6A high school football takeaways: Top-ranked teams roll as expected, while West, Granger among surprise Week 1 winners
6A elite, Corner Canyon, American Fork, East, Lone Peak all enjoy 20-plus point wins over quality programs
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s a win that no one will bat an eye at while skimming the Week 1 scoreboard, but for the West High football team, its 27-25 win over Clearfield was an unbelievably satisfying moment with everything the program went through to make it possible. (Box Score)
“No matter what happened, I was just grateful to be out there, to see my seniors have an opportunity. We take COVID-19 very seriously here cause our community deals with it on a daily basis. And for our community to see them out there was huge too,” said West coach Olosaa Solovi.
Like its other two Salt Lake School District counterparts — East and Highland — West wasn’t allowed to practice with contact until two weeks before the season. Solovi said most of the summer the team could only practice with about 20 guys standing six feet apart.
There were no 7-on-7 tournaments and no scrimmages.
Throughout the summer, at the mere hint of a Covid exposure for any of his players, Solovi sent them home for two weeks. He knew how quickly West’s season would get canceled if there were too many cases so he was extremely cautious this summer.
Despite little opportunity to actually prepare for the season, West actually played pretty well pulling out the road win. It built a 27-12 lead early in the second half and then held off Clearfield’s fourth quarter rally for the win.
“Extremely grateful to be out there. We know we can be better than that, but I’ll tell you what just being out there and feeling some kind of normalcy felt good,” said Solovi. “With Covid, there were a lot of deaths in our community. For a lot of our kids this was an opportunity to move forward.”
Another Region 2 team made a big statement against Region 1.
After falling behind 17-0, Granger showed great resiliency to rally for the 28-24 win over Syracuse. (Box Score)
After an 0-11 season for Granger last year, it was a win nobody saw coming. Kadius Fuimaono scored two touchdowns for the Lancers, including the game winner with 11:00 left in the fourth quarter.
“The boys never quit, they stayed positive and the love they’ve built during these crazy times lifted them thru. West Valley love. Great community support,” said Granger coach Pala Vaitu’u. “Going 0-11 last year didn’t go to well with us last year. Because of it the kids are committed to each other. There’s a great love for each other that they don’t want to disappoint each other.”
While a couple of Region 2 teams were surprise winners in Week 1, what wasn’t a surprise was how dominant the big boys of 6A were.
Of the four teams in the Deseret News 6A top five that played on Friday all won by 20-plus points.
No. 1 Corner Canyon jumped all over Farmington for the 49-20 win, leading 42-0 at the half and 49-0 heading into the fourth quarter. (Box Score)
Jaxson Dart threw three touchdown passes in his Corner Canyon debut, while he also rushed for two more scores. He was Roy’s starting quarterback last year.
Last year’s 6A runner-up American Fork crushed Lehi 55-0 in one of the wow performanesof the night. (Box Score)
“Our defense put us in great position all night. Interceptions by Fisher Ingersoll, Sam Hafen, Noah Moeaki and Gabe Shipley gave us short fields and the offense was able to turn those into points. Maddux Madsen was very efficient throwing for five touchdowns,” said American Fork coach Aaron Behm.
Four of Madsen’s five touchdown passes came in the first half as American Fork built a 41-0 lead by halftime.
HS scores grabbing my attention: 1. American Fork 55-0 over Lehi. I knew AF was going to be good, but 55-0 over a solid Lehi team? Wow. AF is stacked, and quietly have reached the state championship two years in a row. Coach Behm has done an amazing job turning that thing around— Brandon Gurney (@BrandonCGurney) August 15, 2020
East started slow in its game with West Jordan on Friday, which wasn’t necessarily a surprise to coach Brandon Matich.
It outscored West Jordan by three touchdowns in the second half though to pull away for the 42-19 road victory. (Box Score)
“It was a sloppy game, but we got better as the game went on. That’s what I hoped for. We’ve only been practicing for a couple of weeks, because of our late release to play. We haven’t really hit, been hit or taken anyone to the ground until tonight. We made some adjustments, proud of how they handled themselves in the second half. West Jordan is a scrappy well coached team,” said Brandon Matich.
East’s Tuione Tausinga opened the game with a 99-yard kickoff return, and ironically enough a kickoff return by West Jordan’s Carter Baldwin late in the fourth quarter was how the scoring ended as well.
Lone Peak didn’t put up quite the same volume of points as some of the other 6A powers, but its defense was equally as dominant in the 24-0 victory. (Box Score)
“I think everyone was just hungry, you know, with this whole COVID stuff. We were’t practicing as much and we’re excited to go out and hit somebody. I think that’s what happened tonight,” Lone Peak’s John Henry Daley told the Deseret News after the win.
Lone Peak senior Siale Tahi rushed for three touchdowns in the win for the Knights.
Other big 6A winners didn’t quite record the shutout, but were always in control behind their stout defenses.
Roy jumped out to a 49-0 halftime lead on Jordan en route to the 49-7 win. (Box Score)
Offensively, Izzy Gordon and Cade Harris both rushed for two TDs in the win over Jordan.
Pleasant Grove, Skyridge and Kearns were three other notable winners in 6A backed by great defensive performances.
Pleasant Grove built a 35-0 lead over Riverton early in the second half on its way to the 35-7 win. (Box Score)
Skyridge jumped all over Alta in the first quarter 26-0, eventually prevailing 33-13 (Box Score).
Kearns never actually found a rhythm offensively in its 20-3 win over Box Elder, but it didn’t matter (Box Score). It scored on a kick off return, block kick return and interception return, with Charles Henderson accounting for the latter two.
“Defense played very well and special teams was outstanding. We had some starters out this game and had some young guys really step up and do a great job. Proud of our guys for how they played against a very tough Box Elder team,” said Kearns coach Matt Rickards.
The week began on Thursday night with another strong defensive performance as Davis beat Herriman 24-20 in the first high school football game in the country. (Box Score).
“Our defense played fast, they play sound, coach (Colby) Bockwoldt and his defensive staff do great things,” said Davis coach Mitch Arquette.
After the game, the teams gave a wave to each other from their respective sidelines as a show of sportsmanship as postgame handshakes won’t be done this year.