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Primetime Performers: Jackson hurls 7 TDs as Alta stuns defending 5A champion Orem

Westlake and Alta compete in a high school football game on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 Alta High School in Sandy.

Westlake and Alta compete in a high school football game on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 Alta High School in Sandy. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SANDY — There are two types of teams Alta quarterback Ethan Jackson has led this year: ones with Maika Kaufusi and ones without him.

On Friday night, Jackson was happy to have the one with Kaufusi.

Jackson threw seven touchdown passes — three of them to Kaufusi — as the Hawks made a big statement in Region 8 with a 48-23 rout of four-time defending champion Orem.

The win marks the third loss of the year for Orem (4-3, 1-1 Region 8), the first time that's happened since 2019. The 25-point margin of defeat is the Tigers' worst since being shutout by Skyridge 36-0 on Sept. 3 and just the fourth time in two years that Orem has lost by more than a touchdown.

The scoring spree gave Jackson, who has interest from BYU, Dixie State and Harvard (among others), 30 passing touchdowns on the year and 59 in two seasons as the starting quarterback at Alta, which improved to 4-3 on the season and 1-1 in Region 8 play.

It also gave Kaufusi, who is committed to BYU, 10 receiving touchdowns on the year — despite missing the past five games with a collarbone injury.

Alta still needs a favor from Orem — or anyone else in the league — to contend for a region title by knocking off Timpview, which handed the Hawks a 62-21 loss a week ago and handed Highland a 62-22 nonregion loss Friday. But with a healthy roster, they seem more formidable in closing out the regular season against Lehi (5-2, 1-0) and Jordan (2-5, 0-2).

Here are four — well, five — other top performers from Week 7 of the 2021 Utah high school football season.

QB Ethan Jackson, Sr., Alta

Box score: Alta 48, Orem 23

QB Jackson Brousseau, Jr., Lehi

Box score: Lehi 53, Jordan 10

Speaking of the Pioneers, BYU target Jackson Brousseau threw five touchdown passes to help the Pioneers throttle Jordan in their Region 8 opener.

The junior quarterback connected with Jaxon Christensen twice as Lehi (5-2, 1-0) raced out to a 53-3 lead on Lance Olsen's 50-yard interception return for a touchdown to open the fourth quarter.

The Pioneers end the regular season with a brutal stretch of Alta, Timpview and Orem, including the last two on the road.

QB Maximus Fonoti-Maikui, Sr., Northridge

Box score: Northridge 46, Viewmont 27

Maximus Fonoti-Maikui threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as the Knights rolled past the Vikings for their fifth-straight victory.

The explosive performance gives the 6-foot-2 senior who has committed to Utah State 27 passing touchdowns on the year, in addition to nine on the ground.

With the win, Northridge improved to 6-1 on the season and put itself in the drivers' seat for a Region 5 title with a 3-0 record. The Knights' home game against Bountiful in two weeks will likely decide the region, though next week's opponent Bonneville lurks at 2-1 in region play.

RB/QB Tabaracci brothers, Sr./So., Park City

Box score: Park City 35, Olympus 14

Carson Tabaracci and younger brother Blake accounted for three touchdowns as the Miners used a 21-7 run through the second half to pull away from the Titans and set up a Region 6 title bout Friday against Brighton.

Carson Tabaracci, the No. 10-rated recruit in Utah by 247Sports who has offers from Notre Dame, Oregon State, USC, BYU and Utah (among others), scored on touchdown runs of 5 and 35 yards in the third and fourth quarters, and the sophomore Blake Tabaracci put the game away with a 65-yard run with 1:09 remaining.

Park City can secure at least a share of the region title with a win over the Bengals, though Brighton is coming off a 35-28 win over East that marked its fourth win in five games.

WR Clayton Anzalone, Jr., Enterprise

Box score: Enterprise 27, North Sevier 26

Anzalone caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Ramos — a 72 yarder with 21 seconds left — as the Wolves survived a wild finish to hand North Sevier their second loss of the season.

Nathan Snyder scored on a 13-yard run with 35 seconds to go to put North Sevier up 27-20. But Enterprise got the ball back and flew down field 14 seconds later to lift Enterprise to just its third win of the season.

Enterprise improved to 3-3, including 1-1 in the 1A South, while North Sevier dropped to 5-2 and sits at the bottom of the region with an 0-2 start following last week's loss to Milford.

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