Preseason KSLSports.com Game Night Live Top 20
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The high school football season will begin this week.
The UHSAA has approved teams to play under strict health guidelines to ensure the players, coaches, staff and fans are safe.
Each week the KSL Sports team votes on the top 20 schools in the state across all classifications.
Here is the Game Night Live top 20 high school football teams in the state of Utah as voted on by the KSL Sports team.
20. Roy Royals
The Royals finished the regular season with a 7-4 overall record and 5-2 in 6A Region 1 play. They were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, falling to American Fork, 66-45. Head coach Fred Fernandes is entering his 10th season as the head coach. Four starters return on offense including quarterback Parker Kingston. The Royals only return one starter on defense which includes defensive back Cade Harris who also plays on offense at wide receiver.
Next Up: at Jordan, Friday at 7 p.m.
19. Salem Hills Skyhawks
The Skyhawks had a great season in 2019, finishing with an 11-2 overall record and a 5-1 mark in 5A Region 8. They reached the semifinals in the playoffs before being eliminated by Orem, 51-14. Salem Hills will have a new head coach with Spanish Fork and UVU graduate Jeff Higginson taking over after Harry Schwenke stepped down following three seasons at the helm. They return six starters on offense including quarterback Jarret Elmer. On defense, Salem Hills will have five returning starters, three secondary players, one linebacker and one defensive lineman.
Next Up: at Mountain Crest, Friday at 7 p.m.
18. Farmington Phoenix
Last season, Farmington had their best season in the short time the school has existed. They took 5A Region 5 with a 9-2 overall record and a 4-1 record in region action. The school opened in 2018 and reached the playoffs in their second season, getting to the quarterfinals before losing to Lehi, 27-21. Former BYU star Daniel Coats enters his third season as the head coach of the Phoenix. He will be challenged with replacing his quarterback as only two starters return from last season which includes two offensive linemen. Farmington will have one starter back on defense with defensive tackle Jake Buttars.
Next Up: at No. 1 Corner Canyon, Friday at 7 p.m.
17. Syracuse Titans
The Titans had a tremendous 2019 season by taking the 6A Region 1 crown after a 9-3 overall record and a 6-1 mark in region play. Syracuse reached the quarterfinals of the playoffs and fell to Corner Canyon, 56-0. Mike Knight enters his fourth season as the head coach of the Titans. He will have a young team in 2020 with 3 returning starters, including running back Tre’Vaun Peoples. Five starters return on defense, all up front in their nickel defense.
Next Up: vs. Granger, Friday at 7 p.m.
16. Kearns Cougars
The Cougars won 6A Region 2 with an undefeated 6-0 region record and a 10-2 overall mark last season. Kearns made it to the quarterfinals in the playoffs before losing to Lone Peak, 37-19. Matt Rickards is back for his eighth season at the helm for Kearns. He will have an experienced unit on offense with six returning starters including running back Naki Leha and one of the top in-state recruits Jeff Bassa at wide receiver and safety. Joe Toiavai is expected to be the starting quarterback. Kearns returns just three starters on defense including Bassa.
Next Up: at Box Elder, Friday at 7 p.m.
15. Davis Darts
Last season, Davis finished in the middle of the pack with a 74 overall record and a 4-3 mark in 6A Region 1. They lost in the first round of the postseason to Westlake, 35-14. The Darts will start the season with a tough non-region contest at No. 8 Herriman.
Next Up: at No. 8 Herriman, Friday at 7 p.m.
14. Sky View Bobcats
The defending 4A State Champion Bobcats are back after a 13-1 overall record and a 5-0 mark in 4A Region 11 last season. Chris Howell is back for his second season as the head coach of Sky View. He will have six starters back on offense, including quarterback Kason Carlsen and running back Walter Collins. They lose athlete Mason Falslev who had a great senior season in 2019. A veteran group on defense returns with seven returning starters.
Next Up: vs. Stansbury, Friday at 7 p.m.
13. Lehi Pioneers
The Pioneers finished the 2019 season third in 5A Region 7 with a 3-2 record after holding a 10-4 overall mark. They were eliminated in the semifinals of the postseason to Timpview, 35-7. Ed Larson enters his eighth season as the head coach of Lehi. Four starters return on offense including quarterback Creyton Cooper. Three starters are back on defense.
Next Up: at No. 3 American Fork, Friday at 7 p.m.
12. Brighton Bengals
The Bengals picked up 8 wins and 3 losses last season and had a 5-1 record in 5A Region 6 last season. After receiving a first round bye in the postseason, Brighton lost to Orem in the second round, 21-6. Justin Hemm enters his second season as the head coach of the Bengals. Eight starters return on offense, including quarterback Gabe Curtis, running back Owen Powers and wide receiver Collin Edwards. They have seven returning starters on defense, including one of the top in-state prospects in the 2022 class in linebacker Lander Barton. He is the younger brother of former Utah offensive lineman Jackson and linebacker Cody Barton. Both of them are currently playing in the NFL.
Next Up: vs. Fremont, Friday at 7 p.m.
11. Olympus Titans
The 5A Region 6 champions had an undefeated 6-0 region record and a 10-2 overall record in 2019. Olympus was eliminated in the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, losing to Orem, 31-28 in the quarterfinals. Aaron Whitehead enters his 10th season as the head coach of the Titans. He will have a new quarterback this year but returns four starters from last season, including running back Peyton Rice. On defense, the Titans bring back just two starters from last season.
Next Up: vs. Mountain Ridge, Friday at 7 p.m.
10. Skyridge Falcons
Last season, Skyridge finished the season with a 7-3 overall, 3-2 6A Region 4 record. They lost in the second round of the postseason to Lone Peak, 30-6. Jon Lehman enters his fifth season as the head coach of Skyridge. The quarterback position will have a new face but the offense returns five starters from last season. On defense, the Falcons bring back five returning starters.
Next Up: at Alta, Friday at 7 p.m.
9. Pleasant Grove Vikings
Despite a 2-3 6A Region 4 record, Pleasant Grove finished the 2019 season with an 8-4 record in one of the toughest regions in the state. The Vikings lost to Syracuse, 27-14 in the second round of the postseason. Mark Wootton enters his fifth season as the head coach of the Vikings and his 30th season as a high school football coach in the state of Utah. Wootton brought in former BYU great Brandon Doman to be the offensive coordinator. Pleasant Grove is looking for their quarterback but return a ton of talent on offense with six returning starters, including highly touted recruit tight end Isaac Vaha, running back Rex Connors and wide receiver Brooks Winterton. The Vikings bring back seven starters on defense.
Next Up: at Riverton, Friday at 7 p.m.
8. Herriman Mustangs
The Mustangs were one of three teams with a 4-1 6A Region 3 record last season while finishing with 9 wins last season. They reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs before losing to American Fork, 28-14. Dustin Pearce is entering his eighth season as the head coach of Herriman. His offensive coordinator is former Utah great Matt Asiata. The two returning starters on offense are on the offensive line. Three starters return on defense, two defensive backs and one defensive lineman.
Next Up: vs. No. 15 Davis, Thursday at 7 p.m.
7. East Leopards
The Leopards finished the 2019 season with a 4-1 record in 6A Region 3 play and a 10-4 overall record. They reached the semifinals in the postseason until they were eliminated by American Fork, 37-27. Brandon Matich is entering his 11th season as the head coach of East High School. He will bring back seven starters on offensive including Washington commit offensive/defensive lineman Voi Tunifi. On defense, East will have six starters back from last season. Their schedule will be difficult this season as they replaced their two out-of-state games with matchups with Orem and Lone Peak.
Next Up: vs. West Jordan, Friday at 7 p.m.
6. Orem Tigers
The Tigers won their third consecutive state championship in 2019 and finished the season with a 10-4 overall record and a 4-1 mark in 5A Region 7. They beat Timpview 21-7 in the 5A Championship game. Jeremy Hill is back for his fifth season as the head coach of the Tigers. Orem will have quarterback Micah Fe’a back for his second season as the starter. They also have the top recruit in the state of Utah in offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia. The Tigers have 12 returning starters, five on offense and seven on defense.
Next Up: at Mountain View, Friday at 7 p.m.
5. Timpview Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds had a 11-4 overall record and a 4-1 mark in 5A Region 7 last season. They lost to Orem 21-7 in the 5A State Championship game. Andy Stokes is entering his third season as the head coach. Timpview returns four starters on offense, including tight end Carsen Ryan. On defense, six starters return which includes two highly-touted recruits in linebacker Logan Fano and BYU commit defensive back Raider Damuni.
Next Up: vs. No. 4 Lone Peak, Friday at 7 p.m. on KSLSports.com and the KSL TV app.
4. Lone Peak Knights
The Knights finished the 2019 season with a 4-10 overall record and a 1-4 record in 6A Region 4. But, they had to forfeit every game from last season after a player was ruled ineligible. They lost to Corner Canyon in the semifinals, 34-7. The Knights will have Luke Romney at quarterback, while returning John Henry Daley, Luke Durfey and Siale Tahi.
Next Up: at No. 5 Timpview, Friday at 7 p.m. on KSLSports.com and the KSL TV app.
3. American Fork Cavemen
The Cavemen racked up 10 wins and 5 losses last season and a 3-2 record in 6A Region 4 in 2019. American Fork reached the state championship game before falling to Corner Canyon, 49-14. Aaron Behm is back for his 11th season as the head coach of American Fork. Six starters return on offense, including standout quarterback Maddux Madsen. On defense, American Fork is returning 7 starters.
Next Up: vs. No. 13 Lehi, Friday at 7 p.m.
2. Bingham Miners
The Miners had an 8-3 overall record and 4-1 in 6A Region 3 last season. Bingham lost to East in the 6A quarterfinals last season, 20-16. Dave Peck is back for the first year of his second stint. He was away from the program for five seasons before coaching the Miners from 2000-14. Bingham returns nine starters on offense, including quarterback Troy Mehn. On defense, the Miners bring back seven starters which includes Utah commit linebacker Vili Po’uha.
Next Up: vs. Weber, Friday at 7 p.m.
1. Corner Canyon Chargers
A perfect season for the Chargers last season, going 14-0 overall and 5-0 in 6A Region 4. They knocked off American Fork, 49-14 in the 6A State Championship game. Eric Kjar is entering his fourth season as the head coach of Corner Canyon. Through three seasons at the helm, Kjar holds a 37-1 record. It’s their second straight state title. Eight starters on offense return for the Chargers, including wide receiver duo Noah Kjar and Cody Hagen. Center and Oregon commit Jackson Light is back as well as stud running back Austin Bell. Former Roy QB Jaxson Dart will be the starter for Corner Canyon. On defense, the Chargers return three starters.
Next Up: vs. No. 18 Farmington, Friday at 7 p.m.
Others Receiving Votes: Woods Cross, Alta, Park City, Dixie, Pine View, Desert Hills, Morgan.