The final week of the high school football regular season figures to be an exciting one, and it's not just because countless playoff berths and region titles are up for grabs.
It's rivalry week across the state as 10 of the most-played rivalries in state history commence today and Friday.
Headlining that list is the 108th installment of East vs. West, Utah's most-played rivalry and the 19th most-played rivalry in the country. East has been victorious in six straight and leads the all-time series 56-44-7 dating back to 1914.
Despite dominating the rivalry as of late, this year's game figures to be much more competitive. East can claim a share of the region title with a victory, while West can clinch a first-round home playoff game with a victory.
The big uncertainty with tonight's showdown at East involves West's mental state. How will the Panthers respond after blowing a double-digit lead in the final two minutes to Highland last week? Against East's potent rushing attack, West can't afford a Highland hangover, otherwise it will be hitting the road in the opening round of next week's 4A state tournament.
Despite being the most-played rivalry in Utah, ironically enough the East-West rivalry isn't even the oldest active rivalry in the state. That title belongs to the Springville-Payson rivalry.
When Springville hosts Payson this Friday, it will be the 88th meeting between the Utah County schools dating back to 1909. The Red Devils lead the all-time series 51-29-7 but have dominated the last several decades by winning 23 of the past 24 meetings.
Another Utah Country rivalry is renewed Friday when American Fork hosts Pleasant Grove, the 73rd clash between the schools. American Fork leads the series 46-24-2, and there's extra incentive for this year's winner the Region 4 championship.
All three match-ups in Region 11 will be hotly contested, with Logan meeting Bear River for the 76th time, Morgan battling Grantsville for the 71st time and Ogden and Ben Lomond duking it out for the 59th time in the annual Iron Horse game.
Ben Lomond needs a win to keep its slim playoff hopes alive, while Ogden can clinch its fourth win of the season, its most since 2001.
Some other notable rivalries include:
Duchesne and Altamont square for the 58th time in only 35 seasons, with Duchesne leading 30-27.
Dixie will look to add another win to its dominant 41-14-1 record against Hurricane in the 57th meeting between the southern Utah schools.Wasatch and Union meet for the 54th time, while Spanish Fork and Lehi clash for the 53rd time.
AROUND THE GRIDIRON: With its inevitable win over Provo, Timpview will sew up its third undefeated regular season in school history and first since 2002 ... Lone Peak is undefeated against Timpanogos in their only six meetings ... Fremont coach Blaine Monkres is gunning for his 100th career coaching victory.
PREPS ON THE WEB: Can't wait for the nightly scores? Log on to deseretnews.com/sports/hs for quarterly scoring updates of more than half of the games in the state. While there, check out your favorite high school's own Web page, complete with the state's most comprehensive standings, schedules, results and leaders.
ATTENTION COACHES: A reminder to home coaches to please call the Deseret Morning News with the information from your game as soon as possible after the final whistle. The newspaper's local number is 237-2161; long distance is 800-688-2161. Coaches and statisticians are also reminded to e-mail offensive yardage statistics to [email protected] by Monday afternoon for publication in Tuesday's paper.
E-mail: [email protected]