be important for us to keep him under control, keep him from having success in their passing game,” Hamilton said. “They’ve got that two-edged sword. They’re a great running team, but then every once in a while, they’re going to surprise you with a throw.”

“Being a running team, it’s good to have some good running backs. They’re pretty proficient. They run hard and they’ve got good speed, but their success is hinged upon our offensive line being able to open some holes or them or give them a little crease for them to run the ball, so those two have been very, very important to us all year long and they’ve done a great job of picking up extra yardage and getting after it,” Colosimo said.

Both teams are solid defensively, too. Juan Diego ranks third in 3A scoring defense (17.5 ppg), while Summit Academy is fourth (18.9 ppg).


Summit Academy statistical breakdown

  • Scoring offense: 35.4 ppg (1st in 3A)
  • Scoring defense: 18.9 ppg (4th in 3A)
  • Passing leader: Kasey Briggs (175-254, 68.9%, 2,520 yards, 24 TDs, 11 INTs)
  • Rushing leaders: Talmage Brown (139 carries, 822 yards, 14 TDs)
  • Receiving leaders: Parker Clawson (47 rec., 647 yards, 7 TDs), Colin Dodge (35 rec., 585 yards, 9 TDs)
  • Tackles leaders: Cade Powers (70 tackles), Carson Wheaton (64 tackles)
  • Sack leaders: Carson Wheaton (7 sacks), Cade Powers (4 sacks)
  • Interception leaders: Karson Kitchen (3 sacks), Mason Shafer (3 sacks)


Juan Diego statistical breakdown

  • Scoring offense: 29.6 ppg (5th in 3A)
  • Scoring defense: 17.5 ppg (3rd in 3A)
  • Passing leader: Colby Smith (31-65, 47.7%, 502 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs)
  • Rushing leaders: Hunter Easterly (127 carries, 1,082 yards, 13 TDs), Tristan Tonozzi (105 carries, 943 yards, 12 TDs)
  • Receiving leaders: Raimoana Tinirauarii (17 rec., 331 yards, 3 TDs)
  • Tackles leaders: Carter Gray (52 tackles), Sam Knudson (51 tackles)
  • Sack leaders: Maiko Taukafa (4 sacks)
  • Interception leaders: Grant Dhont (3 INTs)


Felt’s Facts for Summit Academy High School

  • Head coach: 2016-current — Les Hamilton (26-6)
  • All-time record: 49-27 (7 years)
  • Region championships: 2 (2016, 2018)
  • Playoff appearances: 7
  • Current playoff appearance streak: 5 (2014-2018)
  • All-time playoff record: 6-6
  • State championships: 0
  • State championship record: 0-1


Felt’s Facts for Juan Diego High School

  • Head coach: 2000-current — John Colosimo (183-46)
  • All-time record: 183-46 (19 years)
  • Region championships: 13 (2003, 2004, 2005 co, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017)
  • Playoff appearances: 18
  • Current playoff appearance streak: 18 (2001-2018)
  • All-time playoff record: 39-9
  • State championships: 8 (2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • State championship record: 8-1