Wednesday, September 24, 2008

George Felt column

George Felt is a Salt Lake City resident who is a big fan of high school sports. He has published a book entitled, "Utah High School Football." Because of his knowledge, he has also become a weekly guest columnist for the Deseret News.

I met Mr. Felt last week and wrote a small article in last week's issue, of "Matchup," your football game program. Mr. Felt sent me his column this week, and I'm placing it here on the blog. Enjoy.

Week 6 Preview

The Undefeated and the Winless

Just one team – Alta – lost for the first time last week, leaving 11 unbeaten teams. There’s one game between undefeateds this week: North Summit at Manti (both 5-0) in a 2A-North showdown. NS is enjoying the second-longest current winning streak, 17 games, well past its previous school record of 12 set in 1974. Of course, Timpview expects to defeat Mountain View and tie Rich’s state-record 28-game winning streak, set from ’94-’97. The third longest current win-streak belongs to the other nine 5-0 teams.

There’re only two more possible matchups between undefeated teams the rest of regular season: Juan Diego at Delta on Oct. 24 and, depending on the NS-Manti winner, either Manti at Juab next week or Juab at North Summit on Oct. 15.

The only Class 5A team still undefeated is West Jordan. Last week, the 5-0 Jaguars matched their best-ever start set in 1999. However, this week’s opponent, Bingham, has won six straight over WJ and leads the series 20-7. In 4A, Cottonwood, Sky View and Timpview remain unbeaten.

Cottonwood (5-0) will match its best-ever start with a victory over West. In 37 years, the Colts have been 6-0 three times before, including last season.

Delta hasn’t been 5-0 since starting 9-0 in 1994. The Rabbits lead the state in shutouts this year with three.

Millard and Snow Canyon picked up their first victories last week, leaving 10 winless schools. That’ll go down by at least one as Payson visits Provo in this week’s only matchup of winless teams.


Uintah has gone from 1-9 last year to 4-1 so far this season and Hurricane from 3-8 to 5-0.

This Week's Most-played Rivalries (series leader listed first)

Murray and Cyprus battle for the 70th time; Murray leads 37-28-4….Kanab meets Parowan for the 67th time; the Cowboys have won 44 straight over the Rams and lead 61-4-1 in the state’s most lopsided series. Parowan last beat Kanab in 1970….Delta and North Sanpete clash for the 63rd time; Delta dominates this series, 51-9-2, but North Sanpete won last year, 20-13….American Fork plays Spanish Fork for the 53rd time; AF leads 36-15-1, but Spanish Fork won in ’06 (22-20) and ’07 (22-16).

Other Game Notes

Hunter has taken 14 of 18 from Kearns….Copper Hills holds a 5-4 edge over Riverton, but Riverton has won the last three. Highlight of the series: CH won a double-OT thriller, 61-60, in 2000….Northridge has defeated Layton 11 of the 16 times they’ve met. Layton won last year, 28-10, after Northridge claimed the previous 10….Bonneville gave Sky View its only region loss last year.

Also, Skyline leads its series with Alta 7-4, but the Hawks have won the last three….Fremont has a 5-3 edge in its series with Viewmont….Carbon and Emery clash in the Coal Bucket game; the Spartans have captured the traveling trophy 17 of the 19 times they’ve played since starting the series in 1989. Carbon won it in 1994 and 2000.

First time meetings

Salem Hills at Juan Diego and Box Elder at West Oaks Academy (Orlando), a private, Christian school. The Flame defeated Florida Christian, Beacon of Hope Christian and Potter’s House Christian before losing to South Florida Christian last week.


In addition to Kory Bosgeiter and Rhett Jackson’s quest for win #50, Marshall Sheriff is going for his 75th victory at Millard….West Jordan’s Mike Morgan is coaching his 100th game.

Bear River is playing its 750th game, Richfield, its 650th and Riverton, its 100th contest.


Three small, private schools have recently added football programs. Abundant Life Academy, Diamond Ranch Academy and Sorensen’s Ranch all play independent schedules, mostly against out-of-state schools or each other. And all are schools for troubled teens – many from out of state – that usually stay for just one year before returning home.

Abundant Life Academy (Kanab) began to play 8-man football in 2006. In ’07 and ’08, the Warriors played a mix of 8- and 11-man games. Bob Fredrickson, a California transplant, leads ALA.

Diamond Ranch Academy (Hurricane) also played an 8-man schedule its first year of football, 2007. This season, the Diamondbacks play a single 8-man contest and six 11-man games. One of those is at Park City on Oct. 24. Former Dixie High and Dixie State standout Robbie Dias direct DRA.

Sorensen’s Ranch (Koosharem) is in its first season of football. Coached by Tevita Vakautakakala, who was an assistant at nearby Richfield High, the Mustangs have just three 11-man games and one 8-man contest on their schedule.

ALA plays its 11-man home games at Kanab High, DRA hosts at Hurricane High and Sorensen’s Ranch uses South Sevier High.

The addition of those three makes 99 schools fielding football teams this season.

Big Turnaround

Grantsville was held to a total of minus-nine yards by Delta on Sept. 5, but the next week against Carbon, Grantsville amassed 532 total yards, the highest of any team this season.

From last week

Copper Hills posted its first shutout since 1998, a span of 101 games, and only the second in its 14-year history. Manti also claimed its first shutout since 2003, a span of 53 contests, while Roy suffered its first whitewash since 2003, 53 games ago.

2008 Single-Game Performances

With the regular-season half over, here’re some of the top performances as reported from various sources (corrections and additions are welcomed). This is only place you’ll find records for single games; season stats appear in and the Deseret News, among other places.

Total Offense (Rushing Plus Passing)
385, Junior Cole, Northridge (9/12 vs. Weber)
369, Jeff Manning, Logan (9/29 vs. Highland, Idaho)
368, Alex Hart, Jordan (8/30 vs. Washington (Massillon), Ohio)

Net Rushing259, Adam Timo, Snow Canyon (9/5 vs. Las Vegas)
251, Nick Orchard, Highland (8/29 vs. American Fork)
248, Dylan Chynoweth, Park City (8/22 vs. Canyon View)

Rushing Touchdowns5, Brennon Hunt, Beaver (9/5 vs. Milford)

Rushes33, Adam Timo, Snow Canyon (9/5 vs. Las Vegas)
31, Anthony Heimuli, Mountain View (9/2 vs. Payson)
30, Brennon Hunt, Beaver (9/5 vs. Milford)

Passing Yards
387, Kyler Carlsen, Sky View (8/30 vs. Campbell County, Wyo.)
347, Josh Soter, Copper Hills (8/22 vs. Payson)
332, Ammon Olsen, Alta (9/29 vs. Grant (Sacramento), Cal.)

Touchdown Passes
6, Kyler Carlsen, Sky View (8/30 vs. Campbell County, Wyo.)
5, Jeff Manning, Logan (8/22 vs. Murray)
5, Josh Soter, Copper Hills (9/19 vs. Taylorsville)
5, Ryan Workman, Viewmont (8/22 vs. Orem)

Passing Attempts
51, Jordan Smith, Lehi (9/12 vs. Kearns)
47, Jeff Manning, Logan (9/5 vs. Sky View)
46, Alex Kuresa, Mountain Crest (9/5 vs. Northridge)

Passing Completions31, Jordan Smith, Lehi (9/12 vs. Kearns)
26, Alex Kuresa, Mountain Crest (9/5 vs. Northridge)
25, Josh Soter, Copper Hills (9/12 vs. Pleasant Grove)

Receiving Yards
200, Travis Van Leeuwen, Timpview (8/29 vs. Spanish Fork)
164, Josh Thompson, Logan (9/12 vs. Judge Memorial)
162, Anthony Heimuli, Mountain View (9/19 vs. Tooele)

10, Spencer Hille, Olympus (8/22 vs. Hillcrest)
9, Chandler Allen, Copper Hills (9/5 vs. Hillcrest)
9, Chandler Allen, Copper Hills (9/12 vs. Pleasant Grove)

Touchdowns Responsible For
6, Josh Soter, Copper Hills (1 rush, 5 pass – 9/19 vs. Taylorsville)

5, Dylan Stadel, Lehi (8/29 vs. Springville)

3, Dayton Deloach, Delta (9/5 vs. Grantsville)

Field Goals
3, Parker Brown, Timpanogos (8/29 vs. Hunter)
3, Parker Brown, Timpanogos (9/5 vs. Orem)
3, Dallin Lund, Hunter (8/29 vs. Timpanogos)
3, Carson Smith, Box Elder (9/5 vs. Bear River)

Extra Points
9, Roberto Taddeo, Juan Diego (8/29 vs. Grantsville)
8, Michael Stephenson, Pine View (9/19 vs. Canyon View)
8, Brock Warren, Sky View (9/12 vs. Box Elder)
8, Brock Warren, Sky View (9/19 vs. Roy)

Season Touchdowns Responsible For
20, Jeff Manning (5 rush, 15 pass), Logan
18, Junior Cole (8 rush, 10 pass), Northridge
16, Justin Ence (13 rush, 3 pass), Pine View

Longest Plays Of The 2008 Season (90 yards min. unless indicated)Rushing
93, Bryce Delnort, Park City (8/22 vs. Canyon View)

96, James Taylor to Dax Cederholm, Bear River (9/5 vs. Box Elder)
95, Nick Wood to Corie Blackham, Parowan (9/12 vs. Gunnison)
92, Alex Kuresa to Ethan Rasmussen, Mountain Crest (9/12 vs. Woods Cross)
90, Jeff Manning to Stephen Gwynn, Logan (8/29 vs. Park City)

Interception Returns
97, Zach Bigelow, Alta (9/12 vs. Hunter)
91, Dominick Cagle, Kearns (8/22 vs. Brighton)

Kickoff Returns (99 yd. min.)
99, Dee Hamala, Murray (8/29 vs. Hillcrest)
99, Devin Miner, Orem (8/29 vs. Snow Canyon)

Fumble Returns
96, Evan Pettit, North Sevier (8/29 vs. Gunnison)

Field Goals (50 yd. min.)
54, Parker Brown, Timpanogos (9/5 vs. Orem)
53, Parker Brown, Timpanogos (9/5 vs. Orem)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

News from the week

Another week of prep football. We're already approaching Week 4 and some teams are starting region play. Now, it gets even more interesting.

Last week, I was at the West Jordan at Olympus game. I covered the game for the Deseret News and wrote one of my better articles. I started the season slowly, but I'm getting into it now. All of my articles have been on the D-News web site only, but perhaps they'll see that I'm improving. I have over 15 years of sports writing experience. Every week, I should be doing the job well.

West Jordan-Oly was a good game. I usually stand on the sidelines. In the third quarter, I switched over to the Oly sideline and saw a man I knew. It was Shane Smith. Shane is the head custodian at my kids' elementary school. But he also is an assitant coach at Oly. We talked for a while. I see him at my kids' school frequently, so now we have more in common.

West Jordan is 3-0, but I learned this week that its football stadium has been undergoing renovations and still isn't finished. Athletic Director Dan Cowan said the school is putting in new bleachers and a new track, and it's still not done. Cowan was pretty upset on the phone. So, this week's game against Taylorsville will be a road game for the Jaguars. That's tough.

It seems that stadium problems are rampant here. Last year, it was Jordan. This year, it's Judge Memorial, Bingham and now West Jordan.

"The district just wants to keep improving our facilities, and this is just a hardship," Cowan said. "But they (the construction company) have had more than enough time."

West Jordan only had three home games this year - now the most it will have is two, unless the Jags make it to the postseason.

* - Every week, I have to deliver game programs to the schools. Currently, there is heavy road construction on 10400 South (near Bingham) and 3600 West (near Granger). You would think roads near schools would undergo construction during the summer, when school is not in session. Granger has had four home games to start this season, so I have been by there every Thursday or so this last month. I still can't see where the construction company has made any progress.

* - The big game this week is Bingham vs. Jordan because the Miners' are inaugurating their new stadium, with all its amenities. I've never covered a game at Bingham. I'll be at Brighton, which is hosting Spanish Fork. Other good games are Highland at East, Logan at Judge Memorial (being played at Juan Diego) and Kearns at Lehi. I'm also anxious to see if West Jordan improves to 4-0. With the Jags playing all their games on the road so far, that's a great story.

* - The game to miss is probably Cottonwood at Murray. I covered that game last year, when it was at Cottonwood, and the Colts won 47-0. Frankly, it wasn't that close. Cottonwood linebacker Lynn Katoa was all over the field. He earned a scholarship to the Univ. of Colorado. I figure Cottonwood will do the same thing to Murray this year.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What a Game

I just got home after covering the West Jordan at Olympus football game. It was the best game I've seen all year. West Jordan is 3-0, but Oly has its spread offense going.

Good game for everyone, especially since not everyone can win. I sent my game story to the Deseret News already. If you'd like to read it, here it is:

By Bruce Smith
For the Deseret News

West Jordan and Olympus each learned a lot about themselves Friday night, while playing an entertaining game in front of a near capacity-crowd.

But only West Jordan is 3-0.

The Jaguars drove 80 yards in less than three minutes to nip Olympus 35-28 in a non-region battle.

Quarterback Jace Rogers hit his giant tight end – D.J. Tialavea – on a 5-yard scoring pass that ended up being the winning points.

“I knew they gave us too much time,” said Rogers, explaining how he felt after Olympus tied the game with 3:25 remaining. “We were keeping our cool.”

West Jordan coach Mike Morgan couldn’t be prouder. He wouldn’t answer – but only smiled - when asked how he felt about being 3-0.

“These kids overcame adversity to win this game,” he finally said. “We responded after (Olympus) scores. We came up with the plays.”

There was plenty of adversity – on both sides. West Jordan rushed for 352 yards, but gave almost half that back in penalties.

One penalty – an illegal block – came when Tyson Udy intercepted a pass in the end zone and ran 100 yards for a touchdown. The block was behind the play and likely would not have affected Udy’s run.

Olympus coach Mark Smith also noticed the ups and downs. But despite the loss, he was pleased the Titans’ have shown improvement in each of their three games.

The Titans’ spread offense put up a season-high point total. Olympus, which trailed 20-7 at halftime, came out in the second half and quarterback Spencer Harris hit sophomore Carter Young on a 64-yard touchdown pass on the first play.

Shortly afterward, Olympus recovered a Jaguars’ fumble. Then Harris tossed a short pass to basketball star Spencer Hille to give the Titans their first lead.

“We hit on maybe four cylinders in our first two games,” said Smith, who couldn’t help but smile despite the loss. “But tonight we hit on 5½. I was very proud of the improvement we made.

“Preaseason (non-region) is over, and we’ve made progress. I’m looking forward to doing more of this in region.”

Olympus starts Region 6 play next week at home against Cyprus.

On this night, though, the Titans turned things around in the third quarter. Their two quick scores seemed to surprise the visiting Jaguars, and West Jordan took a while to recover.

Finally, the Jaguas started riding the back of running backs Damien Maestes, who had 126 yards on 28 carries, and Brandt Henslee, who added 110 yards on 11 attempts.

The Jaguars moved the ball and finally scored on a 5-yard run by Maestes. West Jordan then added a two-point conversion on one of its favorite plays - a short toss to Tialavea - who caught five passes on the night.

Olympus retaliated, taking advantage of two pass interference penalties, and tied the game when Hille caught his second touchdown pass, but there was still 3:25 left in the game.

Maestes did most of the damage, but was helped by Henslee and the shifty Devon Paraso, who added 60 yards on the ground. Finally, with Oly’s defense confused and intent on stopping the run, Harris found Tialavea for the winning score with 37 seconds left.

“We have a lot of weapons with that offense,” Morgan said. “We proved that in the Mountain View game (a 40-37 win last week).”

The Time Has Come

It has been several weeks since I posted a blog, and I apologize for that. The website has been taking a lot of my time, as well as designing, writing and publishing programs for 24 Salt Lake-area schools.

Football season has started. Tonight marks the third week of the schedule. Besiding doing all that I mentioned above, I also cover games for the Deseret News. Tonight, I will be at West Jordan at Olympus. That should be a fun game to watch. I'm anxious to see West Jordan because the Jags are 2-0 and both of their wins have been close, entertaining games.

The last time I covered a game at Olympus was many years ago, when I worked as a sportswriter for the Salt Lake Tribune. Oly must have been playing at team from Weber County because Dennis Larsen, a reporter from the Ogden Standard-Examiner was there, too. It was pouring down rain. One of the worst rainstorms I can remember. That year, it rained at a lot of the games I attended and it forced me to buy really good rain gear.

I can't find that rain gear now, but the forecast looks good. I haven't seen Dennis for a long time. He was a good guy, and always fun to talk to. I always look forward to seeing other newspaper reporters when I cover a game.

It has been a busy year so far. My schedule goes like this: On Saturday, I'm working on my computer, updating my website ( and the upcoming week's programs. This week, for example, I'm handling game programs for 13 schools.

I do that on Sunday, too, so I can get as much information as possible to my printer - Steve Wells at Action Printing in Murray. I'm usually finishing things up Monday, but then I have to spend a lot of time at the printer's office, editing the programs. This week, because of the Labor Day holiday, we did everything a date later than usual.

On Tuesday, we finish printing and I deliver game programs on Wednesday. That usually takes all day. I end up driving all over the valley, from Lehi through Grantsville. Fortunately, my car gets good gas mileage.

The latter part of the week is now spent improving the program, talking to coaches and athletic directors, fixing any errors, etc... I can adjust my time, so I can do things with my kids, but I really don't have a weekend.

The first week we handled 17 programs, and we had some screwups. We (myself and the guys at Action Printing) found ways to improve our editing. We did not have any problems the second week. This week, I almost forgot the Hunter at Brighton game.

I could never do this without Action Printing. I've known the guys there for several years, and their customer service is fantastic. They go above and beyond the call of duty and, unfortunately, I take advantage of that.

We're getting a lot of compliments. I think the advertisers in the program - Comcast, The Deseret News, Rocky Mountain Power, SLCC and LDS Business College - are happy. In addition, I got a call from Paul Pugmire, who is running for Salt Lake County Council, and he asked to advertise in the programs involving West Valley teams.

One woman, a realtor who saw the program at a Judge Memorial game, asked to advertise but I haven't heard from her recently. There is ad space available, although it's minimal. I'm still learning what we can do.

But enough of this. I'm slowly becoming more of an expert on local high school football. Here are some questions I can answer:

* - What teams have surprised you so far? Copper Hills, Riverton, Kearns, West Jordan and Bingham. Those first four teams are unbeaten, while Bingham is 0-2. And I'm surprised for those reasons. What's also noteworthy is all of those schools are from the west side. Alta seems to be the dominant east-side school and that will probably always happen until a new high school is built in Draper.

* - You deal with a lot of people. Who are your favorites? People who will help me. That is, people who will return phone calls, etc... The biggest problem with putting together these game programs is getting a calendar of upcoming events from the schools. A lot of schools have not updated their websites since last May. Also, I'll never understand why school personnel cannot email. A lot of them don't know how. The excuses I received were "I never learned," or "I'm too old." Just think what would happen if some student gave something close to that excuse. Learn people. Learn.

* - What are the biggest games this week? I'm happy covering West Jordan at Olympus, but I'd also like to see Alta at Kearns. I don't see Alta losing this year, but this one has possibilities. I also want Kearns coach Bill Cosper to be successful. I met him last year, and instantly liked him. There's a great article that the Magna newspaper did on him that tells his story. Basically, his son got a football scholarship to Weber State and Bill picked up the rest of his family to follow, so they could watch him play. Bill was a football coach in Texas, and he is bring his knowledge and experience to Kearns.

* - Since Bingham has lost its first two games, are they done? No. All Bingham has to do is fare well in Region 3 and it will make the 5-A playoffs. Playing Skyline and Alta might have been a good move because the Miners will know how much they will have to improve in the playoffs. Plus, they have a new stadium field, scoreboard and more. I wouldn't write them off.

* - Lastly, the Deseret News asks me every week to put together a list of my Top 25 Utah high school teams. It's a lot of guesswork. I basically followed Parry's Power Guide, which is published each week on my website and in the game programs. Alta is No. 1 and Bingham No. 2. Next week, I'll change that vote because you can't put an 0-2 team at No. 2. I'll probably move Skyline up the list because I've learned you can never count out those guys.

That's it for this post. I will post more often now - maybe even daily. Thanks for your interest in Utah high school football and Matchup.

About Me

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I am the author of Matchup, which provides yearbooks to high school sports teams, commemorating their seasons.