Felt’s Facts – 2015 Week 4
Defending Region Champs
This week, all the Class 5A regions, along with Regions 5, 7 and 8 in 4A and 3AA North, begin league competition. In short, all the regions with seven teams start region play. Every other region sees league action next week. However, Duchesne and Rich in Class 1A North, and Diamond Ranch and Kanab in 1A South, don’t have region games until Week 7 on Oct. 2.
This season, several teams try to extend their string of consecutive region championships, either outright or shared. Bingham, Diamond Ranch and Hunter have captured three straight. Corner Canyon, Judge Memorial, South Summit and Timpview have claimed back-to-back region titles (though Judge has changed classifications).
In Utah prep football history, Millard has won the most consecutive region championships, 12 from 1949-60, while Dixie (1966-76) and Juan Diego (2003-13) snared 11 straight.
Three teams won’t have the opportunity to compete for region titles in 2015. Ogden, Monument Valley and Whitehorse opted to play independent schedules this season. MV and Whitehorse have drifted in and out of participating in 1A football in the past, figuring, correctly, that they have better success against other Navajo Nation schools in neighboring states. Their most recent foray into independence was from 2005-2008 and before that from 1997-2000.
Ogden decided to go independent in football this season as school officials felt the team could not compete in a new Class 4A region with Bountiful, East, Highland and Woods Cross because of low participation numbers and concerns for injuries. Appeals to the UHSAA to place the Tigers in 3AA or 3A failed.
Ogden has actually played as an independent once before, in 1937. Other “non-Navajo Nation” schools have too. However, none has for almost 50 years. The most recent were Green River and Wasatch Academy in 1967. (Those two dropped football in 1981 and 1971, respectively.)
In 1962, Emery opened, but didn’t compete in a region its first season. In the early 1940s, Carbon and Grand played as independents, but could still qualify for the state tournament based on their season records.
The most notable case of independence occurred in 1933 when East, South and West left the UHSAA in all sports and formed their own City League. They claimed to be disadvantaged as two-year schools while other schools were three- or four-year institutions. They suggested more students would participate because of less travel time to play distant opponents and for “enjoyment and physical development” instead of for championships. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 12, 1933)
Each school had an ‘A,’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ team based on height and weight. But they still recognized a City League champion in each sport based on the combined records of the three teams. They also ended up playing junior college teams – Snow College and Weber Academy – and several out-of-state opponents when the UHSAA ruled member schools had to play other member schools starting in 1935.
However, the real reasons for their “rebellion” may have revolved around their inability to be competitive, rather than their stated reasons of reducing travel time and playing for fun, as those were quickly disproved. Since 1927, no city school had done well in the state playoffs and since 1931, in region either.
Seven years after forming the City League, in 1940, the renegades returned to the UHSAA, but retained their own City League and didn’t participate in state playoffs until 1943.
Ogden joined the independent City League, but for just the 1937 season. That year, the UHSAA divided the 41 football-playing schools into two classifications, A and B. Other sports remained in one classification until 1944. For football, Davis, Granite, Jordan and Ogden were required to travel to Utah County and Price where other Class A schools were located. Those four considered joining the City League because of travel concerns, but only Ogden did. By 1938, the Tigers figured the benefits of inclusion in the UHSAA outweighed those of the City League, especially for the teams other than football.
One other school, Provo, later tried a year of semi-independence in football. In 1945, realignment placed Davis, East, Granite, Jordan, Ogden, South and West in Class A’s Region 2. Provo was invited to join, but declined, claiming it didn’t have the proper facilities since the Bulldogs played at a Provo city park. However, Provo’s real intent was to qualify for the playoffs without beating any Class A opposition. Indeed, all of the Bulldogs’ wins came over Class B schools, and so the UHSAA eliminated Provo from playoff consideration. Getting the not-so-subtle hint, Provo joined Region 2 the following season. The Bulldogs continued to use the park for home games and didn’t construct their own field until 1963.
A look at the 17 teams with 3-0 records reveals eight schools that are off to their best starts in several years.
Layton hasn’t opened the season with three wins since 1987 when the Lancers claimed their first seven…. A Provo victory at winless Mountain View gives the Bulldogs a 4-0 record for the first time since 1988 when they started 6-0…. Kearns enjoys its best start since 1993 when the Cougars captured their first five and advanced to the state semifinals.
Canyon View has its best start since 1998 when the Falcons won their first five, a school record…. A Mountain Crest triumph over Fremont puts the Mustangs at 4-0 for the first time since 1999…. Pine View has the week off, but can go 4-0 for the first time since 2007 by defeating Snow Canyon next week. That 2007 team started 13-0 and advanced to the Class 4A championship game.
Juab and Sky View celebrate their best starts since 2008. That year, Juab won its first 10 games while the Bobcats snared their first six.
The other undefeated teams have all started 4-0 or better at least once since 2011.
Breakthough Games from Week 3
Beaver defeated Millard, 38-14, for the first time since 1996, snapping a 14-game losing streak to the Eagles…. Canyon View nipped Cedar, 42-41, for its first win over Cedar since 2005. The Falcons took home the Pick, the traveling trophy awarded to the winner, for just the third time in the 19-game series…. Carbon posted its first shutout since 2007, a stretch of 75 games.
Cyprus snapped a 15-game losing streak by defeating Copper Hills…. Diamond Ranch beat Duchesne for the first time in six tries…. Layton broke a six-game losing skein to Northridge and reclaimed the Spear for the first time since 2008.
Lone Peak scored in a school-record 100th straight game going back to 2007. That’s seventh on the active scoring list and 21st overall…. Milford whitewashed back-to-back opponents for the first time since 2000. With a game against Altamont, which has been blanked twice this season, the Tigers are on the verge of shutting out three consecutive opponents for the first time in school history.
Mountain Crest posted a shutout over Logan for the first time since 1991, some 21 games ago in the series. It’s just the third time Logan has been held scoreless since 2001…. Payson shattered a 21-game losing streak with its win over Ogden…. South Summit has now won a school-record and current state-high 13 consecutive games. The Wildcats are the only defending champions that remain undefeated. (The others, Bingham, Dixie, Judge Memorial, Rich and Timpview have all lost at least once.)
The season is still young, but Davis and Mountain Crest lead the state in margin of victory. The Darts have won by an average of 32.3 p.p.g. while MC is close behind at 30.7. Lone Peak follows with a 27.0-point average margin of victory and Sky View is winning by 25.3 p.p.g.
Eight teams, including several that aren’t traditional powers, are averaging over 40 points a game through three weeks:
Summit Academy, 47.3
Canyon View, 46.3
Mountain Crest, 44.3
Park City, 41.0
Five squads allow fewer than 10 points a game:
Davis and North Summit, 9.0
American Leadership and Lone Peak, 9.3
Just one game, a region opener, pairs unbeaten teams: Maple Mountain at Springville in Region 8. Two non-league games pit winless teams: Grantsville at Bear River and Timpanogos at Hillcrest.
As usual, realignment creates interesting opportunities for schools to meet for the first time. This week sees four such matchups. Cedar has played football since 1949 and Juab since 1955, but they’ve never met before. Other first-time meetings include Box Elder at Herriman, Murray at Juan Diego and Skyline at Wasatch.
Most-Played Rivalries (min. 40 games)
Felt’s Facts typically has a 50-game minimum for highlighting long-running series, but no games meet that criteria this week – that’s rare – and only three series have been played more than 40 times.
Davis and Viewmont renew their feud for the 48th time. Their series began in 1964 and isn’t uninterrupted, but they’ve met every year since 1979. The Darts have claimed five straight over Viewmont to increase their series lead to 34-12-1.
Cyprus and Granger clash for the 47th time, but first since 2012. Granger controls the series, 25-19-1 and won the last encounter, 41-38 in overtime.
Highland has a 27-17 series lead going into the 45th battle with Bountiful; they’ve split their last six meetings.
Other Game Notes
Three games pair teams that haven’t met since the 1990s: Dolores (Colo.) at Monument Valley (1993), Union at Richfield (1994) and Ogden at Snow Canyon (1998).
Fremont and Mountain Crest faced off annually from 1997 through 2008, but the series took a break until this season when both teams were placed in Region 1.
Grand and Gunnison tangle for the 10th time, but first since 2010. Jordan and Taylorsville also skirmish for the 10th time and first since 2010. Payson and Uintah also last fought in 2010, but they’ve played each other 17 times.
Despite being in different classifications, Alta has played Timpview nine times, including every year since 2009. This season, their game opens action in Region 7 with the T-birds holding a 6-3 series edge over Alta.
Stansbury and Tooele meet in the Battle for the Boot; Stansbury leads the series 4-2.
Box Elder invades Herriman, gunning for its 550th victory. Only Davis (569), West (562) and Millard (557) have more wins. Rich and South Sevier are still aiming to win their 200th games.
Cyprus takes the field for the 800th time, while Cedar competes in its 650th contest.
Among coaches, Logan’s Mike Favero directs his 200th game in 17 seasons.
Just one of the 19 coaches with a new team this season remains undefeated after three weeks: Aaron Tillett at South Summit. He previously coached at Ben Lomond from 2000-02.
Notable Week 3 Performances
Three kickers hit three field goals last week and two of them provided their team’s margin of victory. Connor Brooksby’s kicks helped Pine View defeat Manti, 30-15. Murray’s Gage Cutherbertson’s field goals included a 53-yarder, the second-longest in prep football this season, as the Spartans beat Tooele, 23-20 (the longest is by Stansbury’s Tari Lewis of 56 yards).
Skyler Southam’s third FG, the last score of the game, secured Wasatch’s 30-27 triumph over Orem. Southam also booted three field goals in Week 2 against Westlake. Over his career, he’s made 24 field goals, which ties him with three other players for the third-most, all time. Southam is just four shy of the state record, 28, kicked by Justin Sorensen during his career at Bingham (2005-07).
In Weber’s 37-39 win over Bonneville, QB Cameron Mortensen tossed five TD passes for just the third time in school history and one short of the school record.
See you on the sidelines!
Felt’s Facts is a prep football column written weekly by George Felt. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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