Deeper look at the teams in the 4A state semifinals

4A State Semifinals (at Rice-Eccles Stadium)

Game 1, tonight, 6 p.m.
Mountain Crest vs. Stansbury

Mountain Crest Mustangs (Hyrum)
Record: 11-1
Region 12 Record: 4-1 (2nd)
Streak: 6 wins
Strength of Schedule (out of 10): 7
2016 Result: Went 3-6, missed playoffs
Current Ranking: No. 4
Points per game: 33.1
Points allowed per game: 15.2
Signature win: 22-21 over 5A Highland
Bad loss: none
4A 1st round: Defeated Salem Hills 44-34
4A quarterfinal: Defeated Dixie 18-17
Assessment: The Mustangs caught a few breaks with injuries to Dixie’s two best players, but the bottom line is they won on the road against a great team in the quarterfinals. MC’s first round win over Bear River was unimpressive, with the Bears pulling to within four late in the game. The Mustangs are one play away from being undefeated and ranked No. 1, losing to Sky View on the last play of the game. MC is decent on offense behind QB Brady Hall (2,727 passing yards, 29 TDs) and a trio of good receivers (Nick Nethercott, Beau Robinson and Cameron Moser). But the real strength is the defense, with Joshua Powell (120 tackles, five sacks) leading the way.

Stansbury Stallions
Record: 8-3
Region 11 Record: 5-0 (1st)
Streak: 7 wins
Strength of Schedule (out of 10): 5
2016 Result: Lost to Desert Hills in 3AA semifinals
Current Ranking: No. 8
Points per game: 34.0
Points allowed per game: 24.6
Signature win: 35-10 over Bonneville
Bad loss: 52-19 to Mountain Crest
4A 1st round: Defeated Cedar 28-20
4A quarterfinals: Defeated Ridgeline 38-7
Assessment: Beating a No. 4 and a No. 3 seed has impressed no one, so this game will be Stansbury’s first test in awhile. The close game against fourth-seeded Cedar further shows that Region 11 was pretty weak this year. But the Stallions bullied Region 11 (average score 36-15), despite falling flat against good teams like Sky View and Mountain Crest. SHS is all about running the ball with Silas Young (1,343 yards, 21 TDs) and pass for less than 100 yards a game. The Stallions give up way too many yards and points to go very far in the tourney (back in September, Mt. Crest had 510 yards on Stansbury).
Game projection: Should be just like when they met in September: Mt. Crest 52, Stansbury 19

Game 2, Friday, 6 p.m.
Sky View vs. Orem

Sky View Bobcats (Smithfield)
Record: 11-0
Region 12 Record: 5-0 (1st)
Streak: 11 wins
Strength of Schedule (out of 10): 8
2016 Result: Lost to Lehi in first round of 5A playoffs
Current Ranking: No. 1
Points per game: 36.5
Points allowed per game: 13.8
Signature win: 16-13 over Mt. Crest and 33-14 over Springville
Bad loss: none
4A 1st round: Defeated Mountain View 50-14
4A quarterfinals: Defeated Pine View 35-21
Assessment: The Bobcats were dominant in the first half vs. PV, but had to fight for their lives when the Panthers pulled to within 27-21. The first round win over Mt. View was merely a practice game. The Bobcats are the real deal, despite losing a chunk of their team to new school Green Canyon. Clearly the best players stayed at SV as the GC Wolves went 3-7 this year. Sky View has balance on offense, running 242 times and passing 199. QB Jackson Siddoway completes more than 60 percent of his throws and has 2,271 yards and 31 TDs. Siddoway and RB Cole Stokes have combined for more than 1,100 rushing yards. Mason Falslev is a big-time receiver. But the strength of this team is defense. Led by linebacker Koebe Wilson, the ‘Cats have allowed no opponent more than 22 points all year.

Orem Tigers
Record: 10-2
Region 10 Record: 5-0 (1st)
Streak: 8 wins
Strength of Schedule (out of 10): 8
2016 Result: Lost to Springville in first round of 4A playoffs
Current Ranking: No. 3
Points per game: 38.7
Points allowed per game: 16.3
Signature win: 35-20 over Spanish Fork
Bad loss: none
4A 1st round: Defeated Bear River 36-7
4A quarterfinals: Defeated Desert Hills 37-17
Assessment: Big plays on offense, defense and special teams led the Tigers up and over the Thunder in the quarterfinals. An uninspiring win over a four-seed was the first-round result for Orem. The Tigers have one of the top offenses in the state, averaging 38.7 points a game behind QB Cooper Legas (3,613 passing yards, 43 TDs). Puka Nacua is his favorite target, grabbing 76 catches for 1,561 yards and 22 (!) touchdowns. Legas has also rushed for 959 yards and four TDs. But, truthfully, Orem played in a weak region. Will the Tigers be able to stand up against the undefeated Bobcats?
Game projection: Nacua wins battle vs. Falslev, but Sky View wins the game: Bobcats 38, Tigers 24

4A football playoff bracket

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