With just two weeks remaining in the regular season of high school football, each team’s journey is different. Some teams are in control of their destiny and are awaiting the all-important state championship tournament. Others are giving it their best shot to claim a title in region play. Many others are looking to get into their best shape to be their best selves come playoff time.
For Week 8’s Friday flashback, here are five of the most intriguing results from last week’s action.
Granger rewrites the record books
It may not have been against the best of competition, but Granger senior Carson Su’esu’e and his receivers just etched themselves into the Utah history books.
As part of a 67-8 blowout of Taylorsville, Lancers receiver Landon Figueroa absolutely shattered the single-game record for receiving yards, hauling in 13 catches for 369 yards and five touchdowns. The record was previously 321 yards, set in 2018 by current Los Angeles Rams rookie sensation Puka Nacua.
Figueroa’s five TDs also made him just the 11th player in Utah history to catch five TDs in a single game. He has yet to sign with a college team.
Su’esu’e, who was playing high school ball in California at this time last year, made his mark on Utah’s sports history as well, throwing for 558 yards, tying for third in state history in single-game passing yardage. The BYU signee also joined a rapidly growing list of quarterbacks to have thrown for seven TDs in a game.
“Carson and his wide receivers work on routes and concepts, not only in practice but during their own time sometimes before and after practice and on their days off,” Granger coach Pala Vaitu’u said. “They are constantly working and perfecting their craft getting ready for playoffs. We have a great group of hardworking young men.”
Granger, having already beaten West Jordan, the second-place team in Region 4, is in the driver’s seat for a region title with Cyprus and Hunter remaining on the schedule.
A huge bounce-back for Kearns
Keeping to Region 4, there was more excitement that came as Kearns got itself back on track with a much-needed win.
After getting thoroughly embarrassed by Granger in Week 7 on a Thursday night, the Cougars committed to the run and ran away from Hunter, 36-7, with a massive second half.
Kearns head coach Matt Rickards said his team’s performance against the Lancers the prior week was simply unacceptable. The Cougars gave up three interceptions and were beaten, 33-6.
“I can honestly say I didn’t recognize the team that showed up to play the previous week against Granger,” Rickards said. “Our performance against Hunter was very important to establish our identity and get our culture back. Win or lose that game, all I wanted to see demonstrated was toughness and having fun playing the game. That was definitely demonstrated in the game. We made a lot of big plays, we made a lot of tough tackles, a lot of tough blocks, and a lot of tough runs. And we had fun doing it.”
Going against Hunter, Kearns moved away from trying to throw the ball as much as it did against Granger, and the result was overwhelmingly positive. Admirable play on each side of the line, along with the return of senior linebacker Ryan Talo, put Kearns back in the win column. At 3-5 overall, the Cougars will have a shot at getting back to .500 before the regular season ends.
Alta shakes up the Region 7 race
Sticking to 5A, Region 7 got a little tricky with Brighton picking its first region loss as Alta pulled away in the second half for a 24-10 win.
Alta held Brighton to the Bengals’ lowest point total in a game since Week 2 of the 2021 season, and the win served as a hopeful turnaround point for the Hawks, who had lost three of their last four outings, including a heartbreaking quadruple-overtime loss to Olympus the week before.
It appeared that Brighton was in control of a low-scoring affair between the two teams initially as the Bengals held a 10-3 lead at halftime. Once the second half started, Alta went to work, evening up the score with a touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Hawks junior quarterback Matt McKea took over in the fourth quarter with two rushing touchdowns from the 1-yard line to seal the deal.
The Hawks will have a highly favorable chance of winning out with Skyline and Cedar Valley on the schedule to close the season. Meanwhile, Brighton has a nonregion home date with Queen Creek, Arizona, before ending the regular season with a highly implicative game against region-leading West.
The brick wall of Beaver
When Duchesne posted a revenge-filled, rivalry-fueling shutout win over Beaver in Week 4, it seems the loss awoke something in the Beavers.
The proof is in the defensive pudding. Beaver had allowed 51 total points in the first four weeks of the season.
In the last four weeks since then? Nine.
Beaver’s defense has been a brick wall against the field of competition in the 1A South as the 1A classification’s newest member. Just one scoring play, a TD pass late in the second half by rival Kanab, has managed to punch its way through. A safety by North Summit is all that’s managed to go on the scoreboard against the Beavers otherwise.
Beaver capitalized in a big way on a small opponent with a 70-0 beatdown of Parowan, the highest single-game point total by the Beavers since 2016.
“We feel like we have gotten better the last few weeks,” Beaver coach Jonathan Marshall said. “Our defense has been stingy all season, but it has stepped up even more the last few weeks. Our kids are playing with a little more urgency now. We understand we have to improve and get better to get to where we want to be. Duchesne is a great team. Going up there and getting whipped was hopefully a good thing for us. That has maybe shown itself the last few weeks.”
Regular season victories are great for RPI, but if all Duchesne did was make the Beavers remember who they were in recent years’ past, 1A had better be prepared.
Bountiful brings down the Bees
In a region that no one was able to predict at the beginning, Box Elder was showing through all the noise as a truly dominant squad with a 7-0 streak through the season.
In Week 8, Bountiful decided to add in a little more chaos.
The Redhawks, who won Region 5 in each of the last two seasons, handed the Bees their first loss of the season with a 34-28 overtime win. Junior quarterback Emerson Geilman had his second three-touchdown game of the season, and senior Jacob Brooks scored just the fourth TD of his career on the sixth snap of his entire season by punching in the 2-yard walk-off score in OT.
Thanks to that little upset, the standings in Region 5 are now just ridiculous. With just two games left to play, four of the region’s eight teams have 4-1 records in region play — Bountiful, Box Elder, Bonneville and Roy. Of the remaining games, two of them will pit a pair of these teams together. Bountiful takes on Roy in Week 9, and Box Elder and Bonneville face off in the final week.
Top upsets of Week 8
It was easily the most “according to plan” week of the football season in Week 8. Power ratings by Noland Parry’s Power Guide proved to be exceptionally accurate. It happens sometimes, right?
Here are the only five games on the schedule that turned to be upsets according to power ratings. The numbers in parentheses represent the differential between the rating of the favored team and the underdog:
- Manti over Richfield (3.1) — Richfield wins, 28-7.
- Farmington over Weber (2.3) — Weber wins, 30-27.
- Box Elder over Bountiful (0.7) — Bountiful wins, 34-28.
- Brighton over Alta (0.3) — Alta wins, 24-10.
- Herriman over Mountain Ridge (0.2) — Mountain Ridge wins, 33-24.