5A high school football takeaways: Mountain Ridge, Brighton, Bonneville start 2020 strong with statement wins
Mountain Ridge controlled the game against Olympus for its first win in school history.
HOLLADAY — Coming off a 0-11 debut season, not much was really expected of Mountain Ridge’s football program heading into the 2020 season.
One week into the season and it’s already time to reset those expectations.
Perhaps the most impressive performance in the entire state in Week 1 belonged to Mountain Ridge, which played outstanding defense in the 27-17 road win at Olympus. (Box Score)
Mountain Ridge lost to Olympus 56-0 in the opener last year, which added to the satisfaction of the first win in school history Friday night.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and our coaches just for the progress they’ve made over the last year. We took our lumps last year with a lot of underclassmen and inexperienced players,” said Mountain Ridge coach Mike Meifu.
After the 30-minute bus ride home, the team flipped on the lights in the stadium and took a celebratory team photo to document that inaugural victory.
Cade Uluave had a huge hand in the victory with a pair of second-half touchdown runs, including a 4-yard burst in the opening drive of the third quarter that stretched the lead to 21-10.
“That was a tone setter right there, that was opening drive, we marched down the field 80 yards and punched it into the end zone with an exclamation mark,” said Meifu.
Mountain Ridge travels to Kearns next week with another opportunity to make a statement in a game it will surely be the underdog.
Another team that made a statement on Friday was the team projected to finish second to Olympus in Region 6 this year — Brighton. That deck might need to be reshuffled after one week too.
Brighton ran away from traditional Region 1 power Fremont, 56-42, in a game that wasn’t even that close. (Box Score)
“For these guys to have all the ups and downs that they experienced from the spring to the summer and not knowing if we were going to have a season,” Brighton coach Justin Hemm told the Deseret News after the game. “To come out here and compete against a well-coached team, it was a great day.”
Brighton quarterback Gabe Curtis accounted for six touchdowns in the win.
Bonneville showed off its growth as a program on Friday night as well in a strong 34-23 win over Hunter. (Box Score)
A year ago in the season opener Bonneville lost to Hunter 27-21, but on Friday it built a 34-6 lead early in the fourth quarter before Hunter tacked on a couple of late scores.
Bonneville quarterback Kamen Best threw four touchdown passes and rushed for another to lead the Lakers.
“Kamen Best is the real deal. He showed true leadership and ran our offense really well and got the ball into the hands of our strengths at receiver and running back,” said Bonneville coach Jantz Afuvai. “Defensively we played extremely aggressive against a very big, strong Hunter High squad. I was happy with special teams play as well. This was a team win tonight. When we play as one we play well against a respectable, highly effective 6A powerhouse in Hunter High. Really pleased with the Lakers tonight in our preparation and confidence amid all the Covid distractions.”
A pair of Region 8 contenders both got off to great starts to the 2020 season despite lengthy bus rides to get there.
Visiting Springville got a late touchdown from Kaden DeLlamas to edge Dixie 25-22 in their annual season opener, while Salem Hills traveled to Mountain Crest and rolled with an emphatic 34-8 win after building a 34-0 halftime lead.
It was a dream start to the season for first-year Salem Hills coach Jeff Higginson. (Box Score)
“Willie Leota played lights out, he was all over the place tonight in all three facets of that game. Our defense played physical, and fast,” said Higginson.”Reed Johnson had a Pick 6. Our defensive front had three sacks on the night. On offense Jerret Elmer threw for two touchdowns and played tough. I was proud of our offensive line tonight. We have things to work on but I’ll take the win in Game 1.”
Friday night marked the 15th straight season Dixie and Springville have played each other in Week 1, and like most years it was another great match-up.
DeLlamas’ 1-yard TD run with 5:09 remaining proved to be the game winner as Springville rallied for the fourth quarter victory over Dixie for the third straight year. (Box Score)
“Another close game vs. a very good Dixie team. Seth Rigtrup ran for 217 yards behind our line and kept the clock and sticks moving. Our Defense stepped up and got two big stops late in game,” said Springville coach Willy Child. “It was so awesome to be playing football. Love the way our kids battled and found a way to get a win.”
They weren’t the only Region 8 teams who had a strong start to the season.
Wasatch dominated rival Park City as new QB Adarius Edward passed for three touchdowns, while four different players scored TDs on the ground.
Region 8 favorite Maple Mountain looked every bit the part as it rolled over Cedar Valley 45-3 led by its strong contingent of senior leaders. (Box Score)
“I thought our players did a great job tonight. We have things to clean up, but we played with good effort and made plays down the field. I thought our experienced players in offense capitalized on opportunities and the defense played with intelligence,” said Maple Mountain coach Brad Burtenshaw.
Wasatch won eight games a year ago, and after five different players scored touchdowns in the opener it looks like it has the weapons offensively to be even better. (Box Score)
“Very proud of the way our players came out and played tonight getting the big win over rival Park City,” said Wasatch coach Steve Coburn.
And oh by the way, Orem is still really good.
The defending 5A state champs raced out to a 21-0 lead on neighboring Mountain View on its way to the comfortable 51-14 victory (Box Score).
A year ago Micah Fe’a wasn’t asked to do too much offensively for Orem, but this season the senior could have a breakout year as he tossed four TD passes in the opener.