A closer look at the 4A championship between Orem and Mt. Crest

4A State Championship (at Rice-Eccles Stadium)

4A Championship, Friday, 11 a.m.
Mountain Crest vs. Orem

Mountain Crest Mustangs (Hyrum)
Record: 12-1
Region 12 Record: 4-1 (2nd)
Streak: 7 wins
Strength of Schedule (out of 10): 7
2016 Result: Went 3-6, missed playoffs
Current Ranking: No. 4
Points per game: 31.8
Points allowed per game: 14.5
Signature win: 22-21 over 5A Highland
Bad loss: none
4A 1st round: Defeated Salem Hills 44-34
4A quarterfinal: Defeated Dixie 18-17
4A semifinal: Defeated Stansbury 17-7
Assessment: It feels like Mt. Crest had an easy road to the title game, playing Stansbury and Salem Hills, plus beating Dixie on an injury-filled night for the Flyers. Nevertheless, this is a good defensive squad with just enough offense. 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 (2,866 passing yards, 30 TDs) and a trio of good receivers (Nick Nethercott, RB Beau Robinson and Cameron Moser). But the real strength is the defense, with Joshua Powell (128 tackles, five sacks) leading the way.

Orem Tigers
Record: 11-2
Region 10 Record: 5-0 (1st)
Streak: 9 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: 37.8
Points allowed per game: 16.0
Signature win: 28-12 over Sky View
Bad loss: none
4A 1st round: Defeated Bear River 36-7
4A quarterfinals: Defeated Desert Hills 37-17
4A semifinal: Defeated Sky View 28-12
Assessment: The Bobcats slowed down Puka Nacua, so Tigers QB Cooper Legas had to find other ways to win in the semis – and he did. No doubt. Nacua is the MVP of this team, but Orem is not a one-trick pony. 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 37.8 points a game behind QB Legas (3,802 passing yards, 44 TDs). Nacua is his favorite target, grabbing 83 catches for 1,616 yards and 23 (!) touchdowns. Legas has also rushed for 987 yards and six TDs. Orem has shown that Region 10 maybe wasn’t so weak after all.
Game projection: Orem seems to be the team of destiny: Tigers 27, Mustangs 20

4A football playoff bracket

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