When Week 8 of the high school football season came to a close with very little upset or relative intrigue, it was reasonable to think that perhaps the top teams across the state were settling in, and the general picture of the standings was made clear in a way that little would be left to question in the final stages of the season.

Then Week 9 came along and smacked us all over the head with a frying pan that very well might have had the initials “PG” engraved in it. The week served as a distinct reminder of just how much there is to play for even as the season winds down.

Here are some of the most thrilling takeaways from Week 9:

Down goes Skyridge

Meet the frying pan.

Skyridge, undefeated through eight weeks of play, was not a team with a great deal of shortcomings. Quarterback Jackson Stevens was a top QB in the state and the Skyridge defense was tough as ever, but somehow, someway, Pleasant Grove did what tough teams do and found a way to win despite almost nothing going its way, getting past the Falcons, 34-31, with an overtime walk-off touchdown.

“Players stepped up and made big plays,” Pleasant Grove coach Taylor Walkenhorst said. “They never stopped playing hard. They took the game one play at a time and played with great effort and great technique.”

The box score looks in many ways like the script of a convincing win for the Falcons. Vikings QB Carson Rasmussen was sacked seven times. The Vikings mustered -11 rushing yards on 22 attempts. Skyridge even had a lead with minutes to go.

What did go right for the Vikings was senior defensive back Jake Closson picking off Stevens twice (Stevens had just six picks for the season before the game); Rasmussen surprisingly outperformed Stevens, throwing for four TDs without an interception.

And with 1:25 remaining in the game, Rasmussen and Co. marched 80 yards in 10 plays in exactly one minute to score a game-tying TD, completing a 21-point comeback in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings can potentially seal up at least a share of the elusive Region 3 title with a win at home against Lehi Friday to end the season.

Chaos in Region 5

Going into Week 8, four teams in Region 5 stood at 4-1. In other words, half the region was tied with each other for first place.

By the end of Friday night, three of the four teams lost, all of them in fairly stunning upsets, while region newcomer Roy put itself in a prime position to take the outright title, moving a game ahead of the pack with just a week to go.

For starters, the Royals ruined Bountiful’s homecoming and Senior Night with a 26-14 win in what was essentially the main card for the region in Week 9.

At the same time, Box Elder unexpectedly fell for the second straight week, losing in a slugfest to Woods Cross, 17-12. The Bees, who were once 7-0, are now 7-2.

Before any of that, Bonneville fell out of the running on Thursday night with a 28-21 loss to Viewmont.

It’s easy to see why preseason voting had Region 5 as arguably the most tightly contested field of competition in the state.

All Roy has to do to secure the region title is take care of business in a favorable matchup with Northridge. The Knights didn’t pull away from a struggling Clearfield team until the fourth quarter on Friday.

Meanwhile, Bonneville and Box Elder will face off to see if some better sense can be made of the No. 2 spot in the standings.

Viewmont: The state’s scariest three-win team

Speaking of Region 5 …

Part of the fun of the football playoffs can often be seeing which spunky team with a double-digit RPI seed can upset the tournament apple cart and wind up in the quarterfinals. It’s never too early to think of who might be the next Olympus or Alta — the Titans made it to the quarterfinals as a No. 21 seed last season, and the Hawks got there as a No. 19 seed.

It’s not hard to think of Viewmont being that team. The Vikings, playing in the uber-competitive Region 5, knocked off Bonneville for their third win of the season. Viewmont turned a fourth-quarter touchdown deficit around and marched its last drive of the game downfield for a go-ahead score with 1:29 remaining.

“We kept telling each other to believe in each other and love each other,” Viewmont coach Andru Jones said. “When we were going for the last drive to the game you could tell the kids were going to do whatever to take that game.”

There’s a pretty good case for Viewmont being merely a few plays away from the No. 2 spot in Region 5. The Vikings surrendered fourth-quarter leads to both Bountiful and Box Elder, the latter of which needed a last-second field goal to escape.

“With us being in these close games and the approach, we just keep saying, ‘We just want a shot,’” Jones said. “We’ve been fighting all year. We just have had a few plays that haven’t went our way, but we are learning from it, and eventually they will. We just got to keep loving the process.”

Ben Lomond makes history

Simply put, Ben Lomond’s history has almost never involved quality football.

Thanks to one of the most experienced groups of returning talent in the state and a committed job by coach Lyndon Johnson, the Scots have done a decent job turning that around this season.

Friday night marked one of the biggest wins in the history of the program as Ben Lomond came away with its first-ever win over the Juan Diego Soaring Eagle, 34-18. Juan Diego previously had a 7-0 record all-time against the Scots.

Ben Lomond didn’t just beat the Soaring Eagle, the Scots put on a clinic. The Scots got three passing touchdowns and a rushing TD out of QB Manase Tautagaloa; Omar Murillo nailed a 50-yard field goal; and the defense scored on a 16-yard fumble recovery. This is the kind of performance the Scots were well accustomed to being on the receiving end of.

Johnson called it a “great win for our program versus one of the most consistent programs in the state of Utah.”

“Our kids played hard and well, and my assistant coaches did a great job all week and on Friday night,” Johnson said.

The Scots haven’t had a winning season since going 6-5 in 2000. They can secure a 6-4 regular season if they come out on top in the Iron Horse rivalry against Ogden.

Upcoming title fights

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It breaks the rules of a “flashback,” but thinking about what’s ahead for the final week of the regular season is enough to hype up any gridiron fan.

Most of the regions in the state do not have an official lock for first place. In addition to that, there are six games across the state where the winner will secure the region title the night of:

  • Brighton at West — playing for the 5A Region 6 title on Wednesday
  • Dixie at Crimson Cliffs — playing for the 4A Region 9 title on Wednesday
  • Syracuse at Davis — playing for the 6A Region 1 title on Thursday
  • Duchesne at North Summit — playing for the 1A North title on Thursday
  • Skyridge at American Fork — playing for at least a share of the 6A Region 3 title on Friday
  • Enterprise at Beaver — playing for the 1A South title on Friday

High school football diehards are going to have a busy week keeping up.

Top five upsets of Week 9

Eleven teams were upset in Week 9 according the Noland Parry’s Power Guide ratings. Here are the top five upsets of Week 9. The number in parentheses references the rating differential between the two teams.

  1. Skyridge over Pleasant Grove (25.8) — Pleasant Grove wins, 34-31
  2. Spanish Fork over Payson (16.9) — Payson wins, 24-21
  3. Bonneville over Viewmont (16.4) — Viewmont wins, 28-21
  4. West Jordan over Kearns (7.9) — Kearns wins, 29-7
  5. Lone Peak over Lehi (7.7) — Lehi wins, 34-24
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