SALT LAKE CITY — After three weeks of competition, only five programs in the 4A classification can claim perfection still.
Two hail from up north in Cache Valley — Ridgeline and Sky View.
Another two call Southern Utah home — Canyon View in Cedar City and Snow Canyon in St. George.
Last, but certainly not least is Ogden, the sole unbeaten left from the spread out (geographically) Region 10.
Four of those five teams played Friday night — Sky View plays today (Saturday, Aug. 29) against Highland (ID) — and arguably none were more impressive than the Ridgeline RiverHawks.
The RiverHawks handled the Farmington Phoenix — Farmington won the Region 5 title last year in the 5A classification — in their home opener in Millville, dominating from start to finish. The end result was a runaway 45-7 win (box score), a statement victory if there ever were one this early in the season.
RiverHawks quarterback Kaden Cox accounted for four touchdowns in the win, including three on the ground, as Ridgeline outscored Farmington 28-0 in the first half, 17-7 in the second.
“Great team win,” Ridgeline head coach Travis Cox said. “I thought our kids played well on both sides of the ball. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
The same can be said for the Snow Canyon Warriors. The preseason pick to win Region 9, according to the Deseret News’ coaches’ poll, Snow Canyon took care of business against defending 3A champion Morgan. Thanks to a 24-point outburst in the second quarter, the Warriors rallied from an early deficit and defeated the Trojans 24-13 (box score).
Quarterback Landon Frei completed 13 of 18 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way for Snow Canyon. Two of those touchdown passes went to Jake Hill, who finished with two catches for 66 yards.
“We knew Morgan would physical and tough,” Snow Canyon head coach Mike Esplin said. “I’m proud of the way our team responded when they faced adversity. I’m also very proud that we hold our composure.
“We have work to do on all sides of the ball. We continue to be excited for that work. And we look forward to starting Region 9 play next Friday for our first home game of the season.”
Watch replay: Snow Canyon 24, Morgan 13
Excitement undersells the feeling in Cedar City right now, after the Canyon View Falcons defeated Enterprise 41-6 (box score) to start the season 3-0.
Quarterback Jake Garrett was practically unbelievable in the win over the Wolves, and finished with five passing touchdowns, three of which found Tyler Maine. The Falcons’ defense also came up with much needed plays time and again, forcing multiple turnovers. Canyon View trailed early on, before scoring 41 unanswered points to runaway with the victory.
It was a historic on at that, as Canyon View has started the year 3-0 for only the second time since the school was founded.
“Happy for our kids and our community,” Falcons head coach Chris Sawyers said. “We started out a little shaky, but it was awesome to see our guys right the ship. Garrett was able to go 18 fo 21 in the first half and our defense was able to force a couple of turnovers and a couple 3-and-outs that got us going.”
Watch replay: Canyon View 41, Enterprise 6
An undefeated start to the year is also big news in Ogden, where the Tigers stand 3-0 for the first time in the well over a decade. Ogden’s current three-game winning streak is the longest streak held by the Tigers during the tenure of head coach Erik Thompson.
The latest victory, a 30-6 win over Milford (box score), featured another slow start for Ogden, but a 24-0 run in the second and third quarters was all that was needed. Running back Logan Shobe continued his impressive play this season, rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Defensive back Ozzy Norton had two interceptions, including an 80-yard pick six. As for the rest of the Tiger’s defense, Austin Richards, Ammon Bergeson, Jared Blackham, Ryan Olivieri and Shobe combined to record 11 sacks.
“Our defense stepped up big,” Thompson said. “Milford has great coaching, outstanding athletes at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver, and a tremendous winning tradition. We were worried about them and have great respect for their program. Our defensive coordinator, Terry Larsen, came up with a brilliant plan and the kids executed it.”
Watch replay: Ogden 30, Milford 6
The unbeatens weren’t the only teams to have success Friday. Cedar City, Pine View, Ben Lomond, Mountain View and Stansbury all improved to 2-1 on the year, with some coming out on top in arguably the best games of the weekend.
Pine View, as has been the tradition lately, played a barnburner against Park City, winning 41-40 (box score). The Panthers raced out to a 21-0 first quarter lead, only to watch as the Miners battled back with 33 second half points.
After Enoch Takau scored the go-ahead touchdown for Pine View with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the win seemed all but certain. For seconds at least. On the ensuing kickoff, Park City’s Kirby Baynes ran 95-yards for a touchdown. In the end, a missed extra point was all that stood between victory and defeat for the Panthers.
Quarterback Brayden Bunnell finished with four touchdowns in the win, which was a bittersweet one, per Pine View head coach Ray Hosner.
“Both teams fought hard to the end,” he said. “It was one of those game you hate to see anybody lose, but I’ll take the win. I was proud of my kids. They found a way to win.”
The Mountain View Bruins also found a way to win, in one of the best victories in the program’s recent history.
Mountain View defeated Dixie 21-20 (box score), rallying not once, but twice. After Dixie went ahead 20-14 with 7:45 remaining in the 4th quarter, on a 42-yard field goal by Rene Bernal, the Bruins marched down the field, making big play after big play, per head coach Tyler Anderson, before senior running back Liam Hone scored the game-winning touchdown with under a minute left.
Huge Win for Mountain View tonight as they defeat Dixie, 21-20.— Tony Jeppson (@tonyjepp) August 29, 2020
The Bruins rallied from down six with 1:25 left in the game and @Liamhone_ ran in a 5-yard TD with :40 left to clinch the victory #MVHSfootball #GoBruins #UTHSFB pic.twitter.com/KdMwMcwsby
The Bruins rallied despite the devastatingly loss of senior wide receiver/defensive back Max Blackwell, who left via ambulance during the game after suffering an undisclosed injury.
“Our kids played great tonight,” said Anderson. “When you have a player leave in an ambulance you don’t know how they will react. Our kids reacted well and never gave up. Defense played lights out and our offense made big plays on our last drive to get the win. Prayers for our brother Max Blackwell.”
Perhaps the most meaningful victory Friday night, when it comes to postseason football, came courtesy of Stansbury. The Stallions hosted the Green Canyon Wolves in a potential playoff preview and came away with an impressive 42-34 win (box score).
Stansbury quarterback Kru Huxford threw for three touchdowns, two to Cayden Clark, and rushed for another, as the Stallions overcame a first half deficit by outscoring the Wolves a combined 28-13 in the third and fourth quarters.
The Stallions also overcame three turnovers, all of which came inside their own 20-yard line, according to head coach Eric Alder.
“This is a really good win for our program,” he said. “We had three turnovers inside our own 20 to end the (first) half and Green Canyon scored on all three. I’m really proud of the way we responded in the second half.”
As for Ben Lomond and Cedar City, both bounced back from disappointing losses a week ago.
The Scots took down the Red Devils of Evanston, Wyoming 29-14 (box score). Ben Lomond shut out Evanston in the first half, and the 29 points scored were the most scored by the Scots in a game since 2018. They were also the most points scored in a Ben Lomond win since the 55-19 triumph over Judge Memorial back in 2016.
“Proud of the kids for bouncing back,” Ben Lomond head coach Lyndon Johnson said.
Cedar City defeated Taylorsville 51-19 (box score). The Reds dominated from the get go, outscoring the Warriors 27-0 in the first quarter, 44-7 in the first half.
Quarterback Jaron Garrett threw for four touchdowns in the win.
Other winners Friday included the Mountain Crest Mustangs, the Logan Grizzlies and the Cedar Valley Aviators. All three entered the weekend without a victory to their name this season, but that isn’t the case anymore.
Mountain Crest traveled to Rexburg, Idaho to face off against Bonneville High, the one from Idaho Falls, and trip was quite the success. The Mustangs defeated the Bees 56-22 (box score), thanks to the offensive stylings of Cameden Oswalk, Elijah Jackson and Emilio Veater.
Each rushed for two touchdowns, in what was a complete team performance.
“I was very happy for our kids,” Mountain Crest head coach Jason Lee said. “To see their hard work pay off. The offense was really sharp and our special team played well. It was a great effort by all our kids.
“The O-line really picked up on their blitzes. We were able to get some big runs. Camden and Emilio ran really well and (quarterback) Zeb Benson threw well. All our receivers caught the ball well. I thought we played tough defense and took advantage of field position. It was just an all-around team effort.”
Logan defeated Cyprus 31-28 (box score), powered by the arm and legs of quarterback Kody Kirk. Kirk threw for three touchdowns in the win and rushed for another. The Grizzlies defense came up with stops when necessary, particularly on the game’s final drive, as Cyprus attempted to rally for the win.
“Our kids made plays when they needed to, on both sides of the ball,” Logan head coach Bart Bowen said. “Our defense played huge on that last drive and our offense came alive today.”
Cedar Valley topped Murray 41-14 (box score). The Spartans took an early lead, but the Aviators responded with six straight touchdowns. Quarterback Payton Weber threw for two scores and rushed for another.
“They boys worked hard all week and things really came together for us,” Cedar Valley head coach Weston Zabriskie said. “It’s a great momentum starter going into region play next week.”
Rounding out the action in 4A, Toole fell to Alta by a score of 51-12 (box score), Bear River was defeated by Bonneville 37-13 (box score) and Hurricane lost 45-6 (box score) to Mountain Ridge. Uintah was defeated by Providence Hall 27-7 (box score), while Desert Hills came up just short in a 28-26 loss (box score) to Spanish Fork.
Watch replay: Spanish Fork 28, Desert Hills 26