The 124th season of Utah prep football welcomes two new teams to the varsity ranks in the Skyridge Falcons in Lehi and the Ridgeline RiverHawks in Millville, south of Logan. The schools face off in an Endowment Game battle at Skyridge on Thursday. The contest marks the ninth time that two new schools have played their first game against each other.
The winner will become just the 33rd school to win its first-ever game.
The additions give Utah 106 current football-playing schools and 134 teams overall that have played football at one time or another.
Prep football will add one school each of the next three years as Green Canyon (Wolves) in North Logan opens in 2017, a yet-to-be-named school in Farmington in 2018 and Crimson (Titans) in Washington City, Washington County in 2019.
The ’16 season kicks off with a state-record 52 endowment games. Only Monument Valley, Rich and Whitehorse are idle. In addition to Ridgeline at Skyridge, other first-time meetings include Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, California) at Orem, Kearns at Stansbury and North Sanpete at Tooele.
Endowment Week’s rivalry games
Box Elder and Logan renew the state’s second most-played series and longest currently played series when they meet for the 98th time since 1919. Box Elder has a nearly 2-1 winning ratio, leading 61-33-3 ... At the other end of the state, Grand and Monticello grapple for the 62nd time with Grand holding a commanding 43-14-4 series edge.
Davis and Clearfield skirmish for the 51st time in 56 seasons. Davis leads the series 27-22-1 ... Millard owns a 36-9 series margin over Juab as they meet for the 46th time ... North Sevier has a 30-12 series lead over Parowan as they head into their 43rd game. The Wolves broke Parowan’s four-game winning streak in the series last year ... Layton and Weber play for the 41st time in an uninterrupted series that began in 1977. The Lancers lead it, 26-14.
Endowment Week regulars
Bountiful and Lone Peak might as well be in the same region even though they’ve been in different classifications since 2005. They will scuffle in the season-opener for the 15th straight year, going back to 2002. LP has an 8-6 edge in endowment game meetings and the overall series is tied 8-8. No pair has met more times to open the season since endowment games began in 2000.
Two long-distance opponents have developed endowment game traditions. Dixie confronts Springville in their 11th straight season-opener (since 2006). The Red Devils maintain a 17-10 series edge going back to 1975. Hurricane and Skyline face off in their season-opener for the eighth straight year with Skyline leading the series, 4-3.
Repeats from 2015
Forty-four of this week’s 52 games are repeats of 2015 season openers. In addition to the four first-time meetings, other nonrepeat games find Alta hosting Taylorsville, Roy visiting Murray and Snow Canyon traveling to Uintah (they last met in 2007). Also, Grantsville is at Cyprus. These teams met 25 times from 1926-1951 but haven’t paired up since. Cyprus leads the series 16-8-1.
Box Elder, Grantsville and Springville all celebrate their 100th year of football. Judge Memorial competes in its 90th season. Milford takes the field for the 75th time, while Highland enjoys its 60th season. Timpview and Woods Cross start their 40th years and Monument Valley its 30th.
In the coaching ranks, John Colosimo is the dean of active coaches, and he is beginning his 29th year in stints at Judge (12 years) and Juan Diego (starting his 17th). Mark Wootton (North Sanpete, Mountain Crest and now Pleasant Grove) and Blaine Monkres (Morgan, Fremont, Dixie and now Murray) begin directing their 26th seasons.
Hunter’s Scott Henderson embarks on his 21st campaign as head mentor including previous stops at Parowan, Granite and Taylorsville. Mike Bowring starts his 20th season (seven at Monticello and starting his 13th at Juab).
Morgan, visiting Bear River, goes for win No. 450. Judge Memorial, hosting Pine View, also seeks its 450th victory. Bonneville, at Fremont, tries to grab its 350th win.
South Summit plays its 700th game and Syracuse, its 100th as it opens its 10th season.
Among coaches, Bucky Orton aims for his 100th victory at Kanab. Dennis Wells coaches his 150th contest at Grand County and Russ Jones, his 100th at Syracuse.
Current winning streaks
Beaver and Diamond Ranch open the season with 11-game winning streaks. Logan has won 10 straight, East and Juan Diego have won nine and Herriman four. Seven teams — Ben Lomond, Mountain View, Northridge, Parowan, Riverton, Westlake and Whitehorse — won their last regular-season game but failed to advance to the playoffs and so they have one-game winning “streaks.”
Current scoring streaks
Fourteen schools start the season with school-record scoring-game streaks (by longevity):
Bingham (145 games since 2004)
Jordan (134 since 2004)
Juan Diego (132 since 2005)
Timpview (128 since 2006)
Spanish Fork (125 since 2005)
Sky View (123 since 2005)
Lone Peak (111 since 2007)
Duchesne (69 since 2009)
East (69 since 2010)
Syracuse (61 since 2010)
Desert Hills (47 since 2011)
Salem Hills (38 since 2012)
Summit Academy (37 since 2012)
Canyon View (27 since 2013)
Judge Memorial is seven games shy of its school record 44 straight scoring games (1967-71). The Bulldogs haven’t been blanked since 2012.
Dixie opens at home then goes on the road for five weeks. The Flyers have just three home games. Likewise, Mountain Crest opens at home then isn’t back until Sept. 30, but the Mustangs have four home contests this season. Ridgeline plays all five of its home games over consecutive weeks in September. Salem Hills doesn’t have a home contest until Sept. 16, Week 5.
The National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee made just three rule changes this year, but one is fairly significant. In a continuing effort to reduce risk, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. Previously, it was allowed in a 6- by 8-yard rectangle around the ball. The two other changes: Clear and white mouth protectors are now legal, and football gloves have to meet specified standards.
Over half, 57, of the Utah high schools that play football have unique school names found nowhere else in the nation. For example, there are no other Ben Lomonds, Binghams, Bountifuls, Ridgelines or Skyridges. Green Canyon (opening in North Logan in 2017) and Crimson (St. George area in 2019) will add to that list.
But the other 49 schools share their name with at least one other high school. Even Duchesne, a rather unusual name, isn’t alone — there’s another Duchesne High, in St. Charles, Missouri.
Highland leads the list as there are 22 Highland Highs across the nation. There are 16 Unions, 15 Hillcrests and Mountain Views and a dozen Easts and Skylines. (There are more schools locally known as East, but their official names have their city attached, for example, Madison East. Thus, there are only 12 named “East High School.” And there are just seven schools officially named “West High School.”)
If color schemes are also brought into the picture, along with the name and mascot, every Utah school, the number of shared names drops to four: Beaver Beavers, Brighton Bengals, Highland Rams and Skyline Eagles. If color schemes are brought into the picture, every Utah school is unique.
Here’s an alphabetical list where there’s an exact matching name – the number includes the Utah school. Where there’s just one other school, the “twin” is listed, and sometimes, a note of interest.
Alta – 2 (the Cyclones of Alta, Iowa; both Altas share red and black colors)
Altamont – 3
American Leadership Academy – 3
Bear River – 2 (the Bruins in Grass Valley, California)
Beaver – 4 (the other Beaver High using a Beaver mascot is in Lisbon, Ohio)
Bonneville – 2 (the Bees in Idaho Falls, Idaho)
Box Elder – 2 (the Bears of Box Elder, Montana)
Brighton – 7 (the two other Brighton Bengals reside in Baton Rouge, Louisianna (no football team) and Brighton, Massachusetts)
Clearfield – 2 (the Bison of Clearfield, Pennsylvania)
Cottonwood – 2 (the Bears in Cottonwood, Alabama)
Davis – 2 (the Wolves of Davis, Oklahoma)
Delta – 8
Desert Hills – 2 (the Cougars in Gilbert, Arizona)
Dixie – 3
Duchesne – 2 (the Pioneers in St. Charles, Missouri)
East – 12 (among the other 11, there’s also the East Panthers in Buffalo, New York)
Enterprise – 7 (among the other six, there’s also the Outlaws in Enterprise, Oregon)
Fremont – 6
Granger – 3
Highland – 22 (the two other Highland Rams are in Monterrey, Virginia, (no football team) and Pocatello, Idaho)
Hillcrest – 15
Hurricane – 2 (the Redskins in Hurricane, West Virginia)
Jordan – 4
Logan – 6
Lone Peak – 2 (the Bighorns in Gallatin Gateway, Montana)
Milford – 10
Monticello – 11 (among the other 10 are the Magic in Monticello, Minnesota, and the Billies, short for Billygoats, in Monticello, Arkansas)
Monument Valley – 2 (the Mustangs in Kayenta, Arizona)
Morgan – 4
Mountain View – 15
Murray – 3
Northridge – 7
Ogden – 2 (the Bulldogs in Ogden, Iowa)
Park City – 2 (the Panthers in Park City, Montana)
Payson – (the Longhorns in Payson, Arizona)
Pleasant Grove – 4
Richfield – 3
Riverton – 4
Roy – 3
San Juan – 2 (the Spartans in Citrus Heights, California)
Skyline – 12 (The other Skyline with an Eagle mascot is in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There’s also the Skyline Titans of Oakland, California)
Springville – 3
Summit Academy – 5
Syracuse – 3
Taylorsville – 2 (the Tartars of Taylorsville, Mississippi)
Union – 16
Wayne – 7
West – 7
Westlake – 8
Emery County is unique, but there is an Emery High in California, and its mascot is also the Spartan, but its colors are blue and gold instead of black and gold.
There are five Skyview Highs across the nation, but only one Sky View, in Smithfield, Utah.
See you on the sidelines!