Orem, UT – Mountain View and Orem will renew their crosstown rivalry at 7:00p.m. on Friday, August 14, 2020 in the Bruin Bowl at Mountain View High School. 2019 marked the first year since the opening of Mountain View High School in 1980 that the Bruins and Tigers did not face off on the gridiron. Orem leads the all time series 30-8, winning the last 3 matchups by a total score of 167-0. Led by former Orem head coach, Tyler Anderson, Mountain View will be looking for its first win in the series since 2015 and its ninth victory overall.
MOUNTAIN VIEW BRUINS OUTLOOK
In 2019, Mountain View had its best start since 1999, and one of its best seasons overall, winning each of its first 6 games before ending the season losing to the eventual 4A Champions, Sky View. However, with the loss of 3-year starter Duce Anderson to graduation, Mountain View will need to find a qualified starting QB before expecting to win any more playoff games in 2020.
Senior Kaden Kunz is expected to step into that role and get the start against Orem after competing this offseason with capable sophomores Micah Madry and Jackson McCarty. Kunz’s solo career pass attempt came last season at Uintah when he tossed a 78-yard touchdown to Bruin wideout David Hair. Though Kunz has limited experience passing the ball for Mountain View, he ran for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2019 as Anderson’s backup.
Senior RB McKay Strauss is undoubtedly the Bruins’ most proven offensive weapon entering the 2020 season. In 2019, Strauss rushed for 1265 yards and 2 touchdowns on 176 carries. Expect Strauss to get plenty of carries against Orem while Kunz navigates his first ever Varsity start as the signal caller.
While the Bruins do lose their top pass catcher from 2019, Ben Mella, Senior wideouts David Hair, Colton Burr, Max Blackwell, and Matthias Perez all return in 2020 and should be among the top targets for the Bruins’ new QB.
The strength of the 2020 Mountain View team, however, appears to be the defense. Despite the loss of Deseret News First team all-stater, Elwood Afalava, the Bruins return a lot of Senior leadership and experience on the defensive side. On the defensive line, Mountain View returns two 2019 All-Region 1st teamers, Seniors Junior Teaupa and Chris Esparza, who combined for 189 total tackles last year. The linebacking corps will be led by Senior Liam Hone who racked up 72 total tackles and 3 picks in 2019.
Besides the quarterback position, the biggest question mark on this Bruins team right now seems to be the defensive backs. The Bruins lost a lot of experience in the secondary from last year’s team and will rely on Senior Aaron Hyatt for leadership. Hyatt is the only starter that will return to play in the secondary in 2020. The Bruins will hope that less experienced players can step up and avoid giving up big plays in the passing game against Orem.
Notable players expected to miss Friday’s game v. Orem include WR Jett Anderson, TE/DE Eli Stafford and LB Radi Stafford.
OREM TIGERS OUTLOOK
Orem enters 2020 as the defending 5A state champs after its first season competing in 5A. The Tigers were seeded 12th in the 5A playoffs but proceeded to win 4 games in a row before beating Timpview 21-7 in the 5A Championship game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The past handful of seasons, Orem has boasted some of the top talent in the state. Senior offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia is currently rated as the top player in Utah. If he ends the year at No. 1, he would become the third straight player from Orem to do so, joining Noah Sewell (2020) and Puka Nacua (2019). Suamataia currently has Utah, Oregon, USC, Arkansas, Virginia, BYU and Utah State in his top 7 and is expected to decide on a school in the coming weeks.
In addition to Suamataia, Orem returns 3 other offensive linemen in 2020. Orem also will return its starting QB, Senior Micah Fe’a who threw for 1451 yards and 13 touchdowns during the Tigers’ championship season. After Orem’s expected starting RB went down with an injury this offseason, the Tigers will need to find someone who can consistently carry the rock against a stout Mountain View front seven in order to free up the passing game for Fe’a.
On the defensive side, Orem will be led by Senior linebackers Paxton Skipps and Jayden Ah You with Senior Tauhi Tupola leading the defensive line. It is expected that Orem will once again be one the top teams in the state and will look to compete for a second consecutive 5A title and fourth consecutive title overall (Orem won the 2017 & 2018 4A Championships). The Tigers will enter the 2020 season ranked #6 in the State by Deseret News and #4 in the state by Deseret News Rewind.
Clearly, Orem will be a heavy favorite in this rivalry game against unranked Mountain View. The biggest question is whether or not the Bruins can be competitive and still be in the game in the fourth quarter. As previously mentioned, Mountain View hasn’t even scored in the past three editions of this matchup. Senior Kaden Kunz will need to play extremely well if the Bruins want any chance at hanging around with the Tigers. Orem also has some things they need to figure out before looking past Mountain View. On the offensive side, the Tigers are still not sure who their go-to receivers will be and who will be their feature back. This rivalry matchup is likely to be lower scoring than in years past as the defense seems to be the stronger side of the ball for both teams. However, if offensive pieces like McKay Strauss and David Hair can help out first-time starter Kunz, the Bruins my be able to give the defending champions more than anyone is currently expecting.
To attend Friday’s game, fans need to reserve tickets by going to MountainViewBruins.org. In an effort to lessen physical contact during the exchange of currency and cards, tickets will not be sold at the gate. Fans need to be sure to have their tickets on hand either on a mobile device or printed. Each ticket has a per ticket fee and an electronic processing fee. As usual, student tickets will be free but will still need to be reserved online. Face masks will be required to attend the game in person. Like all Alpine School District games in 2020, this game will be livestreamed on the subscription-based platform NFHS Network.