by Daniel Olsen
Although there are nine unbeaten high school football teams left in the UHSAA, there are other teams that have also made significant improvements from last year. It’s time to look at a team from each level and analyze what has led to their success this year.
6A – Farmington Phoenix
The Weber Warriors won Region 1 last year, but it is wide open for the taking this year. Last season, Farmington barely missed out on a Region championship with a close loss to the Warriors. A quarterfinals loss brought their overall record to 8-4. However, this year is different; Farmington is off to an undefeated start. At 7-0, they are just one shy of their win total last year.
What has been the difference? Quarterback Easton Wight has already surpassed last year’s passing total by over 400 yards. He is doing so with 40 less attempts, so they are really cashing in on longer plays. This year he averages 17 yards per completion while last year he averaged just under 11 yards per completion. if people thought it was impossible for Wight to get any better, they should think again.
5A – Woods Cross Wildcats
Last year, the Woods Cross Wildcats did not win a single football game. This year, they have progressed to a respectable 4-3 record so far. While they aren’t the favorites to contend for a state title, the Wildcats do look like a good football team. They’ve already won more games than any year since the 2019 season.
The Wildcats have a new starting quarterback that has already surpassed last year’s starter by over 300 passing yards. Lock Smoot has thrown for 758 yards. With a balanced running attack and a bend-but-don’t break defense that hasn’t allowed more than 30 points by any opponent since their season opener loss to West Jordan, the Wildcats can now at least compete with most teams in 5A. Stansbury and Lehi might be the only teams out of reach.
4A – Mountain Crest Mustangs
It’s a great year for Mustangs all around in 4A as the Crimson Cliffs lead Region 10 in the south. The Mountain Crest Mustangs were at the bottom of 4A for a while, but have now already doubled last years win total. While the once-great Mustangs lost their footing when the nearby Ridgeline High School opened, they are better than last year’s 2-9 team. They sit at 4-3 now and are currently in a three-way tie for first place in Region 11.
Since shutting out the Hurricane Tigers 27-0 in the season opener, Mountain Crest seems to have found their confidence. Quarterback Casey Crofts currently has the tenth most passing yards in 4A with 988 yards. The Mustangs haven’t had a quarterback throw for over 1,000 passing yards since Taden Burbank in 2019. If they keep this up, they might make some noise in the state playoffs.
3A – Morgan Trojans
The Trojans are one of the few unbeaten teams left at 7-0. Their 3A North Region rival Grantsville Cowboys are also unbeaten, but that isn’t as surprising since they are the reigning 3A state champions. Morgan High School went 8-3 last year, and they are looking to be a true contender at this level.
Grantsville will come to Morgan this Friday in a true battle of the unbeaten teams. Morgan quarterback Nick Despain is third in passing touchdowns and fourth in passing yards at the 3A level. Grantsville might have the better team, but Despain is statistically the better quarterback. That might be all the Trojans need to corral the Cowboys.
2A – San Juan Broncos
Most teams in 2A have stayed on par with their win totals last year up to this point. However, it’s worth mentioning that the San Juan Broncos look even more unbeatable in football as their unbeaten streak has continued from their state championship run last fall. The magic continued to basketball season where many of the same players on the football team right now won another state title in a close 45-44 win over Enterprise.
The Broncos currently have a 19 game winning streak and don’t look beatable any time soon. Their next opponent, the Delta Rabbits, are struggling with a 1-6 record so far. Parker Snyder, a top three quarterback in every statistical category in the state, needs to keep his high level success up to help his team continue this historic streak. If this streak can continue into next season, the Broncos could have one of the top five winning streaks in state history.
1A – Enterprise Wolves
The Enterprise Wolves are another unbeaten team so far that has come out of nowhere. They went 6-4 last year, but are 7-0 so far. The Wolves will have a decent challenge this weekend when they face the North Sevier Wolves who are 5-2. Who will win in this battle of these packs of wolves? It all depends on who establishes the run game. Enterprise runs so frequently, they almost look like they are playing in an era before the forward pass was invented. They have rushed for a combined 2,087 yards while throwing for a combined 451 yards.
The Duchesne Eagles won the state title last year over the Layton Christian Eagles, but are off to a losing start. Time will tell if the Wolves can become the new 1A state champion.
Featured image via Robert K. Scott, Cache Valley Daily