Felt’s Facts – 2015 Week 1
The 123rd season of Utah prep football welcomes the Wayne Badgers to the varsity ranks. Wayne, which opened in 1915, played a JV schedule last year, compiling a 1-8 record. The Badgers have been a traditional Class 1A fall-baseball power, winning five state championships in nine seasons, from 2002-2010. Even though Wayne has about 160 total students, it’s the only school to field both football and fall baseball teams. The gridiron squad’s equipment, including lights and scoreboard, was funded through community efforts and support.
Wayne becomes the 104th current football-playing school and 132nd overall.
Prep football will continue to add programs the next few years as Skyridge (Falcons) in Lehi and Ridgeline (RiverHawks) in Millville, Cache County open in 2016 and a yet-to-be-named school in North Logan opens in 2017.
At least two more high schools are in the early planning stages in Farmington (scheduled to open in 2018) and Washington City, Washington County (2019 or 2020). The Farmington location is about 400 West Glovers Lane, just west of I-15, a couple of miles south of Lagoon.
Turf vs. Grass
A survey of Utah’s football-playing high schools reveals that 57 play on grass while 47 use artificial turf. Six programs converted to turf this year: East, Highland and West in the Salt Lake District and Cyprus, Kearns and Skyline in the Granite District. At least two more, Ogden and Ben Lomond, are slated to switch in 2016.
All but one of the fake fields are located in Utah’s most populated areas: along the Wasatch Front, Cache County (all three schools there), the St. George area (six schools, including Diamond Ranch) and the Wasatch Back (South Summit, Park City and Wasatch). In the Salt Lake Valley, 21 of 25 fields are turf. There, only Copper Hills, Riverton and West Jordan in the Jordan District and charter school Summit Academy play on grass this season. In Utah County, half of the 16 football-playing schools use turf.
Uintah is the only “rural” school that has installed turf.
Rivalries Lost… and Gained
The latest realignment reunited some long-lost rivals, but severed a couple of long-running, uninterrupted series. Bonneville and Roy won’t clash for the first time since Roy opened in 1965, ending their streak at 51 games. Alta and Brighton don’t battle for the first time since Alta opened in 1978, breaking their streak at 38 contests.
Other long-time rivalries which won’t be renewed this season, but which have been interrupted in the past, include: Provo-Springville (74-game series), Cyprus-Tooele (69), Logan-Ogden (69), Provo-Spanish Fork (69), Beaver-Parowan (68), Monticello-San Juan (66), American Fork-Orem (57), Lehi-Spanish Fork (56) and Davis-Weber (50).
On the other hand, Murray and Tooele spar for the first time since 1996. A dozen other long-running series (min. 40 games) revived this year include Ben Lomond-Logan (last met in 2008), Kanab-Milford (2008), Lehi-Springville (2009), Davis-Clearfield (2010), Highland-Olympus (2010), Orem-Spanish Fork (2010), Payson-Springville (2010), Bear River-Logan (2011), Grand-Monticello (2011), Cyprus-Granger (2012), Kanab-Parowan (2012) and Orem-Provo (2012).
Realignment usually creates opportunities for lots of first-time meetings and also for long-time rivals, now in different regions or classifications, to meet during Week 1. This realignment is no exception.
First-time Meetings (11)
Wayne opens its varsity history at Gunnison. Other first-time meetings include Carbon at Manti, Corner Canyon at Pleasant Grove, Cyprus at Alta, East at Syracuse and Jordan at Desert Hills. Also, Juan Diego at West Jordan, Richfield at Ben Lomond, Sky View at Riverton, Timpanogos at Kearns and Westlake at Bingham.
Of those, perhaps the Carbon-Manti matchup is most surprising since the two central Utah schools, located about 112 miles apart, have been playing football since 1912 and 1969, respectively. In addition, both have taken on Carbon’s near-neighbor, Emery County, two dozen times.
Incidentally, the Gunnison-Wayne and Alta-Cyprus games are the only Week 1 contests matching up first-year coaches.
Endowment Week’s Rivalry Games (min. 40 games)
Box Elder and Logan renew the state’s second most-played series, and longest currently played series, as they meet for the 97th time since 1919. The Bees have nearly a 2-1 winning ratio, leading 61-32-3…. At the other end of the state, Grand and Monticello grapple for the 61st time, and first since 2010, with the Red Devils holding a commanding 43-13-4 series edge.
Tooele and Grantsville tangle for the 56th time; Tooele dominates 40-12-3. These teams first met on Halloween day 1915. Grantsville claimed a 16-12 victory in a game featuring “considerable fumbling and wrangling,” according to newspaper accounts of the time.
Davis and Clearfield skirmish for the 50th time in 55 seasons, but first time since 2010. Davis leads the series 26-22-1… Millard owns a 36-8 series margin over Juab as they meet for the 45th time…. Parowan has defeated North Sevier four straight times, but the Wolves still lead the series, 29-12, as they battle for the 42nd time…. Layton and Weber play for the 40th time in an uninterrupted series that began in 1977. The Lancers lead it, 25-14.
Endowment Week Regulars
Bountiful and Lone Peak might as well be in the same region even though they’ve been in different classifications since 2005: they scuffle in the season-opener for the 14th straight year, going back to 2002. LP has a 7-6 edge in Endowment-game meetings, but Bountiful leads the overall series, 8-7. No pair has met more times to open the season since Endowment Games began in 2000, and those two didn’t play anyone the first week in 2000 or 2001.
Two long-distance opponents have developed Endowment Game traditions. Dixie confronts Springville in their 10th straight season-opener (since 2006); the Red Devils maintain a 16-10 series edge going back to 1975. Hurricane and Skyline face off in their season-opener for the seventh straight year with the series tied 3-3.
Long Time No See
Seven games pit teams that haven’t seen each other since at least 2008: Provo at Cedar (last met in 1992, seventh meeting), Granger at Copper Hills (2000, seventh), Fremont at Bonneville (2006, 11th), American Leadership at Altamont (2007, third), Hunter at American Fork (2007, sixth), Uintah at Orem (2007, 11th) and Delta at Salem Hills (2008, second – Delta won the first encounter 55-0 in SH’s first season).
Davis, North Sanpete and Tooele all celebrate their centennial of football this year. American Fork, Cyprus, Millard, North Summit and Weber compete in their 90th seasons. Bountiful and San Juan field teams for the 60th time, while Kearns enjoys its 50th year. Timpanogos takes the field for the 20th time and American Leadership for its 10th season.
In the coaching ranks, Larry Wall begins his 31st season at Bountiful, where he’s been since 1985. Only Earl Ferguson (39 years at Box Elder, 1921-59), Roger DuPaix (35 years at Highland, 1977-1985, and Skyline, 1986-2011) coached more seasons.
Wall is second all-time in the number of games coached, 342, but 71 behind DuPaix. Wall ranks third in victories with 231 and needs just six more to catch Bonneville’s Thom Budge (Bonneville, 1975-2005), but 70 to reach DuPaix’s record of 301.
Mountain Crest’s Mark Wootton embarks on his 25th campaign in stints at North Sanpete and MC. Hunter’s Scott Henderson begins his 20th year as head mentor including previous stops at Parowan, Granite and Taylorsville. Ray Hosner starts his 15th season at Pine View.
Five coaches commence their 10th seasons: Highland’s Brody Benson, Brighton’s Ryan Bullett, Lehi’s Ed Larson (including stints at Provo, Ogden and Timpanogos), Park City’s Mike Shepherd and Olympus’ Aaron Whitehead (with a previous stop at East).
South Sevier, visiting Kanab, goes for win #200. Judge Memorial plays its 800th game, Sky View, its 500th, Mountain View, its 350th and Copper Hills, game #200.
Among coaches, Brody Benson aims for his 75th victory at Highland, Jim Batchelor, his 50th at Layton and Justin Spencer, his 50th in stints at West and now, Woods Cross.
Timpview defends its 4A title and 26-game winning streak, the fifth longest in state history, opening the season at West. Judge Memorial has won 11 straight, South Summit, 10, Dixie, eight and Rich, six. Four other teams, American Leadership, Emery County, Northridge and Viewmont, won their last regular season game, but failed to advance to the playoffs and so have one-game winning “streaks.”
It’s not a winning streak, but East has scored in 56 straight games, one short of tying the school record set from 1951-57. East hasn’t been shut out since 2010. Thirteen others start the season with school-record scoring-game streaks (by longevity):
Bingham (133 games since 2004)
Jordan (123 since 2004)
Juan Diego (119 since 2005)
Timpview (115 since 2006)
Spanish Fork (114 since 2005)
Sky View (110 since 2005)
Lone Peak (97 since 2007)
Duchesne (58 since 2009)
Syracuse (51 since 2010)
Herriman (48 since 2010)
Maple Mountain (44 since 2010)
Desert Hills (37 since 2011)
Salem Hills (26 since 2012)
South Summit is three games shy of its school record 32 straight scoring games (1977-79). The Wildcats haven’t been blanked since 2012.
Diamond Ranch, Hurricane and Roy all have two byes this season… Corner Canyon doesn’t have a home game until Sept. 25 (Week Six) and has just three home contests… Layton Christian also has just three home games and travels five straight weeks (Weeks 5-9) between home contests on Sept. 11 and Oct. 23. American Leadership, too, plays just three games at home… Millard has five of its first six games at home and travels just three times… On the other hand, South Sevier travels five of the first six weeks… Schedulers were kind to first-year Wayne, giving the Badgers six home contests and just three away.
The National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee made six, mostly minor, rule changes this season. In a continuing effort to reduce risk, the unnecessary roughness definition now includes contact with a defenseless player. This might be a defensive player away from the ball who is blindsided by a blocker on the offensive team during a play. Another change clarifies spearing as “an act by any player who initiates contact against an opponent at the shoulders or below with the crown (top portion) of his/her helmet.”
A complete list of changes can be found here.
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