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High school football: Orem Tigers 2018 preview

Note: Orem finished with a 12-2 overall record in 2017 and was first in Region 10 with a 5-0 record. It beat Mountain Crest 26-0 in the 4A championship.

Orem 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

OREM — Orem secured a state championship last season and appears well-poised to do so again this season, with other accomplishments certainly in sight for a program that returns a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.

The Tigers aren't shying away from top competition, to be certain. Right off the bat, they're prepared to test themselves against powerhouse Bingham, before taking on Timpview and then national power Bishop Gorman (Nevada).

"We want to go up against the best and prepare ourselves as best we can for region and hopefully another championship," said Orem coach Jeremy Hill. "Last year was great, but this year is this year and we haven't won anything. So we need to prepare as hard as possible and hope for the best."

Orem has been blessed with an influx of talent in recent years, and bringing in that talent, and then developing it is something Hill is proud of.

"We had a great year last year and the attitude of the kids is great heading into this season," he said. "I'm excited to see if we can match and even surpass what we did last year and I think the guys are, too."

As for Region 10, aspirations, the Tigers are tabbed as overwhelming favorites, although Hill is wary of the competition.

"Spanish (Fork) gave us a tough game last year and I think everyone is going to be improved. We can't overlook anyone."

Orem Tigers at a glance

Coach: Jeremy Hill is in his third year as head coach of the Orem Tigers. He's gone 17-9 over his first two seasons. Hill is a graduate of Orem High School, as well as Utah State University.

Orem Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Lance Reynolds Jr.

2017 offensive production: 37 ppg (2nd in 4A)

  • 8 returning starters
  • Spread offense

Key offensive returning starters

  • Puka Nacua (WR): Nacua recently committed to USC and presents the type of playmaker Utah prep sports doesn't produce very often. He caught 87 passes last year for 1,691 yards and 24 touchdowns.
  • Cooper Legas (WR): Legas threw for 3,991 yards and 45 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 1,014 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hill on Nacua and Legas:

"The chemistry they have after playing together for six years is irreplaceable. Cooper is a great leader and can beat a team with his arm and his legs. And then Puka, he's amazing with what he can do with the ball in his hands. He's such an extraordinary talent. I think he's as good as anyone this state has seen. He's an (NFL) caliber talent."

Returning offensive starters

Hill's comments on the offensive line:

"We have a lot of guys returning and some new guys who I think can help us a lot. We're bigger, stronger and I feel it's going to be a great unit for us."

Hill's comments on his running backs:

"Our two guys there may make us run it more than we did last year. They're both returning starters and they're great players who need the ball in their hands. You're going to see some big things from those guys."

Orem Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Jeremy Hill

2017 defensive production: 14.9 ppg (2nd in 4A)

  • 5 returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense

Key defensive returning starters

  • Rylen Sua-Filo (DL): Sua-Filo had 35 tackles and 3.5 sacks a year ago.
  • Noah Sewell (LB): Sewell transferred from Desert Hills and is considered one of the top defensive players in the state.

Returning defensive starters

Hill's comments on the defense:

"We lost a lot of guys, but I really feel this group has the talent to be even better than last year. It seems crazy to say, but we had a lot of guys come in who are looking real good and the guys we do get back are all top players."

Hill's comments on his secondary:

"It's my biggest worry. We lost a lot of really good guys there especially and we're going to have to go with a lot of new guys we haven't seen. I think we have the talent, but man, we were so solid there last year. But hopefully it works out."

Coaches preseason Region 10 straw poll: First

Deseret News Region 10 prediction: First

Key Region Game: at Spanish Fork, Oct. 17

Bottom line: Orem presents a ridiculous amount of talent that could prove competitive at all levels of prep football within the state. It will be tough for anyone to dethrone what looks to be a better Orem team than the one that won a state championship last season. Short of some sort of disaster, the Tigers should repeat as 2018 4A champions.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 16 — BINGHAM, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — CENTURY, IDAHO, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — CANYON SPRINGS, NEV., 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — at Bishop Gorman, Nev., 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at Santa Margarita, Cal., 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — MOUNTAIN VIEW, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — SALEM HILLS, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — at Uintah, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 11 — PAYSON, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 17 — at Spanish Fork, 7 p.m.

Felt’s Facts

All-time record: 506-302-21 (89 years)

Region championships: 27 (1935 co, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 co, 1974, 1985 co, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 co, 2000 co, 2004-co, 2012, 2013 co, 2017)

Playoff appearances: 53

Current playoff appearance streak: 2 (2016-2017)

All-time playoff record: 52-47

State championships: 6 (1962, 1968, 1994, 2017)

State championship record: 6-7

Most played rivalry: 60 meetings with Provo dating back to 1930. Orem leads 32-27-1. Last met in 2012.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Tiger Jared Harper is the only Utah prep player with a 99-yard run in a state playoff game (1996 quarterfinal) … Tucker Camp (509 passing yards on Oct. 15, 2014) is one of just eight Utah QBs to throw for over 500 yards in a game.

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Last 5

  • 2017 — 12-2 (5-0 in Region 10 – 4A Champions)
  • 2016 — 5-7 (4-3 in Region 7 – 4A First round)
  • 2015 — 4-6 (1-5 in Region 7 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2014 — 3-3 (3-3 in Region 7 – 4A First round)
  • 2013 — 5-6 (5-1 in Region 7 – 4A First round)

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Orem coaching history

  • 2016-current — Jeremy Hill (17-9)
  • 2015 — Bob Steele (4-6)
  • 2011-2014 — Tyler Anderson (21-24)
  • 2002-2010 — Bob Steele (48-52)
  • 2000-2001 — Alex Jacobson (15-8)
  • 1989-1999 — Paul Clark (74-39)
  • 1985-1988 — Thomas Rabb (31-11)
  • 1980-1984 — Steve Downey (27-22)
  • 1977-1979 — (unknown) (21-11)
  • 1971-1976 — Tom Molen (33-23-2)
  • 1969-1970 — Charlie Dine (17-5-2)
  • 1954-1968 — Udell Westover (105-31-5)
  • 1949-1953 — Glenn Zimmerman (27-13-1)
  • 1929-1948 — Don “Sanky” Dixon (56-48-11)

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Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

  • 2017 — Puka Nacua, WR

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2017 — Ethan Slade, S
  • 2017 — Cayne Sauao-To’a, DT
  • 2017 — Austin Kirkby, DE
  • 2017 — Ryan To’a, C
  • 2017 — Cole Watts, OL
  • 2017 — Enoch Fiso, TE
  • 2017 — Cooper Legas, QB
  • 2013 — Nolan Gray, WR
  • 2012 — Nolan Gray, WR
  • 2011 — Cole Payne, WR
  • 2008 — Jordan Egbert, TE

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.