What makes a great rivalry?
All of the components of what I believe comprise one were on display between Highland and East on Friday night in proximity, familiarity and competitiveness between two schools. And one underrated aspect, which was crystal clear to me for a few reasons before the night was over, was respect.
There might be some bad blood in some circles between Highland and East. But it's obvious that the players and coaches from the two programs respect each other. They wouldn't care so much about the rivalry if they didn't respect each other. And not only do they respect each other, they respect the game of high school football and that makes watching the two teams battle each other quite enjoyable.
East fans wouldn't have stormed the field after the win if they didn't respect Highland. It meant something to them to beat the Rams.
Respect was evident in how East coach Larry Eldracher felt when Highland's coaches and players left the field without shaking hands with the Leopards. It was understandable because with so many people on the field, there were numerous problems that could have occurred by Highland hanging around East's turf.
Eldracher felt bad about the situation n because he felt like his fans were in the wrong. It was the second straight year the Leopards beat the Rams, and the second straight year their fans stormed the field after the game.
I apologize to the Highland team and community that our fans stormed the field, Eldracher said. I think it says something on our behalf for last year because it had been such a long time (since East beat Highland) and it was a spontaneous deal. I wanted our players to shake hands with their players. They (the Rams coaches) were right to have them leave when there's mayhem out here. I need to talk to my administration about it.
It had been five years since I had seen a Highland-East game in person. I realized what I've been missing, and hopefully it won't be another five years before I see another one.
It really is a family affair when East and Highland play. A reader passed on to me the following connections before Friday's game. Highland's Latu Heimuli, who played for East in little league, is the cousin of Leopards quarterback Danny Tuai. And brothers were on opposite sides of the field when Highland's Nate Fakahafua and Eastis Edward Fakahafua played against each other.
Nate Fakahafua had two catches for 52 yards and was the target of some late passes from Rams quarterback Nick Orchard. Edward Fakahafua sparked East's offense in the second quarter and rushed seven times for 34 yards.
Here are some notes from other games we covered on Friday night, with help from our team of reporters:
Park City vs. Lone Peak
It was a flag-fest as Lone Peak had 16 penalties and Park City had nine. The Miners had only 45 yards of total offense at halftime. To put it in perspective, Kade Andrus, Lone Peak's senior running back, outgained Park City by 17 yards in the first two quarters. Andrus had 62 yards on 13 carries by halftime and finished with a workhorse-like 168 yards on 31 carries.
Park City has averaged 57 points per game in its two victories, but only 7 points per game in both losses o possibly the worst offensive disparity in the state.
Playing in games against smaller schools are almost a no-win proposition for the larger schools. If they win, they were supposed to. If they lose, they probably don't want to open a Deseret News the following day.
"Playing a 3A school can be the kiss of death because you're supposed to beat them." said Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary.
Logan vs. Judge
Mitch Wood, a senior running back, had 15 carries for 120 yards for Judge.
Springville vs. Provo
Springville's 51 points were the most the Red Devils have scored in a game in the past three seasons. In fact, the 82 points in the past two games almost matches Springville's point total from last season, which was 102 points.
Some notes from wildly popular contributor George Felt:
The 56 points scored by Sky View is the most it has scored in a regulation game since 1973. Sky View beat Logan 62-56 in three overtimes in 2004. The 56 points against Box Elder ties for the most Sky View has ever scored on the Bees. The Bobcats beat them 56-0 in 1971.
North Sanpete suffered a shutout for the first time since 2000, ending a span of 81 straight scoring games.
Emery captured its first shutout win since 2002. Only Payson (1989), Copper Hills (1998) and Orem (2001) have gone longer.
Layton Christian defeated White Pine, 61-20 - that's the most LCA has scored in its five-year history.
Grantsville's 61 points are its most scored since 1992 and the fourth-most ever.
Park City was shut out for just the second time in its last 106 contests.
Delta scored its third shutout in four games
ARAGON TOP 10
7. Sky View
9. Pleasant Grove
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Jeff Manning, Logan
He struggled against Sky View last week, but came back with a great performance against Judge. He threw for 307 yards and accounted for five scores in the Grizzlies' 46-21 win over the Bulldogs.
Zach Spencer, Riverton
He made some big plays against Hillcrest, scoring on runs of 61, 75 and 79 yards.
Danny Tuai, East
His 65-yard scamper was just what the Leopards needed to defeat Highland.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
I mentioned the unit in a blog entry earlier this week. They then went out and recorded another shutout, so I have to give them some more recognition. It was the third shutout the Rabbits have earned this season.
Juan Diego's defense
Speaking of shutouts, the Soaring Eagle recorded their second straight blanking when they beat Wasatch 31-0.
STAT OF THE WEEK
That's how many yards East had in the first quarter against Highland on Friday. Amazingly, the Leopards recovered and improved to 3-1.
COACHES OF THE WEEK
Larry Eldracher, East
What a job he's done since becoming the Leopards' head coach late in the summer. I talked to him about his future prospects on Thursday, and he stressed that heis the interim coach. He said he's taking the job on a week-by-week basis. Whatever the case, East is playing on a high level and seems to be getting better each week.
Sonny Sudbury, Cyprus
A week after a crushing loss to Juan Diego, the Pirates bounced back to beat Olympus in their region opener. Good work, coach.
Mike Favero, Logan
I should have known.
Ray Groth, Tooele
The Buffaloes improved to 3-1 with a stunning win over Orem. That win should show that Tooele is for real.
League play continues in Regions 1, 5, 6 and 7 and begins in Region 9, the two 2A regions and both 1A regions on Friday. In games that count in the league standings, the top games appear to be Davis-Layton, Tooele-Mountain View, Juab-South Summit and Altamont-Duchesne. There are some interesting nonleague games in Lone Peak-Bingham, Skyline-Kearns and Judge-Juan Diego.