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Utah 5A High School State Tournament Matchups

Skyridge's Alex LaFord celebrates the team's touchdown on Lone Peak in Lehi on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The first round of the UHSAA football state tournament begins this weekend. Sixteen teams are competing in each classification with hopes of raising the state championship trophy in mid-November.

Each week, KSL Sports will take a look at the match-ups in each classification before the weekend’s action.

Here are the matchups for 5A

Region 7 No. 2-seed Jordan Beetdiggers (5-4, 4-1)
vs Region 6 No. 3-seed Lehi Pioneers (5-5, 3-2)

Jordan struggled with a difficult preseason schedule, amassing losses to East, Pleasant Grove, and Springville. The Beetdiggers found their momentum once Region 7 play got underway, rolling to four-straight wins before falling to eventual champion, Corner Canyon, in the final week of the season. A mixed balance off pass and run makes Jordan a tough team to handle.

Quarterback Christian Bruderer threw for 2,005 yards and 14 touchdowns, while running back Jake Shaver added 728 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. They host reigning champ Lehi, who returns to the playoffs despite losing a significant number of contributors from the 2017 championship team.

Quarterback Hayden Betts saw the majority of reps, but Creyton Cooper – younger brother of last year’s star, Cammon Cooper – saw time down the stretching, throwing seven touchdowns to just two picks. Carsen Manookin totaled 919 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, as well as another 3 scores through the air.

Region 8 No. 1-seed Skyridge Falcons (8-1, 5-0)
vs Region 5 No. 4-seed Farmington Phoenix (2-8, 2-3)

After a heartbreaking loss in the 5A championship last year to crosstown rival Lehi, Skyridge is a favorite to return to Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2018. Rolling to an 8-1 record, the Falcons lone loss came in Week 1 to Riverton. The Falcons’ run pass option (RPO) offense, led by quarterback Jayden Clemons, averaged 39.1 points per game during the season, while the defense allowed just 18.1 points per game. Farmington makes the playoffs in its first year in existence after picking up two wins in region play against Woods Cross and Bountiful. Coached by former Northridge, BYU, and NFL star Daniel Coats, the Phoenix look to make noise in their first ever playoff game.

Region 5 No. 1-seed Roy Royals (7-2, 4-1)
vs Region 8 No. 4-seed Maple Mountain Golden Eagles (4-7, 2-3)

Roy, another team favored to make a run at a Rice-Eccles appearance, is led by one of the bright young stars in the state in quarterback Jaxson Dart. Dart threw for 1,668 yds and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore. He’s rounded out in the backfield with a stable of backs, with five teammates scoring four or more rushing touchdowns on the season. They host Maple Mountain, who enters the tournament by way of play-in game, beating Wasatch 34-31 Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles showed their toughness by winning two key games in the final two weeks of the season to make it to the first round of the playoffs.

Region 6 No. 2-seed Highland Rams (8-2, 4-1)
vs Region 7 No. 3-seed Timpview Thunderbirds (6-3, 3-2)

Highland earned the second seed with one loss in region play – a 13-12 defeat by regular-season champion Olympus. The Rams defense played stout during region play, allowing just 8.8 points per game. They’re anchored by defensive tackle Kaufusi Pakofe, who tallied five sacks on the season. Highland’s offense scored nearly 31 points per game on offense with 15 different players scoring touchdowns for the Rams. They host Timpview, who has had an up-and-down season. Highlights included a Week 2 win over 6A power American Fork, with the lows including a loss to Jordan, where the Thunderbirds scored just one touchdown. Sione Moa leads the Timpview offense with 11 touchdowns on the ground in his sophomore campaign.

Region 5 No. 2-seed Box Elder Bees (7-3, 5-1)
vs Region 8 No. 3-seed Springville Red Devils (5-5, 2-3)

Box Elder became the No. 2 seed by coin flip after tying with Roy and Viewmont with a 4-1 record in region play. Running back Bernard Pena led the Bees with 1,061 yards and 9 touchdowns. Defensive back Skyler Laurenti totaled five interceptions on the season. Making the trip to Brigham City was Springville, who lost its final three games in region play after a 2-0 start. The Red Devils run the triple-option offense, led by Isaiah Webb, who totaled 765 yards on 163 carries on the season. The movement in the offense allows for plenty of trick plays to appear in games, and Springville isn’t afraid to break them out in any situation.

Region 6 No. 1-seed Olympus Titans (10-0, 5-0)
vs Region 7 No. 4-seed Alta Hawks (6-4, 2-3)

Boasting the best defense in 5A, the Titans allowed just 5.7 points per game en route to a perfect 10-0 regular season record. Quarterback Jackson Frank tossed 24 touchdowns, while running back Tommy Poulton scored another 12 of his owns on the ground. The most impressive feat of this team may be the ball-hawk defense, which totaled 18 interceptions on the year led by 4 from Noah Bennee.

The Titans also get after the quarterback with 19 sacks on the season. Making the short trip is Alta, who struggled against the Region 7 powers, going 0-3 against Timpview, Jordan, and Corner Canyon and allowing 41 points per game against those teams. Running back Dallin Pan leads the Alta rushing attack with 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground and another 321 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

Region 7 No. 1-seed Corner Canyon Chargers (8-0, 5-0)
vs Region 6 No. 4-seed Murray Spartans (6-6, 1-4)

Another heavy favorite to make the trip to the semifinals, Corner Canyon dominated opponents, scoring 37.7 points per game while allowing 10.6 to opponents. Led by junior quarterback Cole Hagen, the Chargers have 26 touchdowns through the air, with Hagen’s favorite target being John Mitchell who has 36 receptions for 828 yards and 10 touchdowns. They face Murray, who reaches the playoffs after winning play-in games against West and Skyline after winning just one game in region play. With three different players saw time at quarterback, the Spartans combined for 23 passing touchdowns. The majority of the targets went to Owen Madsen, who scored 10 touchdowns on the season.

Region 8 No. 2-seed Provo Bulldogs (4-5, 3-2)
vs Region 5 No. 3-seed Viewmont Vikings (6-3, 4-1)

A casualty of the three-way tie in Region 5, Viewmont heads on the road in the first round to play Provo, despite losing just one game in the region. The Vikings are led by star running back Robert Summerhays, who scored 14 rushing touchdowns and amassed 1,274 yards on the ground. The home team, Provo, started the season slow with a 1-5 record to start before rolling out three straight wins against Timpanogos, Wasatch, and Springville to earn the second seed in Region 8. The Bulldogs best weapon on offense is receiver Ben Myles-Mills, who totaled 16 touchdowns on the year and one interception on defense.

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