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Utah Valley prep football rewind: One winning streak ends, others continue

By Brian E. Preece - Herald correspondent | Sep 18, 2023
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American Fork's Lucas Segura (left) grabs the feet of Lehi's Devaughn Eka during a high school football game on Friday, September 15, 2023.
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Timpview players break through the homecoming sign before the Region 7 game against Orem at Provo High on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023.
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Provo senior running back Feitagai Lesa bulls into the end zone during the Region 8 game against Timpanogos at Provo on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
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Orem sophomore wide receiver Kaue Akana (13) gets tripped up by a Timpview defender and goes airborne during the Region 7 game at Provo High on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023.
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Lehi's Devaughn Eka carries the ball against American Fork in a high school football game on Friday, September 16, 2023.

It was another huge week in Utah prep football that features some big-time performances.

American Fork got an emphatic statement win, Timpview finally played a home game (sort of), Provo took control of Region 8, Pleasant Grove and Skyridge remained in the ranks of the unbeaten, and Springville finally scored via the forward pass.

And there were plenty of sparkling individual showings as well.

Here are some of the big stories from Week 6:

Lehi’s win streak ends at 24 games: There is that old adage that “all good things must come to an end” and Lehi’s winning streak did just that at 24 games. This means Skyridge has the longest winning streak in the county at 13 wins in a row.

American Fork truly made a statement blowing out Lehi, 62-28. Two-way player Dax Watts was one of the Cavemen heroes as he scored two touchdowns in the early going, one on offense with a 2-yard run and then a 35-yard pick six that gave American Fork a lead it would never relinquish. Watts also would score on a two-point conversion later in the game.

Watts’ teammate Jacob Eardley had a monster game crossing the goal line four times while quarterback Dylan Story had three touchdown passes, all in the second half where American Fork outscored Lehi 29-7 en route to a very decisive victory.

Timpview wins” home” game at Provo High School: Timpview finally got to don its home orange jerseys in a 41-21 win against Region 7 rival Orem on Thursday night. It was also Homecoming.

Sophomore quarterback Helaman Casuga had a big night tossing five touchdown passes and running for another. Timpview will play another home game at Provo High School in Week 8 against Cedar Valley. That will be Senior Night for the Thunderbird players.

The Thunderbird booster club, cheerleaders and student government did all they could decorating Bulldog Stadium in orange and blue to make it feel like a home game for their football players, which was only possible because the game was on Thursday night.

That meant that late into the night a massive clean-up of the stadium ensued as Provo had its own Homecoming game the next day versus Timpanogos.

There is a bit of uncertainty as to where Timpview will play in the playoffs. Last year, Timpview played all of its “home” games at Mountain View including two playoff games.

If Timpview earns the right to host a game in the playoffs, which is likely, going on the road to play at its opponent’s field is not an option.

“We’re not giving up any home games,” said Timpview lead administrator Momi Tu’ua, who credited the parents and students for stepping up big to make this particular game feel like a true home game and Homecoming event for the players, students and alumni. “I am really grateful for all the efforts to make it feel like a home field for our players.”

According to Tu’ua, both Provo and Mountain View could be options as home playoff sites for the Thunderbirds, but it could come down to whether each school is in the playoffs and is seeded high enough to host a game themselves, very likely in Provo’s case.

Tu’ua said the required travel has been hardest on the fans and not the players.

“They (the players) just want to play, and they want to win,” Tuua added.

Tu’ua also remarked that the construction remodel is a three-phase process and phase three should be done by the next school year. Not only will Timpview have a new football field where the home bleachers will face east instead of west, there will also be an on-campus field for the softball program which has been practicing and playing its games at the site of the old Provo High campus, now owned by BYU.

Provo routs Timpanogos and takes control of Region 8: The first quarter wasn’t pretty as Timpanogos had built up an early 13-0 lead. But then the Bulldogs turned the tables to please their faithful on Homecoming scoring 48 straight points to crush the Timberwolves.

The powerful running of Tagai Lesa, who scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, keyed the Provo comeback. In the second half the passing game joined in the fun as Soakai Ashton had three touchdown passes.

Provo’s defense should also be singled out for its great play. Timpanogos came into this game as the highest scoring team in the county. Its lowest point total in its five previous games was 33 in a 35-33 loss to undefeated Park City. But after the first quarter, Provo locked down the high-octane Timberwolf offense to take control of the contest.

Pleasant Grove and Skyridge stay unbeaten: Pleasant Grove overcame a 17-14 deficit against its archrival Lone Peak to stay undefeated.

Bronco Winterton and Carson Rasmussen scored on runs of 45 and 25 runs respectively, but it was the Viking defense that came up big when Ryker Mikkelsen secured an interception and took it back 35 yards to the house. The pick six gave the Vikings a 21-17 lead with just over six minutes remaining and the Vikings held on for the big Region 3 win.

Skyridge had a much easier time in its game as it easily beat Westlake 48-10. The Thunder actually took an early 7-0 lead before the Falcons took flight scoring 48 unanswered points. Jackson Stevens had seven touchdown passes to lead Skyridge’s aerial assault on the Thunderand Jack Burke was the recipient of three of those. Stevens now leads the state with 25 touchdown passes in six games while he’s third overall in passage yards with 1,669.

Springville airs it out in win against Cedar Valley: It took six games but Springville got its first passing touchdowns for the season with Luke Nadauld hauling in two of them, as the Red Devils crushed Cedar Valley, 49-0.

It was also the first win Springville has had where Tevita Valeti didn’t score a touchdown rushing. Lisiate Valeti tossed three touchdown passes and the Red Devils had two pick sixes as Tua Valeti had an interception return for a touchdown, while Jack Pickering had another.

Enigmatic Wasatch earns a huge upset victory: Wasatch may have salvaged its season with a stirring comeback victory over Maple Mountain. Last week Wasatch was shutout 44-0 and the Wasps found themselves down to Maple Mountain 34-21 with less than seven minutes remaining in the game.

But Carter Bucad ran it in from five yards out with 6:20 left in the final stanza and then Mack Kelson crossed the goal line with 37 seconds left, also from five yards. It was then up to Ashton Southam, who split the uprights for the fifth straight time, to deliver the one-point victory for the home team.

Kelson had two touchdown throws to Jojo Hyer to go along with his touchdown scamper, while Bucad had two rushing touchdowns. Bucad, by the way, is tied for seventh in the state with 10 rushing touchdowns.

Maple Mountain had its share of sparkling individual performances. Bank Jackson threw four touchdown passes, three of which were caught by Easton Merrell, while running for another.

Mountain View and Salem Hills victorious in Region 8: Mountain View got its second win of the season beating Uintah, 31-14.

Dexton Havea had two rushing touchdowns while quarterback Sei Lesa had one rushing score to go along with another through the air. Kalvin Floyd had one touchdown reception, kicked a 24-yard field goal and hit all four of his extra points to add to the Bruin scoring barrage.

In another Region 8 battle, Salem Hills held off Spanish Fork to win 19-16. Roper Kay had two touchdown rushes while Christian Millar’s 35-yard field goal provided the necessary points for the Skyhawks to score a big league win over its rival.

Five touchdown passes for Payson QB: Kade Edwards tossed five touchdown passes in Payson’s easy 48-7 non-region win against Murray. Edwards has 16 touchdown passes on the season. Asher Geldmacher and Cooper Swasey secured two touchdown catches each for the Lions.

ALA’s Kannon Huntsman continues to shine: Though his team is 1-5 on the season, ALA’s Kannon Huntsman has shined for the Eagles. He is among the state leaders in rushing touchdowns with nine and went across the goal line two times in ALA’s 35-21 loss to Summit Academy.

Weird Stats of the Week: Lone Peak has scored seven touchdowns in its last two games. But only one of those touchdowns has come from the offense.

Lone Peak had a state-record four interception returns for a touchdown in a win against Highland, Arizona and then added another in its 24-19 loss to Pleasant Grove as Easton Anderson had a 7-yard pick six that gave the Knights a 17-14 lead at the time. Lone Peak’s defense also added a safety.

The other touchdown scored by the Knights was a 95-yard kickoff return by Trey Robinson.

Big Game of the Week No. 1: Lehi (5-1, 0-1), coming off its first loss of the season, will play undefeated Skyridge (6-0, 1-0). Both schools won state titles last year in different classifications but don’t particularly care for each other. Expect a hard-hitting affair that still should provide plenty of points..

Big Game of the Week No. 2: Though Lone Peak is 2-4 on the season and 0-1 in league play, the Knights are from an easy win for any team they play. They host undefeated American Fork (6-0, 1-0), and if the Knights can pull off the upset, they can get right back into the thick of things in the Region 3 race.

Big Game of the Week No. 3: Orem (2-4, 1-1) visits Maple Mountain (3-3, 1-1) as both teams are coming off tough losses. Each team has had some big wins in their season so a win here helps bolster their RPI and a hope perhaps to host a playoff game down the road.

Extra points: 2A San Juan has the state’s longest winning streak at 31 games. The Broncos beat Emery 53-13 and have gone over 50 points in four of their six victories … Manti became the first prep football team in Utah to crack the 70-point barrier as the Templars destroyed Carbon, 74-0. Manti led 64-0 at halftime … Sometimes 8-player football can produce some crazy offensive shootouts and St. Joseph had one with Carlin, Nevada losing 68-66 … The Utah School for the Deaf and Blind took to the field for the first time this season playing 8-player and lost to Altamont, 48-20. Next week the Eagles will play St. Joseph and that game will produce the first win in program history for one of these schools … Ten teams across the state remain undefeated and three of them (American Fork, Pleasant Grove and Skyridge) are from Utah County. Meanwhile, 12 teams across the state have failed to win a game but all Utah County teams are in the win column … There were only four games that pitted Utah County teams against teams outside the valley and the results were two wins against two losses leaving county programs 34-18 overall.



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