Finals Notes: Records get broken by Orem and American Fork in state championships
SALT LAKE CITY — Orem’s 2018 football season was one for the record books.
The Tigers completed a back-to-back championship run on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, blowing past Dixie 60-13 in the 4A title game and completing one of the most dominating seasons in state history.
Here’s a sample of some of the most significant records set by Orem this season, with the numbers courtesy of Utah prep football historian George Felt.
The Tigers scored 753 points this season, breaking the state record set by East in 2016 (694). With an average of 53.8 points per game, Orem is second to the all-time record set by East in 1919 (61.3).
The Tigers played four out-of-state teams in the preseason but outscored 10 Utah opponents 651-152. That’s 65.7 points per game to 15.4, a scoring margin of 49.9 points per game.
Orem was completely dominant in the 4A playoffs as well. The Tigers scored 248 points in four post-season games, a state record that bested the mark set by East in 2016 (229). With a win margin of 43.8 points per game, Orem is ranked third all-time in that category.
With 573 yards of offense in the championship game the Tigers are second all-time in total offense at 7,326 yards (East has the record with 7,438 yards in 2016). Orem finished with 4,448 yards passing, which is second all-time behind Lehi (4,800 last year) and Jordan (4,467 in 2009).
Puka Nacua finished with nine catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns against Dixie. He ended the season with 103 catches for 2,336 yards, both state records. His 55-yard touchdown reception with 7:17 to play gave him 26 scoring catches this year, also a state best.
Quarterback Cooper Legas finished the 2018 season with 5,415 yards of total offense (4,338 passing) and 61 total touchdowns (46 through the air).
Orem wanted to stake a claim to being the best team in the state in all classifications in 2018 but the reality for the Tigers is they only played one of the other top teams during the season, losing to Bingham, 39-22, in Orem in the season-opener.
Tiger head coach Jeremy Hill said the Tigers had originally had a game scheduled with 2018 5A champion Corner Canyon, but elected to play an out-of-state game against Bishop Gorman from Nevada instead when the opportunity came.
More title-game records fall
Although American Fork didn’t get the outcome it wanted as it lost to Lone Peak, 34-29, in the 6A championship, the Cavemen did set some impressive championship passing records as they tried to rally.
American Fork senior quarterback Boone Abbott finished the game with a title-game record 519 passing yards, surpassing the 470 yards by Alex Cate and the rest of the Cottonwood team in 2004.
He also had the most completions in a championship (36, breaking the 31 thrown by Joey Edmonds of South Summit in 1998) and attempts (60, breaking the record of 53 by Cate). He finished with three TD passes.
Abbott lost 23 yards because of sacks, meaning that his total yardage of 496 yards ties with Logan’s Riley Nelson title-game mark from 2005.
Caveman senior wide receiver Chase Roberts also set championship-game records with 15 receptions (breaking the previous mark of 12 by Layne Anderson of Kanab in 2016) for 258 yards (breaking the previous record of 205 by Brandon Dansie of South Summit in 2016). He also grabbed two TD passes.
As at a team, American Fork set a title-game mark in first downs as well, tallying 30 in the contest.
The Cavemen officially had 520 total yards, which was the 13th-most in a championship. The one net rushing yard was the seventh-fewest in a title contest.
Friday’s title was the seventh all-time for Orem (1962, 1968, 1994, 2017, 2018) and evened the Tigers championship game record at 7-7.
Lone Peak won the second state football title in school history (also winning in 2011). The Knights are now 2-4 in championship contests.
Skyridge lost for the second straight year in the finals, making the third-year school now 0-2 in championship contests.
The first consideration for realignment for 2019-21 was released on Thursday by the Utah High School Activities Association and moved Skyridge from Class 5A to Class 6A but kept Orem in Class 4A. The Tigers have expressed interest in moving up to Class 5A or 6A and will be considered for such a move during realignment discussions.
Orem won the toss before the 4A game and elected to receive the ball, American Fork won the toss before the 6A game and deferred while Corner Canyon won the toss in the 5A contest and deferred … Skyridge players carried an assortment of flags onto the field before the 5A championship, including the school flag, the USA flag, the Hawaii flag and the American Samoa flag … weather for state championship day was as perfect as could be expected in mid-November, with clear skies and temperatures in the low 50s and upper 40s.