As the 2023 high school football season ramps up this week with region games across the state, here are five of the most intriguing games on tap in Week 6.
Lone Peak at Pleasant Grove
Lone Peak has owned region foe Pleasant Grove over the past decade.
The Knights have won 11 straight games, with only one of those wins coming by less than double digits.
Will this Friday be the first time the Vikings program tastes victory against Lone Peak since its 26-24 win back in 2012? The combination of Pleasant Grove’s strong start to the season and Lone Peak’s unpredictability certainly makes it a possibility.
Pleasant Grove is 5-0 this season, winning all five games by double digits. It has outscored opponents 167-56, with 35 of those points allowed coming in the fourth quarter with victory firmly locked up.
Lone Peak, meanwhile, comes into the game with a 2-3 record against an extremely difficult schedule. It has wins over Bingham and Highland, Arizona, with its losses coming to Timpview, Corner Canyon and Mountain Ridge.
It’s that Mountain Ridge loss that seemingly makes Lone Peak vulnerable. The Knights didn’t score a single point in the second half of that game, losing 31-17. It allowed two defensive touchdowns.
In an ironic twist though, Lone Peak scored four defensive TDs on the road in a 35-24 win at Highland, Arizona. All four defensive scores came on interceptions returned for touchdowns, a new state record. Fifteen previous teams had three pick-sixes in one game.
If Pleasant Grove can minimize turnovers it should be able to keep this Week 6 matchup close.
Richfield at Juab
Speaking of winning streaks, Juab has won 14 straight against Richfield dating back to 2002.
No. 15 is very much in question when Juab hosts Richfield this Friday.
Undefeated Richfield will roll into Nephi on a five-game winning streak, which includes comfortable wins over Cedar, Payson, Snake River, Idaho, Ogden and Kanab.
Richfield has been great on both sides of the ball as it has benefitted from six offensive and seven defensive returning starters.
Juab has won four straight region championships and seven of the past eight, but so far this season it hasn’t looked like a championship-caliber team with a 3-2 record and much closer games across the board than in recent years.
This would be the perfect week for Juab’s offense to get back on track, otherwise this could be the beginning of the changing of the guard in a region that Juab has dominated for nearly a decade.
Mountain Ridge at Corner Canyon
The storyline this week is nearly as identical to last week for Corner Canyon.
It faces an undefeated 6A foe that is having tremendous success and hoping to take the next step as a program by showing it can compete with the state’s elite.
For Syracuse last week, the result was a 42-14 loss as it never recovered after coughing up 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and never recovered down 28-7 at the half.
It’s Mountain Ridge’s turn this week to try and figure out how to slow down the juggernaut Corner Canyon offense. Coming off a bye last week, the Sentinels have had plenty of time to install a game plan that they hope works in the Region 2 opener for both teams.
Mountain Ridge should be full of confidence entering the game after beating Lone Peak 31-17 in Week 4 as it was buoyed by two defensive touchdowns.
Cleaning up its own turnovers will be key against Corner Canyon as Mountain Ridge has thrown six interceptions this year. To have any hope of pulling off the major upset, Mountain Ridge will need to play a near perfect game.
Stansbury at Park City
It’s only Week 6, but based on the lack of quality in the rest of Region 10, this Friday’s Stansbury at Park City game is realistically for the region championship.
That’s how it’s played out in recent years, too, when these teams met.
Even though they were in separate 5A regions the past two years, Stansbury and Park City were in the same region from 2013 to 2020, and in six of those eight years, the winner of their game won the region title — they shared it in 2018.
Park City won the two most recent meetings in 2019 and 2020, with the 2020 game coming on a memorable TD heave on the final play of the game.
The Miners roll into Week 6 with a perfect 5-0 record with big early wins over Wasatch, Timpanogos and Dixie. The past two weeks have been very easy region wins over Hillcrest and Murray.
Stansbury is also 2-0 in region with easy wins over Cottonwood and Jordan, but prior to that it went 1-2 in games against strong 4A competition, Snow Canyon, Green Canyon and Ridgeline.
Lehi at American Fork
The last time Lehi and American Fork met was the 2020 season opener, and it basically looked like a varsity team against a junior varsity team with American Fork winning 55-0.
Three years later, the programs are on equal footing in the same region and classification, and this Friday’s Region 3 opener has all the makings of a fantastic football game.
Both teams are 5-0 and both have scored exactly 189 points, with similar defensive numbers as well.
Ironically enough, their only common opponent so far is Rigby, Idaho, with American Fork winning 50-7 and Lehi winning 45-13.
With both teams still needing to face Skyridge, Pleasant Grove and Lone Peak in the ultra-competition Region 3, this first region game is really a must-win situation for both for their region title aspirations and a more favorable playoff path down the season.