SOUTH JORDAN — The Beehive Classic may have lost some of its luster when two of the out-of-state teams backed last week, but the third of the scheduled games promises plenty of intrigue.
Bingham, ranked fourth in 5A after a one-point loss to Alta last week, and Valor Christian, ranked fourth in Colorado polls after a loss to another ranked squad, have the talent and coaching to offer football fans an exciting matchup.
While most locals know how talented Bingham is with more than a half dozen players looking at college scholarships, Valor Christian is something of an unknown quantity.
The private school was started in 2007 with a stated vision to "prepare tomorrow's leaders to transform the world for Christ." That first year there were 160 students in grades nine and 10.
"The school opened five years ago, but didn't have enough kids to even have a varsity football program," said Tony Fa, of Intel Athletics who arranged the game. "In four years of playing varsity level football, they've won the state title three times. Their rise to prominence is huge. They have a great program but they're not well-liked."
Allegations of recruiting dogged the program, which has been ranked nationally and boasts some of the country's top recruits, until last year the state's other schools — including other private schools — voted not to allow Valor Christian to play in the state's leagues. The team can, however, qualify for the state tournament, but the players are not eligible for any league recognition. That means the team now competes as an independent program, which is part of the motivation to play a program like Bingham.
The team is coached by Brent Vieselmeyer, who has earned a stunning 43-9 record in four years (2008-2011), and he has some high profile assistants, including former NFL safety Brian Dawkins.
The team also boasts some players with impressive pedigrees.
Junior running back Christian McCaffrey is the son of former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey and senior quarterback Luke Del Rio is the son of Broncos' defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Regardless of the big names, Bingham head coach Dave Peck said his team is just excited for the chance to show what they can do — especially after a heartbreaking one-point loss to Alta.
"We're excited to play another team that's been nationally ranked, and just to see how we match up," said Peck. "I think it's a great opportunity for our kids and for the state."
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Bingham High, 10400 S. 2200 West. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $6 for students.