It's a whole new ballgame this season with 21 schools changing classifications. Lehi is the only school jumping up in the ranks, making the switch from 4A to 5A. Several schools such as Pine View, Spanish Fork, Manti and Richfield are expected to contend for state championships in their new stomping grounds.
S IS FOR SOUTHERN
Football is a southern expertise — look at the SEC. It's no different within our own state. Any visiting team making the long trek to play in the blistering dry heat better be ready to bring it against Deseret Hills, Hurricane and Pine View all of whom are legitimate contenders in 3A.
T IS FOR TITLES
Bingham, Highland, Juan Diego, San Juan and Duchesne are looking to defend titles this season. Bingham and San Juan have won the last two championships in their classifications where as Juan Diego is in the midst of a three peat in 3A. Four of the five are considered favorites to repeat this season with the lone anomaly being Timpview in 4A.
U IS FOR UNDER THE RADAR
No other team is receiving less credit than East. After an 8-3 record last year and a second place finish in Region 6 – the Leopards are predicted to finish third this season despite returning 18 starters and games against region foes Highland, Bountiful and Woods Cross at home.
V IS FOR VENERABLE
There are many long sustaining coaches that have commanded respect for years because of unending wisdom on the football field. Skyline's Roger Dupaix is entering his 35th consecutive year as a head coach this season, having amassed 294 wins. Seven other coaches have surveyed the sideline for 20-plus years: Larry Wall (Bountiful), Todd Peacock (Cedar), Jim Jones (Emery), John Colosimo (Juan Diego), Blaine Monkres (Dixie), Mark Wootton (Mountain Crest) and Monte Morgan (Salem Hills). The eight men have combined for 198 years of coaching experience and 1,339 wins.
W IS FOR WILL POWER
Football isn't easy. It not only teaches young men to persevere and dig deep within themselves while running Lombardi Sprints or doing countless up-downs in triple digit weather during two-a-day practices. It teaches them life lessons that can be used long into the future such as a hard work ethic, camaraderie between peers and most importantly will power.
X IS FOR XENODOCHIAL
For what? No it isn't some bizarre Harry Potter spell or some irrational fear. It means to be hospitable and kind to strangers — and if visiting teams think that host schools will show them any xenodochial they have another thing coming.
Y IS FOR YELLOW
The blue and yellow San Juan Broncos are the real deal. The 2A school in Blanding has reeled off 20 straight victories and 33 of its last 35 games have ended in a W. It easily won the last two state championships after giving up 3.3 ppg last season. This could be the three-peat year in the making.
AND Z IS FOR ZIP AND ZADA
That's the amount of days left until high school football officially kicks off. The wait is finally over so grab your popcorn, an ice-cold beverage and plop a seat in the nearest football stadium as 49 games are scheduled to get underway at 7 tonight.