Tom Smart, Deseret News
The 122nd season of Utah prep football opens with a record 102 schools playing in 51 Endowment Week contests. Only Rich delays its start until Week 2. But for the first time since 2005, the state sees no new gridiron teams. At least one program had been added each of the past eight seasons reflecting burgeoning population growth in the state.
However, it may be a couple of years before any additional programs are added. The Cache County School District plans to build twin high schools in Millville, south of Logan, to open in 2016 and in North Logan to open in 2017.
This week’s 51 clashes mark the beginning of a record 581-game season — plus any intra-region playoffs. And those 51 games push the total number of Utah prep contests all-time to over 30,000.
It took 77 years to reach the 10,000-game milestone in 1969 and 26 more to get to the 20,000th game in 1994, the 102nd season.
Duchesne’s 47-game winning streak, the longest in Utah prep history by 11 games, currently ranks as fourth longest in the nation. Only Ithaca, Michigan, and Regina (Iowa City), Iowa, both with 56-game streaks and Bellevue, Washington, with 54, have longer current streaks.
Bingham has the next longest current winning streak in Utah, 14 games, followed by Timpview (12), Judge Memorial (11), Dixie (6) and South Summit (4). Two other squads, which won their last regular season game, but failed to advance to the playoffs, have one-game winning “streaks”: American Fork and Mountain Crest.
Of some two dozen games involving non-Utah schools this season, perhaps the most intriguing finds Bingham paying a visit to Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas on Sept. 5. The B.G. Gaels are ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today. But the Miners are no slouch as they’re ranked No. 23 in the same poll.
The following week, Alta heads to Bellevue in the Seattle area to try to shatter what could be then a 55-game winning streak. In addition, East travels to Valor Christian, Colorado’s top-ranked squad (Sept. 5) and Jordan invades Cherry Creek, Colorado’s, second-ranked team (Sept. 13).
Endowment week’s rivalry games
Several long-running series pepper the schedule this week.
Milford and Parowan battle for the 82nd time in the state’s 14th most-played rivalry; Milford enjoys a 42-36-3 series edge . Logan and Bear River skirmish for the 81st time, although they last met in 2011. Logan leads the series 49-28-3 going back to 1925 . South Summit and Park City have faced off 72 times since 1913 with S.S. holding a 37-33-2 series margin.
Provo and Payson also first fought in 1913. Provo leads 41-22-5 heading into this 69th matchup . Tooele leads its series with Cyprus, 35-30-3, as they also meet for the 69th time . San Juan and Monticello renew their rivalry for the 66th time, with S.J. doubling up the Buckaroos 42-21-2.
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 13th straight year, going back to 2002. The series is knotted at 7-7. 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.
A few long-distance opponents seem to be developing Endowment Game traditions.
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