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Best of the Best: 2023 Daily Herald All-Valley Football Team

By Darnell Dickson and Jared Lloyd - | Dec 2, 2023
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Skyridge quarterback Jackson Stevens throws a pass against Pleasant Grove in a 6A state football quarterfinal game on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023.
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Timpview senior Quezon Villa runs the ball during the 5A state championship game against Bountiful at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023.
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American Fork's Josh Andrus, top, celebrates with Davis Andrews after Andrews caught a touchdown pass in overtime in a high school football game against Skyridge on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023.
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Easton Bretzing of Timpanogos plows into the end zone for a touchdown in a high school football game against Salem Hills on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.
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Timpview sophomore quarterback Helaman Casuga throws a pass in the 5A semifinal game against Olympus at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023.
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Maple Mountain senior Banks Jackson runs the ball during the non-region game at Lehi on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023.

Player of the Year: Quezon Villa, Sr. WR, Timpview

Villa was a threat any time he touched the ball for the 5A state champs, finishing with 86 catches for 986 yards and four touchdowns receiving as well as 199 yards and five more scores on the ground. In four playoff wins, Villa came up big with 32 catches for 334 yards and two touchdowns. Villa also made an impact as a returner, combining for 14 kickoff and punt returns for 224 yards (16 yards per return).

Offensive MVP: Jackson Stevens, Sr. QB, Skyridge

The 6-foot-5 Stevens directed one of the state’s most potent offenses by completing 323 of 508 passes (65%) for 4,448 yards, 51 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Defensive MVP: Davis Andrews Sr. DB, American Fork

The University of Utah commit impacted both sides of the ball for the Cavemen. On defense he directed traffic from his safety position and had 31 tackles (18 solo), three tackles for loss and three interceptions. On offense, Andrews averaged 19.6 yards per catch (36 for 707 yards) and recorded 12 touchdowns.

Coach of the Year: Taylor Walkenhorst, Pleasant Grove

The Vikings were 1-9 in Walkenhorst’s first season but hard work and dedication kept the program on an upward climb. While playing most of its best athletes both ways, PG finished 9-3 in 2023, including the program’s first win vs. Lone Peak since 2012 and a 34-31 overtime upset of No. 1 Skyridge. The Vikings advanced to the 6A quarterfinals, where they pushed the Falcons again before falling 37-30 in another overtime classic.


(Listed Alphabetically)

Easton Bretzing, Sr. RB, Timpanogos

Bretzing was a bruiser with 225 carries for 1,179 yards (5.2 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns. He also caught 39 passes for 377 yards and two scores, passed for a touchdown and kicked five field goals.

Jack Burke, Sr. WR, Skyridge

Burke’s numbers were some of the best in the state with 91 catches for 1,145 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Drew Deucher, Sr. WR/DB, Provo

Deucher was an all-around contributor for the Bulldogs with 53 catches for 756 yards and seven touchdowns. He also threw a touchdown pass, had 31 tackles (20 solo), grabbed an interception and blocked a field goal.

Helaman Casuga, So. QB, Timpview

Casuga led the Thunderbirds to the Class 5A title, finishing with 321 of 495 (65%) for 4,145 yards, 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions through the air while adding 279 yards and two more scores on the ground.

Aaron Dunn, Jr. OL, Spanish Fork

The massive Dunn (6-8, 285) was a real road grader and will be one of the most recruiting players in the state in 2024.

Hutch Fale, Jr. LB, Provo

Fale was a terror on the defensive side of the Bulldogs, totaling 104 tackles (34 solo) and nine tackles for loss.

Jackson Fenton, Sr. LB, Skyridge

Fenton was a big playmaker for the Falcons defense with 79 tackles (39 solo), 15.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Waki Fulilangi, Sr. DL, American Fork

Fulilangi anchored the Caveman defensive line with 62 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Trevyn Gates, Sr. LB, Pleasant Grove

Gates was a tackling machine for the Vikings, finishing with 147 tackles (79 solo), 10 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.

Chevas Gregory, Sr. RB, Cedar Valley

Gregory was a workhorse for the Aviators with 217 carries for 1,274 (5.9 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns.

Paka Haunga, Sr. DB, Timpview

Haunga was a key component of the T-Birds defense and finished the season with 111 tackles (73 solo), two sacks and an interception.

Mack Hixson, Sr. RB, Orem

Hixson missed most of his junior year with an injury but came back strong in 2023 with 1,518 yards on 219 carries (6.9 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns, with 28 catches for 244 yards and two more scores as a receiver.

Banks Jackson, Sr. QB, Maple Mountain

Jackson was dynamic leading the Golden Eagles offense, passing for 2,061 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 1,275 yards and 12 scores.

Dallin Johnson, Sr. OL/DL, Springville

Johnson, a BYU commit, anchored both lines for the Red Devils. On defense, he contributed 83 tackles (61 solo), 19 tackles for loss and 14 sacks.

Paul Latu, Jr. LB, Lehi

Latu led the Pioneers with 118 tackles (28 solo) and added six tackles for loss.

Tagai Lesa, Sr. RB, Provo

The Region 8 MVP finished with 1,077 yards rushing on 184 carries (5.8 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns while adding 49 tackles on the defensive ledger.

Luke Livingston, Sr. WR, Timpanogos

Livingston was one of the most prolific offensive players in the valley during his career. As a senior, he caught 61 passes for 936 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns with rushing for three more scores. He played quarterback for three games as well, completing 56 of 100 for 733 yards and six touchdowns.

Taani Makasini, Jr. LB, Timpview

Makasini spearheaded the T-Birds defense, leading the team with 139 tackles (81 solo) and grabbing three interceptions.

Trevan McClellan, Sr. WR, Skyridge

Another lethal option for the Falcons, McClellan finished with 73 catches for 1,081 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Tei Nacua, Sr. WR, Timpview

Nacua was one of the most dangerous receivers in the state with 974 yards on 66 receptions and nine touchdowns.

Austin Pay, Jr. OL, Lone Peak

The 6-foot-7, 280-pound junior follows in the footsteps of the Pay legacy and is a force on the offensive line.

Carson Rasmussen, Jr. QB, Pleasant Grove

Rasmussen was an impact player for the Vikings, throwing for 2,036 yards and 21 touchdowns (184 of 309 passes) and rushing for 544 yards and 14 more scores.

Jensen Somerville, Sr. OL, Lehi

The 6-foot-7, 280-pound Sommerville played well in 2023 and has committed to UCLA.

Dylan Story, Sr. QB, American Fork

Story had a terrific senior season, posting 3,267 yards and 37 touchdowns against only nine interceptions, completing 240 of 396 passes (61%).

Cooper Swasey, Sr. WR, Payson

No one could stop the talented Swasey from making big plays. He had 74 catches for 1,128 yards (15.2 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns while adding 42 carries for 330 yards (7.8 yards per carries) and two more scores. On defense, Swasey had 61 tackles (38 solo) and six interceptions.

Tevita Valeti, Sr. RB/LB, Springville

Valeti powered to 1,769 yards on 286 carries (6.2 yards per carry) and 29 touchdowns and also made a big contribution on defense with 91 tackles (62 solo) and nine tackles for loss.

Asher Young, Sr. WR/DB, Orem

Young was a dynamic playmaker with 65 catches for 1,078 yards (16.6 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns. He also filled in one game at quarterback and contributed on defense as well with two interceptions.


(Listed Alphabetically)

Easton Anderson, Sr. LB, Lone Peak

Anderson totaled a team-leading 91 tackles (53 solo), 20 tackles for loss and three interceptions.

Josh Andrus, Sr. TE, American Fork

Andrus carried a big load for the Caveman offense with 66 catches for 730 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Carter Bucad, Sr. RB, Wasatch

Bucad was center attraction of every opponents defensive game plan but still totaled 1,348 yards on 243 carries (5.5 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns. He also threw for 266 yards and a score filling in at quarterback.

Trent Call, Sr. WR, Skyridge

Call moved full time to wide receiver after playing quarterback his junior year and was one of Stevens’ favorite targets, catching 52 passes for 868 yards (16.7 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns.

Alex Cloward, Sr. DE, Salem Hills

Cloward finished with 70 tackles, 14 sacks and two blocked field goals while anchoring the offensive line for the Skyhawks.

Thatcher Coon, Sr. DE/LB, Pleasant Grove

Coon made a big impact for the Vikings with 97 tackles (35 solo), 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks.

Sean Cottle, Sr. WR/DB, Pleasant Grove

Cottle was a terrific two-way player for the Vikings, totaling 61 tackles (31 solo) to go along with 28 catches for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

Jacob Eardley, Sr. RB, American Fork

Eardly was tough to bring down and finished the season with 1,321 yards on 256 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and 17 rushing touchdowns.

Devaughn Eka, So. RB, Lehi

The future is bright for Eka, who toted the ball 167 times for 1,079 yards (6.5 per carry) and nine touchdowns while catching 32 passes for 225 yards and two more scores.

Kinikinilau Fonohema, Sr. DL, Springville

Fonohema made big plays all year for the Red Devils, totaling 80 tackles (51 solo), 20 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.

Vandin Fusselman, Sr. LB, Salem Hills

Fusselman totaled 114 tackles (57 solo) for the Skyhawks in his senior season.

Josh Graf, Sr. TE, Timpanogos

Graf was a very productive receiver for the T-Wolves with 63 catches for 686 yards and three touchdowns.

Dexton Havea, So. RB, Mountain View

The future is bright for the Bruins running game with Havea, who had 1,279 yards on 214 carries (5.9 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns.

Kannon Huntsman, Jr. RB, ALA

Huntsman was one of the most dangerous players in Class 2A and totaled 26 touchdowns while rushing for 1,073 yards (18 TD’s) and catching 40 passes for 649 yards and eight scores, totaling 1,722 yards from scrimmage.

Tanner Ivers, Sr. LB, Payson

Ivers was a busy guy with 103 tackles (44 solo) and 10 tackles for loss. He also caught 23 passes for 239 yards.

Kyle Larsen, Sr. WR/DB, Provo

Larsen was a big play waiting to happen and finished with 41 catches for 875 yards (21.3 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns. On defense, he added 57 tackles and three interceptions.

River Matthews, Sr. DB, Orem

Matthews was a team captain and led the Tigers secondary.

Jayden Mayberry, Jr. DB, Lone Peak

The ball-hawking Mayberry was credited with a state-leading 12 interceptions to go along with 48 tackles (29 solo).

Easton Merrill, Sr. WR, Maple Mountain

Merrill caught 42 passes for 755 yards (17.8 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns and finished the season with 1,200 all-purpose yards.

Fotu Moeai, Sr. LB, Skyridge

Moeai paced a very good Falcons defense with a team-leading 106 tackles (63 solo).

Matthias Nawahine, Sr. DB, Lone Peak

Nawahine was a huge playmaker for the Knights, finishing with 68 tackles (50 solo) and five interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns.

Jett Nui, Jr. QB, Lehi

In his first year as a starter, Nui showed he could move the Pioneers offense with 3,001 yards and 33 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, completing 221 of 338 passes (65%).

Roger Saleapaga, Sr. WR, Orem

One of the state’s most coveted recruits struggled with injuries in 2023 but still managed to put up 46 catches for 671 yards and five touchdowns.

Carter Sheffield, Sr. RB, Skyridge

Sheffield was a consistent ball carries for the Falcons with 994 yards on 168 carries (5.9 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns while catching 24 passes for 306 yards and three more scores.

Landon Shumway, Jr. LB, Mountain View

Shumway was named Region 8’s top linebacker and had 136 tackles (69 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup, and a blocked field goal.

Brighton Tate, Sr. LB, Timpanogos

Tate made all the big plays for the Timberwolves on defense with 84 tackles (49 solo), 26 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks.

DeShawn Toiolo, Jr. LB, Skyridge

The emotional leader of the Falcons defense had 58 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and two interceptions.

Kaden Vest, Jr. RB, Spanish Fork

Vest carried the Dons rushing attack with 1,334 yards and 10 touchdowns in ten games.


(Listed Alphabetically)

Darius Afalava, Jr. OL, Skyridge

The Falcons offense was one of the best in the state and Afalava (6-foot-5, 325 pounds) was a big reason why.

Jaxson Arrington, Sr. LB, Lone Peak

Arrington made plays all over the field for Knights, totaling 85 tackles (42 solo) and three interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns on a memorable night against Highland, Ariz.

Soakai Aston, Jr. QB, Provo

In his first year as a starter, Aston was 148 of 283 for 2,278 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions while adding three rushing touchdowns.

Aiden Bayless, Sr. ATH, Westlake

Bayless did a lot of different things for the Thunder on the offensive side of the ball.

Kavika Bringhurst, Sr. DE, Maple Mountain

Bringhurst was a problem for opponents with 85 tackles (45) solo, 11 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Grayson Brousseau, Sr. TE, Lehi

The Utah State commit is a big and talented target with 46 catches for 612 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior.

Zayden Cook, Sr. DE, Payson

Cook was trouble for opponents with 79 tackles (42 solo), 21 tackles for loss and eight sacks.

Kade Edwards, Sr. QB, Payson

Edwards triggered the Lions offense with 156 completions in 284 attempts for 2,074 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also ran for three more scores.

Max Edwards, Sr. DB, American Fork

Edwards finished his senior season with 70 tackles (28 solo) in a very good AF secondary.

Tiger Hakes, Sr. LB, Maple Mountain

Hakes brought the wood for the Golden Eagles with 115 tackles (63 solo), seven tackles for loss, four interceptions and one defensive touchdown.

Haven Halladay, Sr. DB, Timpview

A team captain, Halladay was a strong leader and ended up with 81 tackles and three interceptions for the 5A state champs.

Jo Jo Hyer, Jr. WR, Wasatch

Hyer made the most of his chances with 73 catches for 1,171 yards (16 yards per catch) and ten touchdowns.

Brock Jacobsen, Sr. ATH, Spanish Fork

Jacobsen made an impact on both sides of the ball for the Dons and contributed six touchdowns (three rushing, three receiving).

La’a Kalama, Sr. WR, Skyridge

Kalama was a frequent target for the Falcons, finishing with 44 catches for 573 yards and eight touchdowns.

Roper Kay, Sr. RB, Salem Hills

Kay totaled 1,687 all-purpose yards for the Skyhawks, including 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.

Ioakopo Malufau Jr. DL, Skyridge

Among Malufau’s 52 tackles were a team-leading 24 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.

Tyson Miller, Sr. LB, Timpanogos

Miller was all over the field on defense with 100 tackles (38 solo) and six tackles for loss.

Luke Nadauld Sr. WR, Springville

Nadauld was the Red Devils most dangerous receiver with 42 catches for 779 yards (18.5 yards per catch) and five touchdowns.

Jett Nelson, Sr. WR, American Fork

The BYU commit was a consistent deep threat for the Cavemen with 60 catches for 960 yards (16 yards per catch) and 12 touchdowns.

Michael Orr, Sr. OL, Cedar Valley

Orr was a big reason the Aviators were able to run the ball so effectively in 2023.

Keenan Pula, So. WR, Timpview

The T-Birds were loaded at receiver and Pula is likely the next great one after a sophomore season where he caught 39 passes for 639 yards (16.4 yards per reception) and nine touchdowns.

Ryker Peterson, Sr. OL, Lehi

Peterson had a strong seniors season on the offensive line for the Pioneers.

Lance Reynolds III, Sr. QB, Orem

Reynolds dealt with injuries during his senior season but still managed to go 71 of 107 (66%) for 1,153 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions in just five games.

Chase Riggs, Sr. QB, Timpanogos

Riggs was 239 of 359 (66%) for 2,915 yards and 23 touchdowns in the T-Wolves productive offense.

Trey Robinson, Sr. WR, Lone Peak

Robinson was a handful as a receiver for the Knights with 59 catches for 746 yards and nine touchdowns.

Luke Vickers, Sr. OL, American Fork

Vickers anchored the offensive line for one of the top offenses in the state.

Dylan Wall, Sr. WR, Payson

Wall caught 69 passes for 797 yards and seven touchdowns with two more scores on the ground for the Lions.

Dax Watts, Sr. LB, American Fork

The versatile Watts was a force at linebacker, finishing with 62 tackles and a pick six.

Bronco Winterton, Sr. WR/DB, Pleasant Grove

Another great two-way player for the Vikings had 61 tackles (38 solo) and two interceptions to go along with 19 catches for 243 yards and eight touchdowns.

Tua Wolfgramm, Sr. LB, Pleasant Grove

Wolfgramm had an impact on both sides of the ball with 63 tackles (30 solo), eight tackles for loss and two interceptions while rushing for 235 yards on 33 carries and scoring three touchdowns.

Carson Wren, Jr. LB, Lehi

Wren was a strong finisher for the Pioneers with 111 tackles (37 solo).


(Listed Alphabetically)

AMERICAN FORK: Jacob Dean, Drew Dickey, Zane Edwards, Tyson Eggett, Carson Garrett, Blake Jensen, Tayvin Jensen, Lewis Knech, Caleb Peterson, Lucas Segura.

AMERICAN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY: Koby Creviston, Gabe Huff, Chris Marble, Nico Marble, Michael Sanchez, Tad Swarnes.

CEDAR VALLEY: Nate Banry, Dalton Dunn, Alama Fetuao, Aidan Marsh, Chase Webb.

LEHI: Isaiah Allen, Justice Cooper, Boston Fabrizio, Gavin Fenn, Mays Madsen, Ezaiah Mama, Kaleb Moore, Max Ray, Austin Stauffer, Peni Takitaki, Alema Tamala.

LONE PEAK: Jackson Blake, Adam Connors, Landon Goff, Seth Haskett, Logan Hofheins, Jasean Mayberry, Bott Mulitalo, Junior Tahi, Teagan Towle, Brooks Wilde.

MAPLE MOUNTAIN: Fernando Banuelos, Viki Fano, Farren Hardy, Nic Hofhiens, Sifa Kolomalu, Siosifa Kolomalu, Denton Mills, Derek Morehouse, Jace Wilson.

MOUNTAIN VIEW: Hunter Hopoate, Michael Earnest, Kalvin Floyd, Sei Lesa, Tanginoa Teaupa.

OREM: Kau Akana, Aidan Brown, Kaleb Dean, Cole Engemann, Branko Hansell-Fotu, Feleti Iongi, Chris Nelson, Misi Poti, Johnny Prescott, Tayden Sa’u.

PAYSON: Porter Beckstead, Owen Cottle, Lincoln Ewell, Asher Geldmacher, David Keel, Colby Olson, Beau Stienfeldt, Trevyn Wall.

PLEASANT GROVE: Tanner Blake, Mataira Brown, Jake Closson, Quade Coombs, Aidan Frantzen, Lukas Jackson, Gabe McCoy, Kael McCoy, Ryker Mikkelsen, Makai Peterson, Tred Powell.

PROVO: Mason Gregory, Saia Hifo, Ky Jardine, Bryant Larsen, Oliver Mackay, Limhi Mateaki, Jordan Snow, Ezra Tuilevuka.

SALEM HILLS: Tate Allred, Dagen Gammell, Max Gustin,Ledger Holmes, Ethan Houghton, Sam Kinikini, Christian Millar, Jedi Nelson, Hans Otte, Kort Stewart.

SKYRIDGE: Mark Baird, Noah Bird, Tavian Edwards, Filimone Fangupo, Ami Fifita, Ben Howard, Ian Mariner, Taezen Selu.

SPANISH FORK: Josh Cook, Wil Gunter, Ryan Olsen, McKay Smith, Benji Vargas, Nixon Warren.

SPRINGVILLE: Reid Deede, Chris Hernandez, Lukas Franks, Tua Naufahu, Naulivou Lauaki, Chaste Lamela, Daniel Marques, Drake Peterson, Jack Pickering, Lisiate Valeti, Tisi Valeti, Tua Valeti.

TIMPANOGOS: Gabe Graf, Tyler Hunter, Marlee Iosefo, MJ Iosefo, Jesse King, Cache McCann, Dash McCann, Nash Price.

TIMPVIEW: Daniel Beckstead, Marly Filiaga, Aisa Galeai, Grady Gregory, Matthias Lesa, Jalen Namulauti, Jacob Rust, Nelesoni Tauua, Luke Thornock, Tru To’a, Isaiah Vaea.

WASATCH: Crew Baxter, Kolton Brisk, Garrett Christensen, Cole Kelson, Mack Kelson, Austin McNaughtan, Ashton Southam, Cooper Thacker, Abe Wheeler, Robby Whelan.

WESTLAKE: Sale Fano, Beckam Featherstone, Ezra Heiner, Manasseh Te’o, Tyson Wagoner.


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