Welcome to the nitty gritty -- Week 9 of the 1990 prep football season - the start of the first-round playoffs for the 2A teams and the end of the regular-season road for the rest of the state.
Going into Thursday's regular-season finales, some 44 4A and 3A teams either have clinched one of the 32 total berths in the upcoming 4A and 3A state playoffs or still have hopes of claiming a postseason spot.And 12 2A teams now advance to the 2A state playoffs, with the top four teams earning first-round byes.
However, some of the biggest matchups this week may be found in the 10-team 1A classifications, where the top six ranked teams all pair up, with three league titles on the line.
In Region 11, top-ranked North Summit - the team that hasn't lost to a 1A foe this year but hasn't beaten four 2A opponents, either - visits No. 4 Rich in a Wednesday afternoon contest. The winner of the game also receives the region championship and the league's top berth to next week's 1A playoffs; the loser goes in as the second seed.
In Region 12, No. 2 Milford hosts No. 5 Parowan - another victory by the Tigers means that Milford wins the league title outright. In a previous arrangement, Milford will be the No. 1 seed from Region 12 in the playoffs, with Parowan taking the second spot.
And in Region 13, No. 3 Duchesne meets No. 3 Monticello, with both teams coming in with identical 3-0 league marks in the five-team region. The winner is the titlist and the top seed; the loser is second in the league's seeding and standings.
2A TOURNAMENT TIMES: Region 9 officials finally worked out the three-way tie for its Nos. 3, 4 and 5 seeds between Grand, South Summit and Grantsville - and the aforementioned order is how they have been seeded. So school administrators were then scrambling to set up times for this week's games. Here's how the pairings work.
Delta at South Summit, 3 p.m. Thursday: After an 0-3 start, the Rabbits won four of their last five regular-season games to finish at 4-4 overall and 4-3 in the region - Delta never scored fewer than 20 points during that time, including highs of 44, 38 and 34.
South Summit showed some signs of a split personality at times - logging three shutout victories in region play while scoring 0 and 7 points in two losses. The Wildcats finished with a 5-3 overall mark and 3-3 region record while playing .500 ball over the past four weeks.
Manti at Millard, 4 p.m. Thursday: The Templars back their way into Region 9's sixth and final berth, having concluded their region schedule a week earlier. Morgan lost to Park City, putting Manti and Morgan into a tie for the sixth spot, with the Templars earning the spot because of a previous 27-15 victory over the Trojans during the regular season. Manti was 2-4 in the region and 4-4 overall.
Millard finished 6-2 overall and 5-2 in Region 10, with the soles losses to high-ranked and high-finishing Hurricane and Beaver. The Eagles, who won the 2A title two season ago, have a high-octane offense that has scored 35 points or more five times and 40 or more three times.
Kanab at Grand County, 6 p.m. Thursday: Despite a two-game losing streak to end the regular season, the Cowboys claimed Region 10's sixth and final spot with a 4-4 overall record and a 3-4 region mark. In its four wins, Kanab allowed its opponents to single-digit scoring.
Grand County, with its independent 4-4 overall record and 3-3 region-equivalent mark, started 1990 by winning two, then losing two, and then alternating wins and losses the rest of the season.
Grantsville at San Juan, 1 p.m. Friday: Grantsville's playoff presence can be attributed to a 3-1 overall start of the season, since the Cowboys stumbled late by losing three of its last four games. However, the Cowboys were the only team to not allow region champion North Sanpete more than double its own points in a game.
San Juan, the defending 2A champion, may be the sleeper of the bunch, having lost to Hurricane 16-13 at the start of the year and then racked up three consecutive out-of-state losses to Montrose, Colo.; Durango, Colo.; and Farmington, N.M. - all 4A equivalent schools that are highly respected in their own states. San Juan finished the season by whipping Grand 45-0.
First-round byes: The four highest-seeded 2A teams - Hurricane, Park City, Beaver and North Summit - all have first-round byes.
PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS: Some of the top individual efforts from last week's games, as reported to the Deseret News:
Members of the last week's 100-yard rushing club included Bear River's Jared Burnham (214 yards, 3 TDs), Box Elder's Jamie Greeg (201 yards, 2 TDs), Parowan's Brandon Allen (17 carries for 197 yards, 1 TD), Park City's Mike Packard (17 carries for 128 yards, 1 TD), Granite's Nathan Clayton (124 yards), Clearfield's Tony Cussimanio (24 rushes for 124 yards, 1 TD), Alta's Ryan Bills (116 yards, 2 TDs), Millard's Rick Robins (10 carries for 114 yards, 1 TD), and Jordan's Tom Payne (8 rushes for 113 yards, 3 TDs).
A couple of receivers deserving recognition - Park City's Roger Osguthorpe hauled in seven passes for 143 yards and 2 TDs; North Summit's Gary Crittenden caught three for 115 yards and a score; and Layton's Joel Peterson not only caught the game-winning TD pass against Cottonwood, but he also snagged two of the Lancers' three interceptions to halt the Colts' final three drives in Layton's 40-36 victory.
Multiple-touchdown efforts were logged by the likes of Bountiful's Austin Lindsey (3 TD passes, 1 TD run), Highland's Joe Sheffield (3 TD runs), Layton's Brian Hoskins (2 TD runs, 1 TD reception), Cottonwood's Jeff Cunningham (3 TD passes), Bountiful's Aaron Roderick (2 TD catches, 1 interception-return TD), Park City's Matt Marriott (2 TD passes, 1 TD run), Hurricane's Justin Roundy (2 TD receptions, 1 TD run) and North Sanpete's John Miller (2 TD passes, 1 TD run).
And, finally, some more points to ponder. Bingham's Brian Chamberlain kicked four field goals and three point-after conversions to score 15 points against Hillcrest; Alta's Ryan Bills ran for two TDs and booted a pair of field goals for an 18-point outing against Brighton; and Cottonwood's Matt Fankhauser caught two TD passes, ran the reverse for another score, hauled in a two-point PAT pass and kicked four PATs for a total of 24 points scored.