Skyridge and Lone Peak are exactly where they expected to be at the beginning of the season, still playing football in week 14 in the 6A semifinals.
For Lone Peak, it is making its sixth straight semifinal appearance and 10th in the past 11 years. According to Utah prep football historian George Felt, by winning two playoff games each of the past six years, Lone Peak became just the sixth program in state history to accomplish that feat.
Skyline holds the state record of 13 straight years with at least two playoffs wins, something it did from 1993 to 2006.
Skyridge is making its first 6A semifinal appearance after reaching the 5A semifinals in 2017 and 2018 — losing in the title game each of those seasons.
Thursday’s semifinal is a rematch of Lone Peak’s 37-20 win over Skyridge back in Week 8 this year. Lone Peak led 16-14 heading into the fourth quarter but took advantage of some costly Skyridge turnovers to pull away for the comfortable win.
Both teams are very physical in the trenches, and both coaches acknowledged it’s the most important as aspect of the rematch.
“The game is going to be won up there,” said Skyridge coach Jon Lehman.
For the most part Lone Peak won that battle the first time around as it rushed for 273 yards and three touchdowns. It wasn’t very effective throwing the ball, but it didn’t need to be. Jaxson Willits led the way with 122 yards and two TDs in that win.
In Lone Peak’s four games since it’s been Eli Cloward that’s led the team in rushing, multiple weapons Skyridge will need to be aware of.
Lone Peak coach Bart Brockbank said his team has no problem throwing the ball if that’s what the game dictates, but his players will need to be ready for Skyridge’s physicality.
“They’re big and physical on the defensive side, they try and rough up the receivers and reroute them a lot. Of the teams we’ve played this year this is probably the only team that really does that so that will be a challenge,” said Brockbank.
Skyridge’s defense is very confident after last week’s 42-10 win over Davis, but Lehman acknowledged Lone Peak presents some unique challenges.
“Defensively we need to tackle a little bit better than the first time that we played them and defend the run better in general than we did the first time,” said Lehman.
Outside of a bad fourth quarter in back-to-back weeks against Lone Peak and Corner Canyon, Skyridge may have the best defense in the entire state and it is excited for another change to show it.
Offensively, the Falcons are led by super sophomore quarterback McCae Hillstead, who has passed for 2,866 yards and 34 touchdowns.
On the ground, Jeter Fenton is coming off a 110-yard, two touchdown performance in the big win over Davis. He’s closing in on 1,000 yards for the season and a strong game from him could alleviate the pressure on Hillstead.
Skyridge statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 40.3 ppg (third in 6A).
Scoring defense: 12.6 ppg (second in 6A).
Passing leader: McCae Hillstead (177-272, 65.1%, 2,866 yards, 34 TDs).
Rushing leaders: Jeter Fenton (196 carries, 990 yards, eight TDs), McCae Hillstead (134 carries, 636 yards, 15 TDs).
Receiving leaders: James Palmer (59 receptions, 987 yards, 13 TDs), Mitch Adamson (41 rec., 720 yards, 9 TDs).
Tackles leaders: Maka Fainga (65 tackles), Jackson Lambert (53 tackles).
Sack leaders: Peli Launoa (8.5 sacks), Stone Mulitalo (five sacks).
Interception leaders: Smith Snowden (6 INTs)
Lone Peak statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 37.8 ppg (5th in 6A).
Scoring defense: 12.2 ppg (1st in 6A).
Passing leader: Luke Romney (68-129, 1,224 yards, 14 TDs), Jonah Heimuli (90-161, 55.9%, 1,121 yards, 11 TDs).
Rushing leaders: Jaxson Willits (116 carries, 737 yards, 7 TDs).
Receiving leaders: Weston Covey (40 rec., 703 yards, 12 TDs).
Tackles leaders: Luke Durfey (100 tackles), John Henry Daley (74 tackles).
Sack leaders: John Henry Daley (20.5 sacks).
Interception leaders: Christian Arrington (4 INTs).
Felt’s Facts for Skyridge High School
All-time record: 46-14 (5 years) .
Region championships: 1 .
Playoff appearances: 4.
All-time playoff record: 8-3.
State championships: 0.
State championship record: 0-2.
Felts Facts for Lone Peak High School
All-time record: 206-85 (24 years) .
Region championships: 14 (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 co, 2005, 2009-co, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 co, 2015, 2016, 2018 co).
Playoff appearances: 22.
All-time playoff record: 40-19 .
State championships: 2 (2011, 2018) .
State championship record: 2-4 .