Kudos to the Utah High School Activities Assn. Executive Committee and staff for their thorough research, careful consideration and, in my opinion, correct decision regarding the unfinished East-Jordan game – that it is up to the schools to decide whether to count the game (and stats) where it stands, or play the final quarter and 41 seconds, or treat it as a scrimmage and not count it at all.
Meanwhile, after four weeks, 18 teams remain undefeated while another 18 have yet to win.
Three games pair unbeaten teams, and they should all be good ones: Alta at Jordan and East at Woods Cross in blockbuster region openers and Juan Diego at Granger in a non-region contest. Delta at Taylorsville pits winless squads.
Fast Starts with New Coaches
No first time head coaches are undefeated after four weeks, but two that moved to different schools and one that returned to his former locale are.
Granger's Cecil Thomas was 31-7 at Cottonwood from 2007-09. The Lancers started 4-0 last year, but with a win over Juan Diego, will see 5-0 for the first time since 1989 when they began the season with a 7-0 record.
Woods Cross' Justin Spencer went 18-16 at West from 2009-11, but after winning just four games last year, the Wildcats have matched their best-ever, 4-0 starts of 1978 and '88.
Jerry Cowan returned to Duchesne, where he coached the Eagles to a 40-17 mark from 2003-07. Duchesne, which hasn't lost in over two years, has the fifth longest winning streak in state history – 25 – and can tie Bingham for fourth with a win. (Timpview holds the record at 36.)
Seven other first-year coaches have lost just once. That includes four first-time coaches, Kirk Chambers at Spanish Fork, Scott Gorringe at Summit Academy, Cary Whittingham at Timpview and Malin Williams at Enterprise.
More Top 4-0 Starts
Like Woods Cross, Timpanogos also won only four games in 2011. But the Timberwolves – who were 0-4 this time last season – have also matched their best-ever start (2010) and tied a school-record winning streak of four games. Timpanogos, with Ed Larson in his third season, hosts winless Springville this week.
Syracuse has also equaled its best-ever start, achieved both of the past two seasons, but this week visits Davis, which leads the series 4-1.
Alta is 4-0 for the first time since 2008, and with a victory over Jordan will be 5-0 for the first time since starting 11-0 in '03. Alta has claimed six straight from the Beetdiggers, including 21-14 last year, to take an 18-8 series lead. Jordan last defeated Alta in 2005.
If Brighton gets by Pleasant Grove, the Bengals will be 5-0 for the first time since winning their first 12 games in 2004. Brighton defeated PG last year 27-3 to narrow the Viking lead to 5-2. Of course, PG's first-year head coach Les Hamilton is familiar with the Bengals from his days at Alta and has a 4-1 record against Brighton mentor Ryan Bullett.
Dixie has to upset Hurricane to see 5-0 for the first time since the '05 season.
A couple of teams under new management have shown the most improvement – record wise anyway – this season. Union, 0-10 last season, broke an 11-game losing skein, and is 3-1 with Matt Labrum, who was just 17-35 at Parowan from 2007-11. With a winnable home game against Payson, the Cougars could have their most victories since the 2008 season.
Cyprus is also 3-1 after going 0-9 last year. The Pirates ended a 10-game losing streak under new coach Scott Wooldridge, who previously coached at Nampa (Idaho) High (36-24 from 2006-11).
Snow Canyon (2-7 in 2011) and South Sevier (1-8 in '11) are both 3-1 and have already surpassed their 2011 season victories. In addition to Timpanogos and Woods Cross, four other schools have matched last year's win total: Clearfield (2), Grand (2), Pleasant Grove (3) and Roy (4).
One First-time Matchup
Most regions are in full swing this week with only Regions 2, 4 and 10 not starting until Week 6. Still, there are 19 non-region games and 17 repeat from last year, but, of course, at the opposite field.
One of the two non-repeaters, Summit Academy at Whitehorse, is a first-time pairing. The other, Altamont at Carbon, matches teams that met in 2007 (Dinos won) and '08 (Longhorns prevailed).
Most-played Rivalries (min. 50 games)
Ogden and Bear River first met 91 seasons ago and have clashed 63 times since. The Tigers have won three straight in 2007, '08 and '11 to go up 36-26-1 in the series.
Dixie and Hurricane first battled 64 seasons ago, but have played 60 times. Dixie leads the series 42-17-1 although the Tigers have won three in a row.
Other game notes
Bingham has a 19-13 edge over Cottonwood and has a 12-game winning streak in this occasionally-played series…. Tooele meets Stansbury in the fourth annual Boot Game; the Buffaloes have a 2-1 lead.
Kanab has dropped three straight to Enterprise, but still holds a 9-5 series margin…. Manti holds a thin 11-10 series lead over North Summit.
Brighton is gunning for its 300th win when the Bengals host Pleasant Grove.
Delta and Millard each play their 800th game, while Juan Diego plays its 150th, all under coach John Colosimo.
Now in his 15th season, Ryan Bishop is going for his 100th overall coaching victory. … Aaron Whitehead is coaching his 50th game overall in seven seasons at East and Olympus.
Some School-record-setting Performances
Clearfield scored 21 points in just 1:18 last week. That feat ranks seventh for the most points scored in a brief period of time.
Jordan has now scored in a school record-tying 88 straight games, while Juan Diego set a school record by also scoring in 88 consecutive contests.
Millard's Jesse Rhodes has rushed for at least 100 yards in 18 games over his four-year career, a school record and tied for the 10th most all-time.
A Brief History of Time-shortened Games
The interrupted game between East and Jordan in Week 3 called attention to previous contests that have been cut short for various reasons. All nine were considered complete games and the results included in both teams' records. Here's a chronological list.
1) Oct. 21, 1943 – Granite 13, Grantsville 0 – The game was cancelled at halftime after heavy rain turned Granite's field into a quagmire.
2 & 3) Two games were halted at halftime the same night, Sept. 21, 1945 – Granite 7, Provo 7 because of pouring rain and Jordan 14, Grand Junction (Colo.) 0 because the "weather played havoc" with the lights at Jordan, according to newspaper accounts. The games were season openers.
4) Aug. 30, 1974 – North Sanpete 8, Dugway 0 – Another season opener ended at halftime when the power failed at North Sanpete. (Or someone just turned off the lights.)
5) Sept. 14, 1984 – American Fork 30, West 30 – After three overtimes, officials called the game, which started in the late afternoon, because of darkness. Both teams were unhappy with the outcome, but made no plans to continue since it was a non-league contest.
6) Oct. 23, 1992 – Mountain Crest 23, Bear River 0 – In the third quarter, a head injury to a Bear River player delayed the game 20 minutes. Later, with 2:36 left in the third, a compound leg fracture to a MC gridder delayed the contest another 35 minutes, at which point both coaches decided to end the game.
7) Aug. 17, 2007 – Jordan 27, Northridge 26 – The Beetdiggers had earlier blocked a game-tying extra point and with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, a lightning storm caused an hour and a half delay, and the game was terminated.
8) Aug. 19, 2011 – Brighton 0, Davis 0 – The game stopped at halftime when the lights on Brighton's field malfunctioned.
9) Aug. 31, 2012 – Duchesne 33, West Wendover (Nev.) 0 – A lightning-caused delay halted the game at halftime.
Golden Years – Installment 5
This week: Altamont, Bear River, Copper Hills, Kanab, Mountain Crest, Murray, North Emery, North Sanpete, Skyline, Tooele, Uintah, Viewmont and Whitehorse.
(For new readers: During the regular season, Felt's Facts is identifying the golden era in football for almost every high school, excluding a few that are too new, or were too short-lived, to have developed much history. Around a dozen active schools are randomly selected each week, with one or two discontinued programs thrown in for good measure.)
Altamont – 1992-1994 – Robert Marshall engineered three winning seasons and a 22-9 record. He guided the Longhorns to their only championship-game appearance, in '93, and to the semifinals in '92 and '94. Blake Bingham was all-state MVP in '93 and two-time all-state player in '92 and '93. Donald Miles and Brandon Patterson were also two-time all-staters, in 1993 and '94.
Bear River – 2003-2004 – The Bears snared their first two state championships and reeled off a school-record 23 straight wins en route to a 25-1 record. Under Chris Wise, the Bears also captured a pair of region titles and shut out nine of their 26 opponents. Jason Zundel is one of just nine players to be honored as back-to-back all-state MVPs.
Copper Hills – 2007-2008 – The Grizzlies haven't enjoyed much winning tradition, but Art Erickson led CH to a couple of its best seasons in his final two years when the Grizzlies won eight contests.
Kanab – 1980-1989 – Over 10 seasons, the Cowboys lassoed four state championships ('82, '85-87), eight region titles (missing only in '80 and '87) and compiled a 92-19 record. Appearing in the championship annually from 1981-88, Kanab amassed a 23-6 playoff record. Renowned coach Aryln Hafen posted 37 shutouts in 111 – one third – of Kanab's games and held opponents to single digits in another 39. Eric Brown ('82), Klint Glover ('86), Mickey Houston ('87), Ricky Lamb ('86), Darin Ott ('85) and Nolan Reidhead ('87) garnered all-state MVP awards during the decade.
Mountain Crest – 1998-2002 – The Mustangs rode the arm of Ryan Zimmerman to the 2001 state championship in coach Art Erickson's first season. Coupled with Dan Cox's last three seasons (1998-2000), MC snagged three region crowns and rolled to a 43-15 record over five years. Zimmerman, the 2001 and '02 all-state MVP, set state career offense and passing yard records, which were later broken by another Mustang, Alex Kuresa (2007-10).
Murray – 1953-1955 – During Allen Davis' final three years, the Spartans won their first state championship in 1954, claimed region crowns in 1954 and '55 and raced to a 27-4 record. Two-time all-state quarterback Wayne Startin ('53-54) joined all-state halfback Lamar "Pete" Haun ('54) on the 11-0 state title squad – the only undefeated team and only double-digit winner in Murray's history.
North Emery – 1933 – The 3-0 season marked the Rangers' only winning season in nine years of football, from 1925-33.
North Sanpete – 1998-2004 – Mark Wootton's last six seasons and Blake Turner's only year saw the Hawks claim five region championships and post a 54-24 mark. NS enjoyed a school-record seven consecutive winning seasons and the school's only double-digit win seasons ('01 and '02). In postseason play, the Hawks advanced past the first round four times and to the state semifinals twice. Kevin Jacobsen ('01-02), Tyler Lee ('01-02) and Brett Madsen ('02-03) were two-time all-state players.
Skyline – 1989-2005 – The Eagles dominated large-school football for 17 seasons, reaping eight state championships, including a state-record five straight from 1995-99, and winning 84% of their games with a 183-35 record. In addition, Skyline played in a state-record nine consecutive championship games (1995-2003), won a state-record 23 straight playoff games and over the 17 years, compiled a 52-9 postseason record. Under the direction of legendary coach Roger DuPaix, the Eagles won 11 region titles and posted 13 double-digit win seasons, including a state-record 10 straight. Many long-time prep observers regard the 1999 Eagles as arguably the best team in Utah prep history. Skyline all-state MVPs were Jason Anderson ('96), Joey DuPaix ('90), Josh Lyman ('97), Bo Nagahi ('99), Steve Tate ('00), Brandon Van Leeuwen ('99).
Tooele – 1926-1933 – Then known as the Smelterites, Tooele won three of its four state championships and seven consecutive region titles (1927-33) under Sterling Harris. The 1928 title team outscored opponents 307-19 in six regular season games, averaging more than 51 points per game. It outpointed its three postseason foes 171-7, scoring a state-record playoff average of 57 points. Tooele posted a 59-11 record including a 15-5 mark in the playoffs. All-state championship-team players include Sam Allsworth ('28), George Melinkovitch ('29), Joe Jette ('33) and Joe "Rose" Rinaldi ('29), while James Orme ('31-32) was a two-time all-stater.
Uintah – 1957-1959 – The Utes endured just one loss each season during Leo Conk's last two years and Louis Mele's first in posting a 21-3 record. Uintah won two region titles with undefeated regular seasons in '58 and '59 and advanced to the state championship game for the first time in 1959. Jim Baxendale ('57), Hal Hatch ('57), George Lee ('59) and Jerry Murray ('58) gained all-state recognition.
Viewmont – 1971-1974 – The Vikings won their only state championship in 1971, and followed up with three region crowns in a row en route to a 35-12 record under Steve Dangerfield. Phil Jensen was named all-state MVP in '71 as the 12-2 Vikings enjoyed their only double-digit win campaign.
Whitehorse – 1988-1989 – The Raiders captured consecutive Navajo Nations Football League (Small School Div.) championships with a 17-6 record in Eldon Randall's first two seasons. Leland Begay, Alvin Ben and Myles Johnson were first-team all-state players in 1989.
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