High school football: Dynamite Region 4 highlights week 6 slate as five teams are still undefeated
Corner Canyon, Skyridge, American Fork, Pleasant Grove and Lone Peak all went 5-0 in the preseason
SALT LAKE CITY — After five weeks of beating up on the rest of the state, including some of the top programs in Utah, it’s time for Region 4 teams to start picking on teams their own size.
Five of the six teams from Region 4 are a perfect 5-0 heading into the region openers this Friday, and even Westlake had a respectable preseason with a 3-2 record.
“Going into the first week of region and to still have five of the six undefeated I think says a lot about what this region is capable of,” said American Fork coach Aaron Behm.
Each Friday night from now until the end of the regular season will feature two of the biggest games in the state, beginning this week with Pleasant Grove at Corner Canyon and American Fork at Skyridge.
Two of those teams will fall from the ranks of the unbeaten in week 6, a week everyone in Region 4 has been eagerly looking forward to since week 1.
Lone Peak travels to Westlake in the other Region 4 opener, but it will be heavily favored to improve to 6-0.
“Playing in Region 4 there are so many good teams, and it’s such good competition and you get tested week in and week out. There’s a lot of good teams and good talent they get to go against, which they’re excited about,” said Corner Canyon coachx Eric Kjar, whose team is the consensus favorite heading into Region 4 amid a 31-game winning streak.
Corner Canyon’s margin of victory in the preseason was the highest of the Region 4 heavyweights, winning by an average of 38.8 points. It played with the mercy rule, second-half running clock in four of its five wins, with Bingham the lone game that wasn’t out of hand by halftime.
Skyridge has the second-highest winning percentage in Region 4 at 34.4 ppg, followed by Lone Peak at 32.4, American Fork at 31.8 and Pleasant Grove at 21.4.
The teams haven’t just been beating up on lesser foes either.
Corner Canyon beat Bingham by 22, Skyridge beat Orem by 21, American Fork beat East by 20 and Lone Peak beat both East and Orem by comfortable margins.
Of the five, Pleasant Grove is the team without a true signature win. It did beat quality 5A programs Maple Mountain, Wasatch and Lehi in the preseason, but none were the level of the dominance the other four Region 4 front runners displayed.
Despite that, Kjar said his Corner Canyon team will be very focused for the much-improved Vikings.
“They fly around and are super aggressive on defense, and they hit and they tackle well. They do all the things the right way, that’s what really sticks out,” said Kjar.
Pleasant Grove’s defense will need to play its best football to try and slow the Chargers’ offense, which is tied with American Fork for the second-most points scored in the entire state with 254. Only Beaver in 2A has scored more with 269 points.
For American Fork and Corner Canyon, their quarterbacks are catalysts behind their 6A-best offenses. Corner Canyon’s Jaxson Dart has 30 combined touchdowns (23 passing, 7 rushing) this season, while American Fork’s Maddux Madsen has passed for 27 TDs.
On the other side of the ball each of the five contenders features standout defenses, but Lone Peak has been head and shoulders above everyone else only allowing 5.0 ppg.
Skyridge’s defense is only allowing 8.2 ppg, but slowing down American Fork will be an entirely different manner. It has scored 31-plus points in all five games, and over 50 points on three times.
If Skyridge’s defense doesn’t slow American Fork like it hopes, it can always fall back on an outstanding offense of its own, but also the knowledge of what it takes to beat the Cavemen after last year’s 45-34 win.
“Their quarterback (McCae Hillstead) has been very comfortable back there. He’s done a great job hitting the deep ball. So we have to defend the deep ball and the deep slant and the things that they’ve been super successful with,” said Behm.
It’s a challenge Behm said everyone is looking forward to as the team battle for the coveted Region 4 supremacy.