Two of the hottest teams in Class 3A football will meet Saturday in Orem with a trip to the state championship game on the line.
Third-ranked Grantsville and second-ranked Juab have each won nine games in a row coming into Saturday’s game at Mountain View High School — tied with Class 4A’s Sky View for the third-longest current winning streak in the state. Juab is looking for its first trip to the championship game in five years, having lost to Judge Memorial in 2014, while Grantsville is hoping to return to the title game for the first time since losing the 2003 final to Bear River. Juab has never won a state championship, while Grantsville hasn’t won one since 1997.
Here’s a closer look at Saturday’s contest.
Class 3A Semifinal
No. 3 Grantsville Cowboys (10-2) vs.
No. 2 Juab Wasps (11-1)
Where: Mountain View High School, 665 W. Center Street, Orem
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Last week: Grantsville beat No. 11 Richfield, 42-14; Juab beat No. 7 American Leadership Academy, 35-7
All-time series: Grantsville leads 13-11
Last meeting: at Juab 41, Grantsville 20; Aug. 28, 2015
The scoop: These are two of the most dominant teams in Utah’s second-smallest football-playing classification, and it’s been that way since Week 4. Grantsville boasts Class 3A’s fifth-most prolific offense at 32 points per game, and is tied for the third-stingiest defense at 13.5 points per game. On the other side, Juab is the only one of the four remaining teams to have gone undefeated against fellow Class 3A competition, and ranks second on offense (35.9 ppg) and tied for third on defense (13.5 ppg).
Grantsville’s offense has been led by its passing attack. Jackson Sandberg completes 64% of his passes and averages 16.9 yards per completion, totaling 2,161 yards, 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He has an impressive arsenal of weapons, led by Ammon Bartley (60 receptions, 1,024 yards, 11 TDs) and Taylor Wood (46-691-8). Chace Gipson and Daltyn Peasnall have also proven to be dangerous deep threats.
The Cowboys also have a solid running game, with Trent Brown posting 789 yards and five TDs. James Fuluvaka has rushed for 428 yards and eight scores.
Grantsville’s defense has forced 40 turnovers and sacked opposing quarterbacks 24 times. Kaden Kelley has six interceptions, four fumble recoveries and four sacks. Fuluvaka and Austin Gray are tied for the team lead with 5.5 sacks each and Jonas Floyd has four. Gipson, Blake Thomas and Noah Mouritsen each have three interceptions.
Juab, the Region 14 champion which is making its sixth state semifinal appearance in seven years, suffered its only loss of the season against Class 5A No. 1 Salem Hills in Week 3. Since then, the Wasps haven’t lost, and they’ve only allowed 9.1 points per game against fellow Class 3A teams.
Entering last week’s game against ALA, for which statistics were not available at press time Thursday morning, quarterback Zac Cowan had thrown for 1,348 yards and 14 TDs with just six interceptions. Cade Bowring had 849 yards and 15 TDs on the ground through Juab’s first 11 games to go along with 27 catches for 463 yards and seven scores through the air. Bodee Blackett (20 receptions, 417 yards, three TDs) is the Wasps’ second-leading receiver, and Trey Lund (488 yards, eight TDs) is Juab’s No. 2 rusher.
Defensively, Dominic Davidson led the Wasps with 6.5 sacks through 11 games, and Blake Mangelson had 5.5. Louk Stevens, Wyatt Holdaway and Mitchell Allred each had two interceptions entering last week’s game.
The winner of Saturday’s game will travel to Trailblazer Stadium on the campus of Dixie State University in St. George for the Class 3A state championship game, to be played at 4 p.m. Nov. 15 against the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal game between No. 1 North Sanpete and No. 5 Morgan.