Felt’s Facts: Week 7 is the real halfway point in football

Felt’s Facts – Week 8 2017

The 2017 Season’s Real Halfway Mark

With seven weeks in the books, it may seem the season is nearing its conclusion. But there’re still seven weekends of football remaining as the season crescendos toward November 17 when the last champions are crowned.

Undefeated Region Matchups

Seven regions feature a pair of teams that remain undefeated in league play, excluding Class 1A, which begins region games this week. This week, ignoring 1A, four contests match teams that are unbeaten in their respective regions. In Class 5A’s Region 6, Lehi invades Highland and in Region 8, Skyridge entertains Springville. In 3A South, Juab visits Juan Diego. And in 2A South, Beaver hosts Grand County.

Postseason at a Glance

Looking toward the postseason, 34 teams have already secured playoff berths, but 32 of them qualify just by purchasing uniforms – all of the teams in the 3A, 2A and 1A classifications. That includes Carbon (3A North), which hasn’t been to the state tournament since 2004, the longest time any current team has missed the postseason. At the other end of the spectrum, San Juan (2A South) also automatically qualifies, meaning the Broncos compete in the tournament for an ongoing state-record 40th consecutive year, since 1977.

Meanwhile, East (Class 6A – Region 3) and Bingham (Class 6A – Region 4) have played their way into the state tourney.

With 34 berths locked up, 46 spots remain up for grabs as a record 80 teams will see postseason action.

A boatload of teams – 14 – clinch playoff berths by winning this week regardless of the outcome of other games. In Class 6A, they include Weber (Region 1); Kearns (Region 2); Herriman, Riverton and West Jordan (Region 3); Lone Peak and the winner of American Fork at Pleasant Grove (Region 4). In 5A, they include Viewmont (Region 5) and Highland (Region 6). In 4A, they include Spanish Fork (Region 10), Stansbury (Region 11) and Sky View (Region 12).

Other teams can clinch berths, too, but they’re dependant on the results of other contests.

Note that Bountiful also needs one more league victory to clinch a playoff spot, but the Braves have a non-region game this week.

The Unbeaten

Entering Week 8, Bingham, Grand County, Sky View, Skyridge and South Summit remain undefeated with 7-0 records while Corner Canyon is 6-0. Grand has its best record since starting 9-0 in 1974. Corner Canyon won its first 12 in 2014, Sky View, its first 12 in 2015, South Summit, its first 11 in 2015 and Bingham, its first 14 last year. Two-year-old Skyridge is off to its best start.

Speaking of Bingham, the Miners are ranked sixth nationally in the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings. Corner Canyon is 38th and the only other Utah team in the top-50.

Consecutive Winning Seasons

Highland (5-2) has enjoyed 14 straight winning campaigns, tied with San Juan for the current state high, and needs one more victory to extend its streak to 15 seasons. San Juan (3-4) is in danger of not finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2002. Bingham (7-0) is guaranteed its 14th in a row while Jordan (6-1) has garnered its 13th straight. (Skyline holds the all-time record: the Eagles had 23 consecutive winning seasons from 1989-2011.)

Parowan’s Turnaround

Parowan (5-1) blanked its fourth straight foe and fifth of the season, both school records. The Rams’ four consecutive shutouts are the most since Diamond Ranch performed the feat in 2015. A shutout over Monticello (2-5) this week would be the most in a row since Bear River whitewashed five straight opponents in 2003. (The state record is 13 by West, when it was known as Salt Lake High, from 1898-1900. More “recently,” East shut out 11 straight opponents from 1943-44, although one of those games was a 0-0 tie.)

This season, Class 1A Parowan’s sole loss was a 14-13 setback to Class 2A’s Millard. The Rams currently lead all teams in the state in scoring margin (44.5 ppg) and defense (2.3 ppg) and are second in scoring (46.8 ppg). Perhaps this is more noteworthy because Parowan has enjoyed just eight winning seasons in its previous 68 years of football.

First year coach Carter Miller commented, “I believe this team would have been successful even without me. The thing that has changed the most is a belief. We have changed our mindset and believe we are winners and champions. You combine that with the talent we have and that would be a huge reason for our success and turnaround. Our offensive and defensive systems allow for the players to react and fly around. We have a great group of young men who have believed in our system and worked their tails off to run it. Having been an assistant/coordinator for 18 years before getting my shot here at Parowan, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and the kids have bought into that.”

The Rams are led by the coach’s son, Porter Miller, who ranks third in the state in touchdowns per game (2.2) and sixth in rushing yards per game (133.0). Miller set a school record on Sept. 22, rushing for 246 yards.

Lehi Gets a Shutout!

Lehi posted its first shutout since Oct. 21, 2004, a stretch of 135 games, and is no longer the team – among active schools – that has gone the longest without blanking an opponent. Copper Hills and Canyon View assume that role: both last whitewashed an opponent in 2008, a stretch of 91 games for both teams.

Most-improved

Millard continues to lead this week’s list of most-improved teams over last year. The Eagles have gone from 0-10 to 5-2, an improvement of 6.5 games. (The NCAA calculates the improvement by taking the difference in victories and the difference in losses, adding the two numbers and dividing by 2.) Altamont is the next most-improved teams, showing a 5.0 game improvement from 1-9 to 4-2.

Milestone Games

Jordan aims for its 550th victory, Orem goes its 500th and Murray its 350th. Bear River plays its 850th game and Riverton, its 200th. Among coaches, Ashley Brown directs Rich for the 200th time and Fred Fernandes coaches his 200th game with stops at Northridge, Woods Cross and now, at Roy.

First-time Matchups (6)

  • Cottonwood at Corner Canyon
  • Green Canyon at Sky View
  • Gunnison at Delta
  • Lehi at Highland
  • Richfield at Summit Academy
  • South Sevier JV at Wayne

Long Time No See

Five contests pit teams that haven’t clashed on the gridiron since at least 2010:

  • Tooele at Bonneville (last met in 1964) – these teams faced off annually from 1961-64; the series is tied 2-2.
  • Brighton at Timpview (1991) – Timpview snared a 13-10 victory in the Class 4A semifinals in their only previous meeting.
  • East at Riverton (2002) – these teams collided annually from 2000-02; East took the first contest but the Silverwolves captured the other two.
  • Red Mesa (Ariz.) at Monument Valley (2006) – the series is knotted 7-7.
  • Syracuse at Clearfield (2010) – Syracuse holds a 3-1 series lead with Clearfield’s win coming in Syracuse’s first season, 2007.
  • Taylorsville at Herriman (2010) – Herriman defeated the Warriors 13-12 in their only previous matchup.

Week 8’s Most-played Rivalries (min. 50 games)

By games played; series leader listed first:

  • American Fork-Pleasant Grove – AF controls the series 49-31-2 since 1931, but PG has won the last two and four of the past five.
  • Dixie-Hurricane – the Flyers dominate the series 46-19-1 since 1949 and have taken three straight over the Tigers.
  • Kanab-Milford – the Cowboys rule the series 48-10-1 since 1949 and have taken eight straight in the intermittent series; Milford last prevailed in 1999.

Career Stat Update

Here’s this week’s update on players who rank in the top-20 in all-time career performances that Felt’s Facts has been tracking this season. The list is alphabetical by school and then by player.

Alta’s Zach Engstrom ranks:

  • 11th in receiving yards – 2,562 – and needs 43 more to reach the top-10.
  • 13th in receptions – 150 – and needs 16 more to reach the top-10.

Corner Canyon’s Conner Ebeling ranks:

  • 16th (tied) in field goals – 19 – and needs six more to reach the top-10.

Dixie’s Hobbs Nyberg ranks:

  • Ninth (tied) in touchdown receptions – 32 – and is seven away from the top-5.
  • 12th in receiving yards – 2,561 – and needs 44 more to reach the top-10.
  • 18th (tied) in receptions – 137 – and needs 29 more to reach the top-10.

Jordan’s Crew Wakley ranks:

  • 14th in total offense – 7,681 yards – and is 1,207 yards away from the top-10.
  • 15th (tied) in touchdowns-responsible-for – 88 and is six away from the top-10.

Lehi’s Cammon Cooper ranks:

  • Second in passing attempts – 1,173 – and is 261 short of the state record.
  • Third in completions – 711 – and is 40 away from second and 100 shy of the state record.
  • Fourth in passing yards – 8.971 – and is 687 away from third place.
  • Fourth in touchdown passes – 84 – and is six away from third place.
  • 10th in total offense – 8,888 yards – and is 269 yards away from ninth place.
  • 12th (tied) in touchdowns-responsible-for – 90 – and is four away from the top-10.

Lehi’s Dallin Holker ranks:

  • 14th in receptions – 146 – and needs 20 more to reach the top-10.

Lehi’s Kade Moore ranks:

  • Seventh in receptions – 178 – and needs 20 more to reach the top-5.
  • 13th in receiving yards – 2,475 – and needs 130 more to reach the top-10.

Pine View’s Connor Brooksby ranks:

  • 16th (tied) in field goals – 19 – and needs six more to reach the top-10.

Taylorsville’s Dane Leituala ranks:

  • Seventh in total offense – 9,377 yards – and is 74 yards away from sixth place and 492 from the top-5.
  • Ninth in touchdowns-responsible-for – 95 – and is eight away from fifth place.

Two players surpassed important thresholds, even though they’re not in the top-20, yet. Dixie’s Jacob Barben has now passed for 4,035 yards over his two-year career, becoming the 91st Utah prep player to join the 4,000-yard passing club. Corner Canyon’s Colton Lawson became the 33rd gridder to cross the 2,000 reception-yard mark; he has 2,085 yards to rank 26th all-time.

See you on the sidelines!

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

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