No other classification has been as loaded at the top as 2A so far this football season.
Four teams North Summit, Manti, Juab and San Juan enter Week 6 play with perfect 5-0 records. Each of those teams has looked capable of running the table and winning the 2A championship. They have all been dominant and balanced through the first five weeks of the season.
But starting tonight, there will finally be some separation in 2A.
No. 1 and reigning champion North Summit plays at No. 3 Manti in a huge 2A North contest. Juab plays in the same league, and it's realistic to believe that when North Summit, Manti and Juab face each other, it's a possible state-title game preview.
"It will be a race to the finish for sure," said North Summit coach Jerre Holmes. "I really think it's going to be fun."
The fun in 2A begins tonight not only with the North Summit-Manti game, but also in 2A South with San Juan traveling to Millard. The Broncos have an impressive win over 3A's Cedar on their resume, while the Eagles are a surprising 1-4.
There might not be a more entertaining game tonight than North Summit-Manti. The Braves return some experienced players from their state-title team, including standout quarterback Deven Holmes and running back Colby Richins. Colby Richins is also a key contributor on defense, along with his brother Caden and linebacker Stevin Sommerville.
"This is a good senior class," Holmes said. "We're experienced, we're just not as deep as we were last year. But we've had some juniors step up, too. That's what's fun about this job seeing younger kids step up when we need them. I'm not surprised, but I'm pleased."
Manti has been building toward being successful this season for a couple of years. In 2006, many of this year's key players began playing varsity, and they took their lumps. Now they're the ones dealing defeats to their opponents on Friday nights, with players such as Griffin Aste, Chase Stevens and Russell Hugentobler playing key roles.
"This has been a group we've been looking forward to," said Manti coach Cole Meacham. "They've always been a coachable, fun group. They work hard in football and everything else."
Both teams are built around their running games, but they also can throw the ball if they need to. Manti is outscoring its opponents by close to 31 points per game, while North Summit has defeated its opponents by an average of 22.4 points per game.
INTRIGUE UP NORTH: High school football fans are mostly looking forward to the Layton-Northridge game in Region 1 tonight. But the league features another intriguing contest, one that might be the week's most emotional game.
Clearfield and Syracuse will play in a game that features former teammates and former members of the same coaching staff going against each other. Syracuse's senior class started attending high school at Clearfield, and it was given the option of transferring to Syracuse when the school opened in 2007.
The two teams met last season, and Clearfield prevailed, 24-10.
"Most of their kids came through our program as sophomores, so I know a lot of them pretty well," said Clearfield coach Billy Pluim. "Our kids are really familiar with their kids. A lot of them are even neighbors."
Tonight's game is probably more important for Clearfield because it is 0-2 in Region 1 and trails Syracuse by a game in the league standings. The Falcons blew a fourth-quarter lead against Viewmont last week, and played Davis tough in their region opener.
"It's a big one for us, and not just because we're playing Syracuse and stuff," Pluim said. "We got to pull one out. We're almost in a must-win situation."
TIMPVIEW COULD TIE TONIGHT: Timpview is one victory away from tying the state record for most consecutive wins. The T-Birds, who have won 27 consecutive games, can tie the record of 28 straight wins set by Rich from 1994-97 with a victory over Mountain View tonight.
Jerre Holmes was Rich's coach when it set the record for most consecutive wins. He realizes that Timpview is heavily favored to beat Mountain View tonight and Tooele next week, so his record is getting close to being pushed to second place on the all-time list."That's what they're (records) for to be broken," Holmes said. "It doesn't take away any of the excitement we had when we broke it. I'm happy for Timpview, and I'm glad someone else gets to experience what we felt."