by Daniel Olsen
The 2022 high school football season begins in August. In this preview series, we will break down all you need to know about high school football for the 2022 season. These previews of each region will catch you up on storylines surrounding every high school team in Utah.
2021 record: 4-8
The WestLake Thunder continue to have one of the worst overall football winning percentages in the UHSAA since their school opened in 2009. That isn’t because they are a bad team, though. They happen to play in the toughest region in the state. This region has accounted for four of the five state championships since the 6A division was founded in 2017. This team somehow went winless at home yet had a 4-3 record on the road.
The Thunder hope to notch their first winning season since 2010. They will be led by former BYU offensive lineman Coach Louis Wong who was hired in 2015. Derek Anderson, the primary backup quarterback last year, will likely be the starter for the Thunder this year.
2021 record: 1-10
The Vikings didn’t fare much better than the Westlake Thunder as their lone win was a 34-33 thriller on the road against Maple Mountain. They lost every other game by double digits and averaged just over 15 points per game. Perhaps their worst lost of the season was a 31-0 shutout at Skyridge.
Pleasant Grove is led by Coach Taylor Walkenhorst and Nic Stafieri is favored to be the starting quarterback again for his senior year.
2021 record: 7-4
While the Cavemen struggled with a 2-4 record in region play, their domination in their non-region games led them to a winning record. They also won a playoff game over Riverton by a touchdown before losing to Corner Canyon by 17 points.
While Coach Aaron Behm has led his team to deep playoff runs before, this time wasn’t the case. He will look to improve this year with a junior quarterback named Lincoln Jackson. As the backup he completed just over 73 perfect of his passes last season.
2021 record: 12-2
After tying Duchesne for the longest winning streak in state history, the Chargers finally met their match against one team: the Lone Peak Knights. They were beat soundly on their home field in a regular season matchup and also in the 6A championship game in a close competition.
Coach Eric Kjar has still been one of the best in recent program history. He will have a four-star junior quarterback leading the team in Isaac Wilson. He is the younger brother of former BYU and current Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. He was the primary backup last year to Ohio State commit Devin Brown.
2021 record: 11-2
Skyridge has been one of the strongest teams in 6A but just haven’t yielded the postseason results they’ve expected. Their lone regular season loss was to Corner Canyon. Their best win was arguably beating the eventual state champions in a hard fought 14-9 contest. However, they were shut out by the Lone Peak Knights in a playoff rematch by the final score of 20-0.
Jon Lehman has been the coach for the Falcons, but will be transitioning to the athletic director role. The plan is for him to train new assistant coach Justin Hemm to be the head coach starting in the 2023 season.
If there was a time for the Falcons to swoop down on the rest of 6A, it’s this year. Senior quarterback McCae Hillstead is a three-star athlete who has displayed a great deal of success the last few years. The Utah State commit has amassed passing 5570 yards in his high school career. If he can complete over 60 percent of his passes and keep the interceptions in the single-digit range like he did in 2020, he should be poised to have a strong senior year.
2021 record: 10-2
Lone Peak finally broke through and took the crown away from Corner Canyon. It wasn’t easy though; they had to beat them twice. Although hiccups against Bishop Gorman and Skyridge kept them from an outright Region 4 Title, they more-than made up for it by winning the State Title. Beating Corner Canyon the way they did likely gave them the needed confidence to squeeze out a second victory in the state championship.
Coach Bart Brockbank has led the Knights to two straight double-digit win seasons. That has been due in large part to the stellar play of former quarterback Easton Comer. He has graduated and committed to play at Weber State. He will likely be replaced by Isaac Staley, the starter for last year’s team. Staley completed 5-8 passes last year.
Featured image via Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune