Chris Samuels,
Coming off a 4A state title, the Leopards will play national power De La Salle High School on Sept. 16 in California.
It’s Mount Everest in terms of a game, but our kids will be ready. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that our kids will never forget. —Brandon Matich

Utah’s 4A state champions will face at least one daunting task during its title-defending campaign in 2016.

The East High Leopards will face national power De La Salle High School on Sept. 16 in Concord, California. It will be a home game for the Spartans, who, according to MaxPreps computer rankings, were the 2015 national champions.

“To me it’s a dream school and a dream opportunity,” said Leopards head coach Brandon Matich by phone Monday afternoon. “Obviously they’re probably considered the No. 1 high school football program in our entire nation, so for our kids to have the opportunity to go out to Concord and play against the nation’s best, I think is unparalleled and it’s something you can’t pass up.”

The scheduling of the game is the culmination of years of work on Matich’s part. He said he’s studied the De La Salle program for much of his career, has visited the school multiple times and tried to get the Spartans on his team’s schedule in 2014 and 2015.

“It’s Mount Everest in terms of a game, but our kids will be ready,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that our kids will never forget. If we can provide those memories and those opportunities for our kids, let’s do it. Let’s have fun and go try to rise to the occasion and take on those challenges.”

East will return its leading rusher, running back Jaylen Warren, as it employs its triple-option attack in 2016.

Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.