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Prep 1-on-1: Big comebacks and rivalry showdowns highlight Utah Valley high school sports

By Staff | Sep 15, 2016
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Lehi High School quarterback Cammon Cooper (12) throws the ball during a Springville home game against Lehi on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Springville. The game was tied at 6 as the first half ended. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview wide receiver Kyle Van Leeuwen (19) eyes the ball as Alta cornerback Zach Alsop (24) successfully interrupts the pass during their football game Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at Alta High School in Sandy. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Springville High School Spencer Dillon (26) celebrates as he runs into the end zone during a Springville home game against Lehi on Aug. 26, 2016, in Springville. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

Daily Herald prep sports beat writer and the Great Zuke himself, Neil Warner, and sports editor Jared Lloyd take a look at the biggest questions in Utah Valley high school sports this week:

1. Lehi quarterback Cam Cooper has scholarship offers from Kansas, Oregon State, Utah State and Weber State and has strong interest from BYU, Utah, Arizona State, Boise State and UCLA. What is your take on Cooper?

WARNER: Some members of UCLA’s coaching staff will be taking time off from preparing for BYU on Saturday to watch Cooper play against Pleasant Grove. I think he’s a great prospect. I saw Lehi against Springville and he engineered the most dramatic comeback (before falling in OT) that I’ve ever seen at the high school level. Cooper has already passed for 1,415 yards, 19 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He’s completing 67 percent of his passes and he’s helped the Pioneers off to a 3-1 start.

LLOYD: I love what Lehi is doing by putting the ball in Cooper’s hands and letting him be the catalyst for the Pioneer offense. He’s got good size for the position at 6-foot-4 but he’s going to need to fill out that 190-pound frame to be able to withstand the hits at the next level. The one thing I’m already sure of is that Cooper is a playmaker. He may not have a million weapons around him at Lehi but he makes good things happen for his team. If he keeps improving, his ceiling is very high.

2. Salem Hills, Alta, and Orem turned in impressive come-from-behind wins on Friday. Which team’s comeback were you most impressed with?

WARNER: I would say, Orem, who trailed Corner Canyon 22-0 in the first half. Considering the Tigers were 0-3 and could have easily melted down and started to point fingers, their 28-25 win had to be the biggest shocker.

Alta trailed Timpview 24-6 at the half and the T’Birds do not blow leads that big but both teams were 3-0 and when you have a running back as good as Josh Davis, a big comeback is never out of the question.

LLOYD: Come on, Neil. You can’t make me believe that there was a more impressive win than Alta’s stunner against Timpview. The Thunderbirds had that one wrapped up, only to have the Hawks turn the game on its head. Sure, Orem needed a win in the worst way and found a way to get one but the Alta victory is the type of win that can spark a deep state run. I also liked the Salem Hills rally against Spanish Fork but it didn’t compare to what happened to the Thunderbirds.

3. What are this week’s best high school football matchups?

WARNER: Springville at Spanish Fork is a great rivalry and I expect it to be very competitive even though Springville is 4-0 and Spanish Fork is 1-3. Don’t be surprised if the Dons pull off the upset. I’m also curious to see if Lehi can take another big step in Region 4 against Pleasant Grove. The Pioneers have been at or near the bottom of Region 4 since they were promoted to 5A. Last week they opened region play with a big win over Riverton.

LLOYD: I’m pulling for a classic Timpview-Provo showdown this weekend and the stars may align for it to happen. The Thunderbirds are coming in after a disheartening collapse, whereas the Bulldogs are sitting at 3-1 on the season. Provo has struggled against its crosstown rival on the gridiron for years but if the Bulldogs can seize the momentum, Timpview might start making mistakes and try too hard. The odds are still in favor of the Thunderbirds but don’t be surprised if Provo hangs around.

4. Springville is the only Utah Valley football team that is undefeated. How long will the Red Devils go undefeated?

WARNER: I don’t see a team on Springville’s schedule that can beat the Red Devils. They are at Spanish Fork on Friday and that’s a game that could go either way. If they can get past the Dons, they could be surprised at Uintah but they have Wasatch (3-1) at home and finish the regular season at Salem Hills. Last year Springville won all of its close games and this team seems just as focused.

LLOYD: I expect the Red Devils to have a game where turnovers and mistakes put them in a tough position but Springville has the talent to overcome some obstacles. I think Wasatch will be a very tough test since the Wasps are well-coached and aren’t afraid of the spotlight. My opinion, however, is that the Red Devils finish the regular season unbeaten.

5. Lone Peak’s golf team finished second at the Antigua tournament and the Knights are in first place in Region 4. Is this team good enough to win the state 5A title?

WARNER: I think Lone Peak’s depth gives this team a great shot at a state championship. The Knights have three region meets left and should be able to close out a Region 4 title early. They have the top four individual scores. Josh Rooker, Zach Jones, Elijah Turner and Tyler Jones have the best average scores followed by American Fork’s Trell Morse and Lone Peak’s Jaxon Long. When you have that kind of consistency, you have a great chance of winning a ring.

LLOYD: To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. Well, the Knight boys golf team has been the best at what it does for the last few years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The Alpine Country Club junior program deserves a lot of credit for the success of the Lone Peak High School team, since a majority of the Knight golfers go through that organization. I think Lone Peak will have to play way below their potential and someone else will have to be really hot to knock the Knights off the top spot.

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