High school football: A fan's guide from A to Z as 102 teams begin a quest for gridiron glory

Published: Thursday, Aug. 16 2012 9:46 p.m. MDT

It's imperative to execute and maintain composure in the fourth quarter. Throughout the season many teams will either grasp wins out of the jaws of defeat or let them loosely slip from their fingers.

G IS FOR GRID PICKS

The Deseret News Grid Picks contest gets underway Friday night with many prices. The 10 weekly winners throughout the 2012 season will be awarded $50 Amazon gift cards, while the top three overall finishers will garner cards of $150, $100 and $50. Hurry, quick — you have until 7 p.m. (MDT) to submit your selections.

H IS FOR HYPE

It isn't uncommon for programs to toot their own horns, and self-promotion isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, for Woods Cross, the hype happens to be accumulating from all directions — opposing coaches and players, aunts, uncles — and they're all saying the same thing. This year's Wildcats have been labeled the most talented class to ever walk the halls. Behind several FBS prospects, Woods Cross is expected to contend for its first state championship in school history.

I IS FOR INGENUITY

Every so often teams will run a play that'll make you want to shout, "Holy, Hannah Montana." It could be a daring fourth-down conversion or an out-of-the-blue triple-reverse. For whatever reason it may be, it'll reassure you why high school football is truly, unequivocally amazing.

J IS FOR JUMBO

Even Andre the Giant would be jaw-droppingly impressed by East High's colossal size advantage. Every player on the Leopards' roster is an expensive grocery bill waiting in limbo. Oh, and these boulder-like-players happen to be athletic and quicker than goose bumps, too.

K IS FOR KOOL-AID

Cherry, Lemon-Lime, Triple Awesome Grape, Mandarina-Tangerine, Great Blue-dini, Mountainberry Punch, Slammin' Strawberry-Kiwi and Artic Green Apple. It doesn't matter which flavor of Kool-Aid teams are drinking right now. Come late October only 64 teams will qualify for postseason play.

L IS FOR LIVE STREAMING

Each Friday night select high school football games will be shown live via streaming video on deseretnews.com. For those who take their Friday Night Lights seriously, it's the next best thing to being there.

M IS FOR MONUMENTAL

The five state champions last year — Lone Peak, Logan, Hurricane, Manti and Duchesne — were historically monumental, combining for an overall record of 64-1. It's hard to imagine that type of success being duplicated this year. Here are the top threats in each classification to dethrone the champs: Bingham, East, Juan Diego, San Juan and Monticello.

N IS FOR NIRVANA

It's hard to imagine a more picturesque setting than Friday nights plumped into high school football stadiums watching prep athletes wage battle. The smell of freshly popped kettle corn, the school bands boastfully playing fight songs and the student sections bickering back and forth with creative chants while sporting school colors. It brings entire communities together for one joyous night. Can you smell the hot dogs already? Only a few more hours …

O IS FOR OCCASION

When is it appropriate to gamble on fourth down? According to a recent study, every time. This all stems from an Arkansas high school that has enjoyed utmost success implying the method. In fact, San Diego State coach Rocky Long has announced he's considering implementing it into his chain of thinking. Statistically, the odds are in favor of going for it no matter the yardage or location. Fourth-and-1? Let's go. Fourth-and-30? Come on coach, we can get it. So, really, what occasion calls for a punter? Who knows these days?

P IS FOR PREP FOOTBALL CLASSIC

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