Dixie vs. Bear River, 4 p.m.
Dixie is looking for its seventh straight win as the Flyers (6-3) host the Bear River Bears (8-3) on Friday.
Such a win, should it happen, won’t be as simple as any of the last six might appear.
Flyers starting quarterback Jacob Barben is out for the season after having surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot.
Nate Mahi, a sophomore who’s featured more as a third wide receiver target, will start at quarterback for Dixie.
“I think Jacob’s the 3AA MVP, so that’s the piece you’re losing, and that’s never easy,” Dixie head coach Andy Stokes said. “Everybody’s stepping up, everybody’s working a little bit harder.”
The Bears have one of the best defenses in 3AA and the whole state.
They allow just 12.3 points per game, the run and pass defenses are solid, and the Bears’ pass rush has 26 sacks.
“On film, they look like probably the most disciplined team we’ve played. It’ll be a challenge,” Stokes added.
As always, the Flyers will rely on the steady running game of Ammon Ah Quin, and playmakers Hobbs Nyberg and Josh Topham on offense.
Dixie lost to Logan in last year’s final, but the Flyers are looking for their fifth straight semifinal appearance.
They’re 28-7 in home playoff games and have never beaten Bear River in four tries, according to high school football historian George Felt.
Radio and TV coverage for the game will be live look-ins on ESPN 97.7 FM and CEC TDS Channel 22.
Desert Hills vs. Ridgeline 4 p.m., ESPN 97.7 FM, CEC TDS Channel 22
If you are looking for smash-mouth football, there won’t be a better game to see than Friday’s 3AA playoff game between the second-seeded Thunder and the third-seeded RiverHawks.
Desert Hills (7-2) is looking to get back to the 3AA semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium after falling in the quarterfinals last year to Snow Canyon.
Ridgeline (8-3), a new school up in Cache County, isn’t built like a first-year school. The RiverHawks are on track for one of the best seasons by a first-year team as the program welcomed a number of talented players from surrounding high schools in Logan and Mountain Crest.
Both schools love to run the ball with the RiverHawks led by the trio of Cody Olsen (807 yards, 7 TDs), Levani Damuni (725 yards, 10 TDs), and Payton Thomas (447 yards, 8TDs). Thomas is also Ridgeline’s quarterback where he’s thrown for nearly 1,600 yards and to go with 13 TDs.
“They (Ridgeline) have some really good players that are strong and are really athletic,” said Desert Hills head coach Carl Franke. “They hang their hat on defense, and we are going to have to grind the game out and not turn the ball over if we want to win.”
Desert Hills will counter with its own rushing attack led by Nephi Sewell (691 yards, 8 TDs), Brock Parry (519 yards, 5 TDs) and Quinn Kiser (401 yards, 3 TDs). Kiser has also thrown for 1,345 yards and 11 TDs.
Sewell has been unstoppable since returning from an injury earlier this season on top of switching roles from playing slot receiver to running back. The senior is averaging 10.8 yards per carry.
Another key for the Thunder is wearing down the RiverHawks who have a number of two-way players. Damuni is one of them as the linebacker leads the team with nine sacks this year.
Pine View at Tooele, 4 p.m., KDXU 890 AM and 94.7 FM
The last time the Panthers played Tooele, Buffaloes head coach Kyle Brady was playing for Tooele.
It’s been 10 years since these two schools have matched up, but they lock horns again Friday with Pine View hoping to play party crasher on the road.
The challenge is monumental, as the Buffaloes exclusively run a Wing T rushing offense, said Pine View head coach Ray Hosner.
“If you don’t play disciplined, they’ll expose you and you’ll look stupid,” Hosner said. “They run it well and they have some good athletes, and so we have to do a good job of playing good gap control defense.”
As a team, Tooele has rushed for 3,927 yards, including 1,457 and 14 touchdowns from senior Lincoln Powers.
Pine View quarterback Ryan Javines has turned in a solid year, throwing for 1,770 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing 56.4 percent of his passes.
He’ll be hoping to find gaps in a Tooele defense that’s been solid against the pass, with 10 interceptions.
PV leads the all-time series 4-1, according to Felt.
Follow Spectrum sports reporters Patrick Carr and Justin Giles on Twitter @PatrickCarr_ and @JustinGiles22.