It’s Bon Jovi week for the regular season of high school football — which is, of course, to say, we’re halfway there.
Five weeks down, five to go before the regular season ends on Oct. 13. Here’s some of the most intriguing storylines from Week 5:
Timpview shuts down Springville in slugfest
Timpview’s ability to score the ball was made clear on multiple occasions in head coach Donny Atuaia’s first season with the Thunderbirds last season, but the team’s real staple of success in its 3-2 start has been how well it can defend.
The T-Birds’ defensive prowess was on full display as it stopped region foe Springville from even scoring a point in a 17-0 shutout. It was the first time in 104 games going back to 2014 that the Red Devils left the field of competition scoreless.
Ironically, that 2014 shutout was to Timpview as well.
“The defense had goals they wanted to meet as a unit and they worked together to find success,” Atuaia said.
The shutout from last Friday isn’t the only time Timpview’s put on a defense clinic this season either. The T-Birds kept Provo down to just 13 points, and in Week 1, they held Skyridge to a season-low 26 points. The Falcons have since poured over 40 on everyone they’ve played except Bingham (35 points).
Timpview’s rivalry matchup with Orem looms in Week 6, a game that’ll have serious implications for the 5A title race.
Lone Peak did WHAT??
The Lone Peak Knights were riding a three-game losing streak and needed some kind of good to come their way before heading into the Region 3 gauntlet, so they headed south of the (state) border to take on Highland, Arizona.
Four minutes into the game, Lone Peak nabbed an interception and returned it for a touchdown.
In the second quarter, the Knights did it again.
And again in the third quarter. And again in the fourth!
By the end of the game, Lone Peak had just one offensive touchdown against the Hawks, but a mind-numbing FOUR pick-sixes by the defense delivered the Knights an unlikely 35-24 victory. In all, Lone Peak collected seven interceptions against Highland, whose junior quarterback came into the game with just two picks in two games.
“Crazy,” Lone Peak coach Bart Brockbank described the scene. “Four pick-sixes in one game is not something I’ve ever seen nor been a part of in my coaching career. … Hats off to the defense for taking control of the game and scoring four TDs, ultimately sealing the victory with an interception in the end zone.”
The defense, in its seven takeaways, bizarrely got more yardage off of them than the Knights’ offense gained the whole game (246 total interception yards to 114 yards of offense). Lone Peak QB Jackson Blake had a rough day, throwing two picks of his own.
That offense won’t have long to kick back into gear as the Knights start Region 3 with Pleasant Grove next Friday.
The monstrous Mustangs have arrived
If last Friday was any indication, Crimson Cliffs might just have to wait for the playoffs at this point to have any real competition.
The Mustangs played host to the defending champions in 4A, their rival Desert Hills Thunder, and unceremoniously butchered them, 49-7, to move to 2-0 in Region 9 and 4-1 overall. It’s an arrival years in the making for the team in just its fifth year of existence.
“Not sure it’s one thing that has changed, but rather something we have been building over the years,” Mustangs coach Wayne Alofipo said. “We have been building the program and culture, setting standards and expectations and binding our community, and it’s all starting to come together.”
Alofipo took the program already on the rise and quickly transformed it into the dominant power in southern Utah, winning 10 games last season. Now, the Mustangs look a country mile beyond any of their peers. They nearly upset Bingham in Week 2.
“It’s been a process and journey and it’s fun to see it start to bear fruits and watch our young men believe and buy into our systems and processes,” Alofipo said. “We haven’t really done anything yet. We still have a long way to go to get where we want to get! We love the journey and are continuing to build.”
Crimson Cliffs’ blowout of the Thunder makes it a clear top dog in 4A, perhaps only rivaled by 5-0 Sky View, but the Bobcats are 390 miles away for the time being. The Mustangs will be content for now to see what challenge they get from 4-1 Snow Canyon, as the two will face each other in Week 6.
Manti’s revenge tour makes another stop
It took 11 tries over 20 years of trying, but Manti finally got a long-awaited win over a bitter rival.
A rivalry borne of the fires of playoff football over years of history, Manti got a hugely memorable win over Juan Diego, 44-14, and broke a losing streak that dated back to 2003, just four years after Juan Diego’s establishment. That was during a time when the Templars and the Soaring Eagle were the governing powers of 2A football, when former Manti coach Cole Meacham was in his heyday and legendary Juan Diego coach John Colosimo was just getting warmed up.
Manti and Juan Diego met each other in the 2A state championship in three straight years from 2002 to 2004, with the Soaring Eagle winning two of three. Juan Diego jumped all over different classifications for competitive reasons over the last decade or so, going from 2A to 4A to 3A, but its rivalry with Manti stayed strong.
No one with the program now has had a closer view of that history than Manti head coach Fred Taukei’aho, who took the reins this year after being Meacham’s assistant for the last 20 years.
“Some of these kids’ fathers were part of those games,” Taukei’aho said. “Being able to coach their fathers and then them is something special.”
Manti has made good on breaking some cold streaks against teams this season, with Juan Diego being the most recent one. The Templars hadn’t beaten Grantsville since 2019 but travelled on the road and walloped the Cowboys in Week 3, 38-14.
The Templars also sport one of the most potent passing offenses in the state behind junior QB Maison Starkweather, who has 17 TD passes on the season already and went off for 452 yards against the Soaring Eagle.
The toughest is yet to come for Manti as Canyon View, Richfield and Juab await in region play.
Happy 30th, San Juan!
San Juan continues to climb its way up the record books as the win streak just hit 30 games with the Broncos’ 67-7 rampage over Judge Memorial last weekend.
The streak now stands at fifth in state history, tying San Juan’s own previous 30-game winning streak from 2009 to 2011.
An undefeated season and a third straight 2A state championship would put San Juan at 37 straight victories, good enough for third in state history, only trailing Duchesne and Corner Canyon’s 48-game streaks.
With how San Juan’s been performing, that’s less of a possibility and more of a likelihood.
“We are very proud as a program to hit 30 straight wins,” Broncos coach Barkley Christiansen said. “It is a testament to the hard work our kids put in day in and day out all year long. We are not satisfied with where we are at, though. The kids are looking forward to the rest of the season. We are happy with our streak, but the goal is getting 1% better each day and capturing our third state championship in a row.”
The Broncos will be a heavy favorite in what is expected to be an extremely high-scoring matchup with Emery this Friday.
Top upsets of Week 5
Midway through the season, Noland Parry’s Power Guide power ratings across the state are starting to look a lot more accurate. Here’s a look at the top upsets of Week 5, with the amount in parentheses representing the rating differential between the teams.
- Westlake over Copper Hills (16.7) — Copper Hills wins, 15-6.
- Milford over North Summit (5.7) — North Summit wins, 21-20.
- Green Canyon over Mountain Crest (5.5) — Mountain Crest wins, 14-10.
- Bountiful over Bonneville (4.1) — Bonneville wins, 13-10.
- Viewmont over Northridge (3.1) — Northridge wins, 44-35.