by Daniel Olsen | Chalk is how the first few rounds went for most of the divisions in the high school state playoffs in Utah. Yet, 6A continues to break the mold as several double digit seeds came out with upsets to advance to the quarterfinals. Can any underdog make some more noise this weekend and earn a trip to the semifinals? We will find out. Let’s take a deep dive into this weekend’s slate.
1 Corner Canyon vs 9 Bingham: Can Corner Canyon lose? That’s the same question the prep football scene in Utah has been asking for three years now. The answer was an unequivocal NO last Friday as the Chargers defeated Westlake by an amazing 59-3 score. The game was never close. They had 52 unanswered points were scored by halftime, and Westlake had to connect on a late 4th quarter field goal to prevent the shameful goose-egg on the scoreboard.
The Bingham Miners struck gold against Pleasant Grove and won a close road playoff game 24-21 last week. The Miners have benefited from an easier schedule on the back half of their season as they beat Jordan, Copper Hills and Granger prior to the playoffs. Their last loss was a close one at Riverton on October 2nd. Pleasant Grove is a solid team though, so it appears the Miners are peaking at the right time.
Prediction: This will be a repeat of the game at the start of the year that was featured on ESPN. On national television, Corner Canyon displayed their talent as the most dominant team of Utah. Bingham tried some trick plays and fourth down gambles but in the end they were not enough to contain the Chargers. After one quarter, Corner Canyon will gain a lead that cannot be relinquished. They now have the second longest winning streak in state history at 37 games. They aren’t done yet.
Score: Corner Canyon 49 Bingham 28
4 American Fork vs 12 East: Upsets are fun to pick, but it’s hard to pick more than one upset in this division. It’s hard to tell with an East team that might have not been here had Kearns not had to forfeit due to an outbreak of COVID. However, they had won four straight games before that victory by default. Don’t dismiss them as they can win if they have a great day of football. They have built a rich tradition in recent memory that they don’t want to erase anytime soon.
American Fork beats teams they should beat and loses to teams they shouldn’t lose to. It’s that simple. Their three losses were to the top three RPI teams in 6A. They are a good team that would enjoy a trip to the semifinals even if it ends in disappointment as often does when playing the Chargers. They can’t overlook the Leopards on the way or this could be a trap game.
Prediction: East already lost by 20 to American Fork earlier in the season but they look a little better this time around. Some of that may be due to their easier schedule to finish the year. Still, winning is contagious so expect this game to be closer this time around. The Leopards will continue to fight until the final score doesn’t let them fight anymore.
Score: American Fork 24 East 20
2 Lone Peak vs 10 West: The Knights have been nothing short of outstanding this year as the only team they lost to is the team that everyone loses to: Corner Canyon. They only lost to the Chargers by 10 which is saying something. The Chargers usually cause the UHSAA to invoke the mercy rule by letting the clock run non-stop after halftime when they are up my more than five touchdowns.
West has only lost two games this season but a loss earlier in the year vs a struggling Hunter team severely downgraded their RPI. They were able to eek out a slight upset over Roy last weekend. They will present a little bit of a challenge for the Lone Peak Knights.
Prediction: The only challenge here will be a little speed bump in the road at the start of this game. Once the Knights get rolling in the second half, they will say good night to West. By the time the sun has set beneath the Oquirrh Mountains, it will have set on the season of West High football as well.
Score: Lone Peak 42 West 21
3 Skyridge vs 11 Davis: Skyridge looked like the world-beaters we didn’t expect this year until they ran into the brick wall of the top two RPI teams in the state. They recovered nicely though after dropping a mere 71 points over Westlake to close out the regular season. They also sent the 6A division a message with a statement 36-5 win over Herriman in the first round of the playoffs.
Davis has had their struggles but might have some momentum. They managed to score the upset to Weber by one point, avenging their regular season loss in the process. All their losses this season have been close so they are not a team that should be counted out.
Prediction: This may sound a little crazy given the success that this Skyridge offense has seen with sophomore quarterback McCae Hillstead under center. While the high-scoring Falcons offense has amassed 2720 passing yards through the air this season, I’m thinking the physicality of the state playoffs will get them. The Falcons will get one of their wings clipped by the speeding Darts. This is the upset you hate to see after a nice year from Skyridge, but Davis is playing with pride and can never be counted out. Skyridge will learn from this and Hillstead will have the chance to compete for a state title as an upperclassmen in the years to come.
Score: Davis 28 Skyridge 21
Featured image courtesy The Daily Herald