Felt’s Facts: Playoffs and milestones in Felt’s smorgasbord of football

Felt’s Facts Week 11 2015

Tournament Time

Of the 72 teams in this year’s playoffs, 59 – nearly 82% – also played in the 2014 tournament. Four more, Emery, Olympus, Pleasant Grove and Spanish Fork, return after a one-year hiatus.

Delta, Kearns, Mountain Crest, Viewmont and Wasatch last appeared in 2012.

The 2015 field includes four teams that haven’t seen tournament action at least once the past three seasons: Provo (2009), West Jordan (2009), North Sevier (2010) and American Leadership (2011).

Notably Absent

Orem, which last stayed home in 1998, ends a streak of 16 straight appearances. Riverton sits out for the first time since 2005 and Grantsville and Woods Cross for the first time since 2010.

Frequent Contestants

Fifteen schools have made the postseason at least 80% of the time those schools have played football. Six have perfect attendance, led by Rich, which has been in all 31 years of the school’s existence. The others are Desert Hills (eighth appearance), Herriman (sixth), Diamond Ranch (fifth), Summit Academy (fourth) and Corner Canyon (third).

The other nine 80-percenters: Hunter, 96.2% (25 of 26 seasons); Juan Diego, 93.8% (15 of 16); Timpview, 89.7% (35 of 39); Lone Peak, 89.5% (17 of 19); Syracuse, 88.9% (8 of 9); Fremont, 81.8% (18 of 22); Alta, 81.6% (31 of 38); Skyline, 81.5% (44 of 54); and Duchesne, 80.0% (36 of 45).

The Top-20 Playoff Appearances (including 2015)
1. Millard – 63
2. Box Elder – 59
3. Delta – 53
4. Orem – 51
5. Grand County – 50
6. Beaver, Logan – 49
8. Davis, Morgan, North Summit – 48
11. Kanab, Wasatch – 46
13. Jordan, Springville – 45
15. Monticello, Skyline – 44
17. Bingham, East, Judge – 43
20. Dixie, Highland – 42

Through last week, Millard has played in 128 state games, Skyline – 115, Delta – 106, Davis – 99 and Beaver – 97.

The Top-20 Postseason Victories (through Oct. 23)
1. Skyline – 88
2. Millard – 80
3. Timpview – 66
4. Delta – 63
5. Davis – 60
6. Beaver – 59
7. Dixie – 57
8. Judge Memorial, San Juan – 56
10. Jordan – 54
11. Bingham, East, Kanab – 52
14. Highland – 51
15. Logan – 50
16. North Summit – 49
17. Bountiful, Morgan, Orem – 48
20. South Summit – 47

Playoff Streaks

San Juan makes its 39th straight postseason appearance (since 1977), Highland, its 33rd (1983) and Rich, its 31st (1985). Others with long current streaks include Bingham, 27 (1989); Beaver and Timpview, 26 (1990); Hunter, 25 (1991); Millard and Morgan, 21 (1995); and Alta and Manti, 19 (1997).

Monticello advances to the playoffs for the 17th consecutive year (since 1999). Duchesne and North Summit make the postseason for the 16th year in a row (since 2000). Bountiful and Juan Diego see tournament action for the 15th straight year (since 2001).

A note of explanation: In smaller classifications, fewer teams means fewer rounds in state tournaments, so, often, the quarterfinal round is also the first round of the playoffs.

San Juan appears in the quarterfinals for the 29th consecutive season with a qualifier: the quarterfinal was also the Broncos’ first playoff game 14 of those years. With a victory at home this week over Summit Academy, the Broncos make the semis for the 21st time in those 29 seasons.

Millard is in the quarterfinals for the 21st time in 22 seasons, but 11 of those years, the quarterfinal was the Eagles’ first playoff game. Millard hopes to upset Beaver and compete in the semis for the 10th time in those 22 seasons, and first since 2011.

Manti competes in the quarterfinals for the 16th time in 19 years, but 11 times, including this season, the quarterfinal was the Templars’ first playoff game.

Grand is a quarterfinalist for the eighth time in 11 years, but four times, the quarterfinal was the Red Devils’ first playoff contest.

Several schools enjoy lengthy opening-round winning streaks. Bingham has bagged 11 straight first-round games. San Juan has snagged ten and Rich has captured nine. Hurricane has grabbed seven consecutive opening-round contests while South Summit has won six.

Skyline holds the state record. The Eagles snared 13 straight tournament openers from 1993-2005.

And More Tourney Streaks

Since 2013, Timpview has won in 12 consecutive playoff games. That’s tied for the fifth longest playoff winning streak (with Kanab from 1985-88) and the second longest in Timpview’s history (won 17 from 2006-09). Skyline won 23 straight (1995-2000), Northridge, 14 (2000-03) and Juan Diego, 13 (2008-11).

Three traditional powers, Bountiful, Davis and Highland, are hoping to advance beyond the first round for the first time since 2012.

Three of this year’s participants haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990s. Kearns last celebrated a tournament win in 1993 (0-10 since) and Murray last pocketed a postseason victory in 1996 (0-8 since). Milford hasn’t advanced past the first round since 1999 (0-13 since).

In addition, North Sanpete attempts to end its state-tournament losing streak: the Hawks are 0-11 since 2002. Tooele has a bye this week but will attempt to halt a six-game tourney losing streak in the 3A quarterfinals next week. Park City is 0-5 since advancing to the 3A quarterfinals in 2009, when it lost to Hurricane, this week’s opponent for the Miners.

Home-field Advantage

Twelve schools, led by Skyline’s remarkable 38-0 home playoff record, have never lost a postseason game on their own turf. Of the 12, Desert Hills (5-0) and Summit Academy (2-0, including last week) host this season.

Thirteen more hosting this week have a decided home-field postseason advantage. By percentage:
San Juan – .941 (32-2)
Kanab – .913 (21-2)
Timpview – .900 (36-4)
North Summit – .885 (23-3)
Beaver – .880 (22-3)
Rich – .867 (13-2)
Mountain Crest – .846 (22-4) and Juab – .846 (11-2)
Bingham – .838 (31-6)
Highland – .818 (18-4)
Jordan – .800 (24-6).

Millard has the most home wins in the postseason – 42 followed by Skyline – 38, Timpview – 36, San Juan – 32, and Bingham and Delta – 31.

Of note, Provo readies for a home playoff contest for the first time since 2009 (which was its last tournament appearance); Cedar and Highland host a tournament game for the first time since 2010.

First-year Coaches

The season saw 19 coaching changes, and nine of the newly hired coaches advanced their teams to the playoffs. Of the 14 who are first-time mentors, six took a team to the tourney: Josh Bennett (Cedar), Ben Felder (Altamont), Mike Meifu (West Jordan), Jack Pay (Gunnison Valley), Jordan Smith (Spanish Fork) and Andy Stokes (Dixie).

Three of five who had previous head-coaching experience, but are new to their school, qualified for postseason action: John Lambourne (Bingham), Alema Te’o (Alta) and Aaron Tillett (South Summit).

Repeats of 2014 Opening-round Games (3)

In Class 4A, Highland welcomes Salem Hills, but eyes revenge after suffering a 14-7 setback at Salem Hills last year.

In 3AA, Park City invades Hurricane with the same seeding for the second straight year. In 2014, the Tigers repelled PC 49-28 to kick off its state-championship game run.

There’s one repeat in Class 3A, Manti at Morgan. Last year’s contest was at Manti, which won 12-7.

And One Class 2A Quarterfinal Reprise

In 2A, South Summit entertains Enterprise in a quarterfinal bout for the second consecutive year. SS triumphed 48-14 in 2014 on its way to winning the state championship.

Playoff Notes

Two teams with winning records, Maple Mountain (7-4) and Layton (5-4), failed to quality for the postseason. One .500 team, Westlake (5-5), didn’t make the cut. But 18 teams with losing records made the tournament “led” this year by Gunnison and South Sevier’s 1-8 mark in the “all-comers welcome” Class 2A tournament. One of the teams with a losing record, Class 3AA’s Bear River (3-7), even gets to host this week (Pine View, which is 5-4).

The 2015 playoffs open with three first-time matchups including Syracuse at Sky View (5A), Bountiful at Wasatch (4A) and Snow Canyon at Stansbury (3AA).

This week also sees eight season rematches: Pleasant Grove at Jordan (5A), Brighton at Herriman (5A), Union at Juab (3A), Millard at Beaver (2A), Summit Academy at San Juan (2A), Milford at Duchesne (1A), Layton Christian at Diamond Ranch (1A) and Monticello at Rich (1A).

Of those eight matchups, PG at Jordan, Millard at Beaver and Monticello at Rich are reprised on the same field.

More details follow under notes for each classification’s games.

Class 5A Game Notes

Fremont leads its series with Davis 9-6 and defeated the Darts 28-17 when these teams last met in 2014. This marks their first playoff encounter.

Hunter took care of Roy in their two previous meetings, which came during the 2001 and ’02 regular seasons.

Lone Peak is 3-0 against West Jordan, including a 27-6 first-round victory at Lone Peak in 2009, the last time they met.

Bingham stymied American Fork 20-3 to win the 2014 Class 5A championship. That marked the Miners’ fifth straight victory over the Cavemen and upped their series lead to 11-5-1.

Viewmont swept Mountain Crest the three times these schools have faced off, from 1984-86.

Season rematches: Jordan tackled Pleasant Grove 28-21 at home on Sept. 4 (Week 3). PG won the first six in the series, but Jordan has taken the last six (since 2010) to even it up. Brighton handled Herriman 23-14 at home in the season opener on Aug. 21, bumping the Bengals record against the Mustangs to 3-0.

First-time meeting: Syracuse at Sky View.

Class 4A Game Notes

Provo and Murray tangle for the 13th time, but first since 1974, when Provo won 28-21 to extend its series lead to 8-4.

Box Elder and Springville duel for the third time, all in the playoffs and all at Springville. Box Elder won the first meeting, a 1926 quarterfinal bout. Seventy-nine seasons later, Springville finally gained revenge with a 42-6 whipping in a 2005 Class 4A first-round game.

East and Spanish Fork clash for just the second time. East nipped the Dons 14-12 in a 1996 Class 4A quarterfinal en route to the last time the Leopards won a state championship, their 16th.

Alta dominates its series with Kearns 18-1 as they meet for the first time since 2008. Kearns’ sole win came in the 1993 season opener. Since then, the Hawks have taken 11 straight.

Highland and Salem Hills reprise their only battle, the first-round contest in the 2014 tournament.

Corner Canyon defeated Olympus the past two seasons when they were region rivals, as they collide for the third time.

Skyline scorched Timpview 39-15 the last time these teams crossed paths, in 1996. Skyline has a 2-1 series edge.

First-time meeting: Bountiful at Wasatch.

Class 3AA Game Notes

Judge and Cedar have fought five times, all in the playoffs. In their last encounter, Cedar surprised the Bulldogs 45-21 in a 2011 first-round game at Judge in 2011. That trimmed Judge’s series lead to 3-2.

Pine View walloped Bear River 38-21 during the 2012 regular season at Snow College to bump its series lead to 3-1. But the Bears’ sole series victory was significant as it rewarded Bear River with the 2004 Class 3A championship.

Hurricane holds a 3-1 series edge over Park City. The Tigers rattled PC 49-28 in the first round last year in Hurricane.

First-time meeting: Snow Canyon at Stansbury.

Class 3A Quarterfinal Notes

Delta has yet to defeat Juan Diego; they met four times from 2005-08.

North Sanpete plays Emery for the 46th time, but first since 2010. Emery took the last two to increase its series margin to 25-20.

Manti and Morgan clashed last year in the 3A quarterfinals when the Templars ousted Morgan 12-7. It marked the second straight year that Manti knocked the Trojans from the tournament, but Morgan still leads the series 6-4. The other eight games were contested from 1989-1996.

Season rematch: Union at Juab – Juab tripped the Cougars 49-48 in a shootout on Oct. 14 (Week 9). That extended the Wasps series lead to 8-1.

Class 2A Quarterfinal Notes

South Summit eliminated Enterprise in a 2014 quarterfinal contest, winning 48-14, in their only previous meeting.

Grand crushed North Summit’s playoff hopes 34-13 the last time they squared off, in the 2013 semifinals at S.U.U., and sliced the Braves’ series lead to 9-5.

Season rematches: Summit Academy at San Juan – SJ eclipsed the Bears 41-14 at Summit Academy on Sept. 11 (Week 4) and claimed a 2-1 series margin. Millard at Beaver – The Beavers vanquished Millard 38-14 at home on Sept. 4 (Week 3), but the Eagles still enjoy a 22-14-1 series lead.

Class 1A Quarterfinal Notes

Kanab has a pristine 6-0 record against Altamont, including a 41-20 victory when they last met in 2014.

Season rematches: Milford at Duchesne – Duchesne ruled 41-0 at Milford in a season opener on Aug. 21 and grabbed a 17-6 series lead. Layton Christian at Diamond Ranch – DR clobbered the Eagles 50-14 at LCA on Sept.11 (Week 4) to even the series at 1-1. Monticello at Rich – The Rebels whitewashed Monticello 24-0 at home, also on Sept. 11 (Week 4), and upped its series lead to 15-11. This year marks the third straight that these two teams have met twice during the season.

Winning Seasons

Highland and San Juan have strung together 13 consecutive winning seasons, while Bingham has enjoyed 12 straight, Jordan, 11 and Davis, 10.

Milestones

Bingham tied a school record for season shutouts with six. The Miners also achieved that in 1941. Duchense also posted its sixth shutout, one short of school record set in 2006. The Eagles face Milford, who they shut out in the season opener.

Meanwhile, Mountain Crest suffered a shutout for just the fourth time since 1999. Maple Mountain was blanked for the first time since 2010, ending a school record streak of scoring in consecutive games at 53.

With its triple-overtime victory last week, Highland has now played in a state-leading 24 overtime games (14-10 record).

Before losing last week, Herriman set a school record by winning seven consecutive games.

San Juan attempts to pick up its 400th victory and North Sanpete its 300th. Fremont plays its 250th game and Syracuse its 100th.

Kearns (8-2) has its most victories since going 10-2 in 1993. Provo (8-2) has matched its eight-win season of 2009, but hasn’t won nine games since its 9-3 season in 2006.

South Summit tries to become the 24th Utah high school team to win at least 20 consecutive games. The Wildcats’ previous longest streak was 11 games, achieved twice, in 1984-85 and 1988-89. Duchesne holds the state record with 48 straight wins (2010-14).

State Records

Through the end of the regular season, five state records have been set or tied (aside from various longest-play categories, where 99- or 100-yard plays also tie state records).

Brighton’s Simi Fehoko claimed the career reception yards record (3,457).

Diamond Ranch’s Corey Lewis tied the record for the longest field goal (62 yards on Oct. 9).

Wasatch’s Skyler Southam hit a season-record 19 field goals and has booted a career-record 35. In addition, Southam tied the state record for single-game field goals (five on Oct. 9)

Jordan’s Jeffrey Timothy kicked a career-record 219 extra points.

More Season and Career Marks

Lehi’s sophomore QB Cammon Cooper ranks 19tth in season attempts (396) is tied for 13th in season completions (231).

Jordan’s Spencer Curtis, just a junior, ranks in the top-20 in several categories. He’s fifth in career reception yards (2,978), fifth in career receptions (172), 10th in season reception yards (1,416), tied for 15th in season receptions (83) and tied with three other for 19th in career TD catches (24).

Alta’s Joshua Davis has amassed 2,645 all-purpose yards this season, the ninth-most all time.

Maple Mountain’s Tanner Dayton added two field goals Tuesday bringing his career total to 25. That ties him for third all-time with Syracuse’s Romney Harker (2013-14). Dayton kicked 12 field goals this season, which puts him in 16th place, tied with five others.

Brighton’s Fehoko has 1,381 reception yards this season, which ranks 13th all time.

Another Jordan gridder, Drew Lisk, places 12th in season passing yards (3,513), 15th in season total offense (4,163 yards) and 20th in season TDs-responsible-for (45).

Summit Academy’s Justin Miller eclipsed the 3,000 season passing mark with 3,069.

The Regular Season’s Top-5…

Scoring teams: Jordan, 47.2; Canyon View, 41.8; Diamond Ranch, 40.1; Alta and Lone Peak 39.2.

Defensive teams: Duchesne, 6.2; Diamond Ranch, 8.4; Kanab, 8.7; South Summit, 9.4; Bingham, 10.0.

By victory margin: Diamond Ranch, 31.8; Lone Peak, 28.0; Duchesne and South Summit, 27.3; Bingham, 26.4.

Honoring Coaches

Recently, Morgan named its gridiron, Jan Smith Field, honoring the coach who won three state championships and six region crowns during his 15 seasons during the 1970s and ’80s. Smith began at Morgan when he was 22-years-old and weeks after being hired, learned he had multiple sclerosis. For many seasons, he coached from a golf cart or chair and made Morgan into a formidable football power, compiling a 108-55-1 record. He retired after the 1987 season and succumbed to the disease in 1991. (Thanks to Danny Mudrow for the stadium information.)

Last week, Skyline unveiled a new scoreboard with “Roger DuPaix Stadium” emblazoned on the top. The naming honors the winningest coach, by victories, in Utah prep history. DuPaix won 301 games, 246 of them at Skyline. He captured a record-tying eight state championships, including a record five-straight, and 13 region titles in his 26 seasons with the Eagles.

There are now 15 football fields and stadiums named to honor coaches. Another 20 recognize school officials, donors, community leaders and former athletes.

Playoffs from the Past

For decades, the position of a team in the state tournament has been determined by where a team finishes in its region. The seedings – not the teams – are set before the season begins.

But such was not always the case. From 1919, when the first championship game was played, through 1929, the UHSAA determined pairings on a week-by-week basis.

In 1929, the tournament was a maze of confusion. There were eight regions, but nine teams entered the playoffs. (Through 1963, only region champs went to the tournament, with a few exceptions.) East and Granite tied during the regular season and tied for the region title. The Leopards and Farmers held a playoff to decide the region champion. They tied again. The UHSAA decided both qualified for the state playoffs. Both received byes the first two weeks.

The first week of the tournament saw two “inter-region” games. Richfield and Tooele won and then played the second week in two more inter-region contests. Again Richfield and Tooele emerged victorious. There were five teams left in the playoffs.

During the season, unbeaten Richfield had wins over Wasatch Academy, North Sanpete, South Sevier and North Sevier. The Wildcats defeated Hinckley and North Summit in the playoffs. Richfield then got two byes and was sent directly to the finals.

Tooele received no such favorable treatment. Indeed, quite the opposite.

Tooele entered the playoffs on a 16-game winning streak over two years. Tooele had crushed opposition during the regular season. The Buffaloes averaged over 37 points a game and had allowed one measly touchdown (by Jordan) in seven games.

Still, Tooele was forced to travel to Springville for its first playoff game. In later rounds, Tooele was pitted against powerful East (6-1-3) and undefeated Davis (7-0). One senses an attempt, whether subtle or not, to make the path to the championship as difficult as possible for the Buffaloes.

The third week was called the “quarterfinal round,” but there were just two games. Tooele was placed in one quarterfinal against East. East entered the game with an all-time 11-0-2 playoff record, but suffered its first-ever playoff loss, falling 12-0. In the other quarterfinal, Davis beat Granite.

In the single semifinal contest the fourth week, Tooele battered Davis 25-13. In the championship game, Richfield (6-0) and Tooele (11-0) finally met. It marked the first time a Salt Lake school – East, West or LDS High – hadn’t advanced to the finals.

Richfield had 20 days between games to prepare for the title contest. But Tooele prevailed easily 32-0, winning its fifth playoff game that season. The championship encounter at Ute Stadium was Richfield’s first experience on grass as all its games had been played on dirt fields.

The 1929 playoffs were the last time pairings weren’t decided in advance of the tournament. But that didn’t mean the format was always determined before the season began.

Three years later, in 1932, for unexplained reasons, the state tourney wasn’t arranged by the start of the season. By midseason, it still hadn’t been scheduled and the UHSAA’s Board of Control cancelled the playoffs by a 6-5 vote. They concluded, “it was too late in the season and as a matter of ‘psychology’ [the playoffs] should wait until next season.”

However, high school coaches wanted a championship, petitioned for one and arranged it themselves. Only the five “strongest” of the eight region winners, Grand, Granite, Logan, Richfield and Tooele, entered the playoffs under the coaches’ format.

Grand and Tooele faced off in the only quarterfinal game. Granite eventually ended up as state champ with a 13-0 victory over Logan.

Finally

During the season, Felt’s Facts noted the consistent bell-curve nature of win-loss records over the regular season. Holding to form, the 2015 regular season finished with six undefeated teams and five winless squads.

See you on the sidelines.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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