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High school football: Skyridge Falcons 2019 preview

Note: Skyridge finished with a 11-2 overall record in 2018 and was first in Region 8 with a 5-0 record. It lost to Corner Canyon 31-14 in the 5A championship.

Skyridge 2018 Offensive and Defensive Stats

LEHI — With some teams there exists some doubt with regards to how well they'll fare when jumping up in classification, and then there's programs like Skyridge. The Falcons made the leap from 5A to 6A play this offseason, and if the program's short history is any kind of a guide, observers can expect them to do just fine.

Indeed Skyridge has been exceeding expectations since its first season as a program back in 2016. Instead of taking it on the chin that first year, the Falcons made the playoffs before making it clear to the 5A state championship game the past two seasons.

Seems to reason the fourth-year program should do fine competing in 6A.

"We hope so," said Skyridge coach Jon Lehman. "I think we've been preparing for this since we started here, so making the jump to 6A feels sort of natural, I guess. We've been expecting it to happen since our first year, really."

Not only does Skyridge jump to 6A, but also into Region 4, which is generally considered the toughest region in the state.

"You look at every four teams in this region making it to the semifinals last year and yeah, it's a very tough region," Lehman said. "Now Bingham is gone, but you add Corner Canyon — it's going to be a challenge. There's no weeks off at all for us. That's for sure."

Other challenges involve the Falcons having to replace several standout starters from a year ago, which includes the team's starting quarterback, leading rusher, leading receiver and leading tackler.

"It's always tough to replace guys you depend on, but we've made certain to build good depth since we've been here," Lehman said. "We feel guys are prepared and they've had good offseasons to where we feel real confident about the guys stepping up to take big roles."

Skyridge Falcons at a glance

Coach: Jon Lehman is in his fourth year coaching at Skyridge and has an 29-9 overall record. The Ohio native taught at American Fork, where he was the defensive coordinator for six years.

Skyridge offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Joel Lira

2018 offensive production: 40.2 ppg (2nd in 5A)

— Four returning starters

— Spread offense

Key returning starters on offense

Dylan Samuels (WR): Samuels caught 24 passes for 531 yards and five touchdowns a year ago.

Dakota Dickson (OL): Returns to help anchor a relatively inexperienced offensive line.

Returning starters:

Dylan Samuels (WR)

James Palmer (WR)

Dakota Dickson (OL)

Adam Pond (OL)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Noah Erickson (WR)

Mitch Adamson (WR)

Jackson Lambert (RB)

Jeter Fenton (RB)

Brandon Shrimp (RB/WR)

Emmett Call (QB)

Dallin Richards (OL)

Lehman on new quarterback Emmett Call:

“He’s a smart kid and really good athlete, but he’s a very good thrower, too. He reads the field and can make all the throws we need him to make. We felt he could have started for us last year, and almost did. He was that good and he’s just made strides since last season.”

Lehman on his new group of receivers:

“We think we have a trio of junior receivers that are really going to step up this year, led by Dylan Samuels. We have a lot of confidence in them and think they’ll all be real playmakers for us.”

Lehman on his offensive line:

“We have two starters on our offensive line and they’re both very good and they’ll both play tackle for us, so we feel good about that. They’re both long and we feel both will have good years.”

Keys for offensive success in 2019:

It's all about the offensive line coming together for Skyridge. As Lehman mentioned, there's no break in play when competing in Region 4 and the Falcons' offensive line must be ready to take on formidable fronts every week. Should the OL suffice then the offense should prove productive with some good key parts returning.

Skyridge defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Jon Lehman

2018 defensive production: 19.2 ppg (5th in 5A)

— Six returning starters

— 4-3

Key returning starters on defense

Ioholani Raass (DL): Raass is a two-year starter for the Falcons and had 11.5 sacks with 64 tackles a year ago.

Malae Tanuvasa (DB): He had 50 tackles last season playing at linebacker, but makes the switch to defensive back for his senior season.

Returning starters

Ioholani Raass (DL)

Stone Mulitalo (DL)

Teedric Toilolo (DL)

Malae Tanuvasa (DB)

Bowen Thomas (DB)

Jackson Lambert (DB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Stanley Raass (DL)

Dakota Humphrey (DL)

Carter Southwick (LB)

Carson Baker (LB)

Gabe Coomes (LB)

Colby Dulle (LB)

Taylor Shelton (DB)

Eli Crockett (DB)

Lehman on Ioholani Raass:

“It’s going to be his third year starting and he led us in sacks in both his two previous years. I’ve never coached a pass rusher as good as him and he just keeps doing it all for us. He gives us a lot of burst and playmaking ability up front.”

Lehman on his inexperienced linebackers:

“It’s a new group, but I’m really happy with how they’ve developed through the offseason. Our coaching staff has done a really good job plugging them into the same roles we’ve used in the past. They’ve risen to the challenge so far.”

Lehman on Malae Tanuvasa:

“We switched him to safety from linebacker for this year because that’s where we think he can play best at the next level. He’s really made the transition well and we’ll rely heavily on him to lead the defensive backfield.”

Bottom line:

Welcome to Region 4, where some of the state's top teams can find themselves near the bottom of region standings. Look for Skyridge to encounter some growing pains, but still be able to prove competitive most weeks. As mentioned, the Falcons have resembled a top 6A team recently and should do so again in their first year as officially such.

Coaches Region 4 straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News Region 4 prediction: Fourth

Key region game: Sept. 20 at American Fork

2019 Schedule

Aug. 16 — ALTA, 7 p.m.

Aug. 23 — SKY VIEW, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 — SIERRA VISTA, NEV., 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 — at Orem, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 — at American Fork, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 — PLEASANT GROVE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 — LONE PEAK, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 — at Corner Canyon, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 — at Westlake, 7 p.m.

...

Felt’s Facts for Skyridge High School

All-time record: 29-9 (3 years)

Region championships: 1

Playoff appearances: 2

Current playoff appearance streak: 2

All-time playoff record: 6-2

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-2

...

Last 5

  • 2018 — 11-2 (5-0 in Region 8 - 5A Runner-up)
  • 2017 — 12-2 (4-1 in Region 8 - 5A Runner-up)
  • 2016 — 6-5 (4-3 in Region 7 – Missed playoffs)

...

Skyridge coaching history

  • 2016-current — Jon Lehman (29-9)

.....

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2018 — Ma'a Notoa, RB
  • 2018 — Nathan Upham, WR
  • 2018 — Logan Sagapolu, C
  • 2017 — Alex Palmer, CB
  • 2017 — Charles Raass, DT
  • 2017 — Logan Sagapolu, OT
  • 2016 — Wyatt Parkinson, WR

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