Friday, August 28, 2009

Highland vs. Hunter

I covered the Highland vs. Hunter prep football game tonight at Highland. The Rams won 27-3 and looked good doing it. Hunter didn't impress me at all. To read my game story in the Aug. 29 edition of the Deseret News, click here.

I thought this game would be more competitive, but Highland dominated the line of scrimmage and spent a lot of time in Hunter's backfield. The Wolverines never put together a serious drive.

Highland led 14-0 at halftime. The Rams got the second-half kickoff and, on their first play from scrimmage, fumbled the ball. Hunter recovered and, if they could have moved the ball into the end zone, it might have changed the game.

Hunter didn't. It took the Wolverines eight plays to go 15 yards - and they got five of those via penalty. That's pathetic. They kicked a field goal. Highland got the kickoff and scored a touchdown in five plays. Game over.

So, what will I remember from this game?

* - Highland needed this win. The Rams were demolished 49-28 last week by Mountain Crest, but their defense showed up. How a team goes from giving up 49 points to 3 is ... well ... amazing. High school kids are so impressionable. I hope coaches understand how impressionable they are. That's why it's so important to have a good coach. A bad coach can screw up a kid and affect their future.

* - Hunter beat Kearns 13-0 last week, and that's saying something. Hunter is also known for being a physical team. I didn't see that tonight. You know, when the Jazz don't show up to play a game sometimes, I attribute that to the fact they're all making $6 million a year and they're playing 82 games. In high school, you're playing for pride. I didn't see that tonight from Hunter, and that was disappointing.

* - Highland has a running back named Christopher Lloyd. He's a good running back. He carried the ball just four times tonight, and got nailed for losses twice. The other times, he ran for touchdowns. This seems to be a special kid. I say give him the ball, and let him make plays. Judging from just two games so far this season, that's what he will do.

* - During the game, I met some people while walking the sidelines. I'm not always gawking at the cheerleaders. I met the Highland team photographer (and arranged for him to send me a few photos), the head of the Highland booster club and the school principal. They were talkative. While I was on the Hunter sidelines, nobody said anything. I attribute that to game's outcome.

* - Highland's principal, Paul Schulte, is a man of interest. That's because I know his brother, Chris Schulte. I worked with him years ago at the Salt Lake Tribune. I liked Chris, but he didn't like me. I learned that Chris is the sports editor for the newspaper in Wausau, Wis. He's been divorced twice and is now with his third wife. His kids, whom he loves a lot, I'm sure, live with one of his previous wives in Montana. That has to hurt. Nobody deserves that. I wouldn't trade places with him.

* - Lastly, I stopped at Arby's (across the street from Highland) and they had a deal $5 for 5 Arby's roast-beef sandwiches. I didn't want five sandwiches, but it costs $2.69 for one. So, why not? I bought five. I thought about trying to eat them all, but ... didn't. I have two left in the fridge. Perhaps this means food is more important than football? LOL.

I kept detailed statistics from this game that the media will never print. So, I'll show them here. Here you go:

Hunter 0 0 3 0 - 3
Highland 0 14 7 6 - 27

Highland - Lloyd 3 run (Hicken kick)
Highland - Fakahafua 7 pass from Keller (Hicken kick)
Hunter - FG Jex 23
Highland - Lloyd 58 run (Hicken kick)
Highland - Keller 5 run (kick failed)


First downs: Hunter 8, Highland 17
Rushes-Yards: Hunter 32-83, Highland 38-287
Passing Yards: Hunter 20, Highland 2
Passes: Hunter 4-12-2, Highland 1-7-0
Fumbles-Lost: Hunter 1-1, Highland 2-1
Penalties: Hunter 5-42, Highland 9-105
Punts: Hunter 4-29.8, Highland 3-30.3


RUSHING: Hunter - Bloomfield 21-79, Tavo 2-13, L. Tanuvasa 3-4, Lunceford6-(-11). Highland - Taufa 12-93, Keller 12-75, Lloyd 4-48, Payne 4-38, Lauti 2-25, Fakahafua 1-12, Coleman 2-(-4).
PASSING: Hunter - Lunceford 4-12-2-20. Highland - Keller 1-7-0-2.
RECEIVING: Hunter - Pulu 1-8, Davidson 1-7, L. Tanuvasa 1-4, Tavo 1-1. Highland - Fakahafua 1-2.

* -

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Game 1 - Hillcrest vs. Olympus

The high school football season started in Utah today, even though temperatures were near 100 degrees at kickoff. I was given the opportunity to cover the Hillcrest-Olympus game, and I was happy to get it.

I figured this would be a close game between two rebuilding schools. Hillcrest, of course, is always rebuilding. Olympus has a new coach and not much was known about how much different the Titans would be from previous years.

I got a chance to meet Oly's new coach - Mike Smith. I've talked to him on the telephone before regarding other matters (he teaches a sports marketing class at Olympus). I also heard he had a hot-shot running back as an adoped son - Terry Isaia.

It was a great game, and Olympus ended up winning 10-7. The game went right down to the wire. Both teams could have pulled it out, although Olympus probably deserved it more, based on the fact that its offense could move the ball more easily and that Hillcrest turned the ball over three times.

However, Olympus failed three times on fourth downs. The biggest one came with less than two minutes left, when the Titans tried tried a fake punt on its own 29 yard-line, and Hillcrest stuffed it. Personally, I thought it was a great call because it was one play where Olympus had a chance to win the game. Hillcrest coach Kirk Merhish said it should have cost Oly the game.

Turns out, both guys are right. Oly won the game, but it could have gone either way. I was at the game, and you can read my game story by clicking here.

I thought this was a good article. It was a lot better than the season-opening story I wrote last year. The Salt Lake Tribune reporter was there, too, and I read his article. He looked like a decent guy, but it's funny how are statistics were different. I've learned that, with my background, I trust my stats more than anyone else.

Anyone who knows me recalls the time I started keeping statistics for KBOI Radio (the Voice of the BSU Broncos) starting in seventh grade, and then I was BSU's official statistician for football and basketball through high school. I also worked in the University of Idaho's sports information office for over four years. Lastly, I've covered prep sports for ... good God ... it's been a long time.

Anyway, it was great to be on the field again. If you want to see my game stats, they're lower on this blog. But here are a few things I noticed at the game:

* - Olympus QB was Spencer Harris, who started all season last year and did a great job. But coach Smith brought in a sophomore - Scott Porter - in the first quarter and he did well until he was injured in a jarring tackle. Porter should be OK. Coach Smith said he didn't bring him back into the game as a "precautionary measure." We really didn't see all Porter's talents, but they have to be there. There's no way coach Smith would have put him in otherwise. I mean, why would you replace your senior starter for a sophomore? Coach Smith knows more than we do.

* - Hillcrest has a good home-field advantage. The Huskies were on the west side of the field and in the shade, while Oly was baking in the sun. Temperature at game time had to be in the mid-90s or more.

* - Hillcrest may never develop into a winning program, simply because it doesn't have enough players. They're gamers, though, and put up a tough fight. They just need a few more quality kids. The Huskies had a chance to win this one, but their top players need to make the plays. Bridger Dallimore is a gutsy kid, but he couldn't come up with a TD pass and then the pass intended for him late in the game was intercepted by Oly sophomore Cole Benson. Guys like Dallimore have to make those plays.

* - Terry Isaia is a tough runner for Olympus, and I'm sure Skyline will look at the tape of this game and the coaches will scratch their heads. He's a good-sized kid and a bruising runner. He also has game-breaking speed. He ran for 124 yards in this game, but didn't really have a long run. Hillcrest also frustrated him at times, and he showed he might have a temper. Oly can't afford to have him booted from a game.

* - I'd say the difference-maker in this game, though, was Spencer Harris. In the second half, he carried the ball 18 times and allowed Oly to dominate the time of possession. Last year, he threw the ball a lot, but this year's team is different and he won it with his running.

* - Hillcrest didn't show much on offense. Its quarterback - Tanner Kemp - is decent, but he does not have a fluid throwing motion. He takes too long to throw it. He had a nice game against Oly, though, and his only interception was a nicely thrown pass that the Oly kid made a nice play. Hillcrest just couldn't run it.

* - Oly didn't turn the ball over, while Hillcrest lost it three times (two fumbles, and an interception). Dallimore also caught a pass in the third quarter and was tackled at his own 10 yard-line. While struggling for more yardage, he coughed it up but the referee ruled he was down. I was right there, and the official could have ruled it either way. From the way he acted, I think Dallimore thought he fumbled. A turnover there would have given the ball to Oly in the "red zone." Hmmm, based on my comments I don't want to be too tough on Dallimore. He's a talented player, and will have better games.

* - Coach Merhish's son is Nick (Merhish). He's a strong kid and a great linebacker. I wish I could have seen the defensive stats because he was all over the field. He played running back a couple of times, too. He has the potential to earn a college scholarship, perhaps at a JC or small school. I think Hillcrest's eventual record may limit him, but he can play.


Olympus 7 0 0 3 - 10
Hillcrest 7 0 0 0 - 7


First downs - Olympus 17, Hillcrest 8
Rushes-yards - Olympus 52-301, Hillcrest 21-31.
Passing yards - Olympus 59, Hillcrest 155
Passes - Olympus 7-14-0, Hillcrest 11-17-1
Total offense - Olympus 66 plays, 360 yards; Hillcrest 38 plays, 186 yards
Fumbles-lost - Olympus 2-0, Hillcrest 4-2
Penalties - Olympus 7-62, Hillcrest 4-25
Punts - Olympus 2-39.0 avg., Hillcrest 4-26.8 avg.


RUSHING: Olympus, Isiah 22-124, Harris 20-99, Lignell 3-59, Porter 3-8, Sonntag 1-8, Hendriks 1-6, Kacinski 1-0, Young 1-(-3). Hillcrest, Pecht 4-12, Merhish 4-7, Kranz 2-6, Li 3-5, Thompson 2-3, Kemp 2-0.
PASSING: Olympus, Harris 6-13-0-49 yds, Porter 1-1-0-10 yds. Hillcrest, Kemp 10-17-1-155 yds.
RECEIVING: Olympus, Johnson 3-27, Young 2-27, Isaia 2-5. Hillcrest, D. Thompson 1-61, Dallimore 4-49, Li 3-26, A. Thompson 2-19.


About Me

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