Scott G Winterton
Bingham will begin the year ranked No. 1 in the Deseret News annual coaches preseason rankings for an unprecedented ninth straight season.

The last time Bingham didn’t begin a high school football season ranked No. 1 in its respective classification was 2009. Alta had beat Bingham in the 2008 championship and it was the Hawks who garnered preseason top billing

Bingham went on to win the 2009 championship anyway and has won five more since.

When the high school football season kicks off on Aug. 16, defending 6A state champion Bingham will begin the year ranked No. 1 in the Deseret News annual coaches preseason rankings for an unprecedented ninth straight season.

Bingham is one of four defending state champions who will begin the 2018 season ranked No. 1 in their respective classification, with Orem (4A), Juan Diego (3A) and South Summit (2A) the other three.

Two runner-ups from a year ago have been pegged as their classification’s favorite, Skyridge in 5A and Duchesne in 1A.

Preseason hype is no guarantee for success, as only two of the six preseason favorites from a year ago went on to claim the state championship.

Bingham was one of those two teams as it leaned on a dominant defense in 2017, and that could again be the case in 2016. The Miners return six defensive starters from last season while only one offensive starter is back, running back Braedon Wissler.

“We have a number of players who have quality varsity experience who will need to show younger talented players the way. Those younger players will have to assume roles vacated by last year’s seniors,” said Bingham coach John Lambourne.

Bingham received 17 of 19 first-place votes from the coaches in the preseason rankings (coaches aren’t allowed to vote for their own team).

East received the other two first-place votes and 14 second-place votes to check in at No. 2 in the 6A preseason rankings. Lone Peak, Herriman and American Fork round out the top five, which all hail from Region 3 and 4.

In 5A, Lehi beat rival Skyridge to claim the state title a year ago, but in 2018 Skyridge begins the year as the preseason favorite. Lehi, meanwhile, didn’t crack the preseason top five.

Skyridge received five of 17 first-place votes to claim the top spot in 5A, while Corner Canyon also received five first-place votes and begins the year ranked second. Skyridge returns over half its starters on both sides of the ball, while Corner Canyon has plenty of returning experience as well — particularly in the trenches.

Timpview, Springville and Alta round out the top five in 5A, which had six different teams received first-place votes.

In 4A, defending champ Orem was the overwhelming favorite among the coaches as it received every first-place vote but one.

The Tigers return seven offensive starters from last year’s championship team, including MVP Puka Nacua and starting quarterback Cooper Legas. They also return five defensive starters.

A pair of Region 12 teams, Sky View and Mountain Crest, were tabbed are ranked second and third to begin the season, followed by Region 9 schools Dixie and Pine View. Four of seven schools in Region 9 have new coaches (Canyon View, Desert Hills, Dixie and Hurricane), which might alter the traditional favorites in the classification.

Three-time 3A champ Juan Diego returns six offensive starters and seven defensive starters and is the obvious title favorite again this season as it received every first-place vote but one.

Big things are expected of Hunter Easterly, Sam Knudson and Tristen Tonozzi, returning starters on both sides of the ball.

Morgan, Summit Academy, Juab and Grantsville finish up the 3A top five.

In 2A, South Summit won every game in a blowout last season, and even though it graduated most of those starters it was the no-brainer pick by the coaches in 2018.

Led by quarterback Kael Atkinson, the Wildcats received every first-place vote but one, with Beaver, Grand, Delta and Millard rounding out the top five. The preseason rankings might not be a very accurate predictor of things to come in 2A though as most of the top programs were senior-heavy a year ago.

In 1A, defending champ Milford takes a backseat in the preseason rankings to Duchesne — the same team it beat in the championship game a year ago.

Even though Duchesne gets the early nod, Milford returns quarterback Bryson Barnes and a strong offensive and defensive line as it seeks a repeat.

Milford, Kanab, Parowan and Layton Christian round out the top five in 1A.

2018 preseason high school football rankings

Each year, the Deseret News asks every football coach in the state to vote for the top five teams in their classification. The votes are tallied, and five points are assigned for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, etc. The following are the results from the coaches who elected to participate (first-place votes indicated in parenthesis):

Class 6A

Team ... Points ... 2017 Record

1. Bingham (17) ... 89 ... 13-0

2. East (2) ... 72 ... 11-3

3. Lone Peak ... 51 ... 9-3

4. Herriman ... 32 ... 6-6

5. American Fork ... 15 ... 6-5

Others receiving multiple votes: Syracuse, Weber, Pleasant Grove.

Class 5A

Team ... Points ... 2017 Record

1. Skyridge (5) ... 60 ... 12-2

2. Corner Canyon (5) ... 55 ... 11-1

3. Timpview (1) ... 30 ... 7-3

4. Springville ... 27 ... 9-4

5. Alta (2) ... 25 ... 6-5

Others receiving multiple votes: Highland, Lehi, Viewmont, Roy, Jordan, Woods Cross, Olympus.

Class 4A

Team ... Points ... 2017 Record

1. Orem (13) ... 65 ... 12-2

2. Sky View (1) ... 34 ... 11-1

3. Mountain Crest ... 33 ... 12-2

4. Dixie ... 30 ... 10-2

5. Pine View ... 25 ... 8-4

Others receiving multiple votes: Desert Hills, Stansbury, Spanish Fork.

Class 3A

Team ... Points ... 2017 Record

1. Juan Diego (7) ... 35 ... 11-2

2. Morgan (1) ... 24 ... 9-3

3. Summit Academy ... 21 ... 9-2

4. Juab ... 17 ... 7-4

5. Grantsville ... 15 ... 5-5

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Others receiving multiple votes: Manti, Union.

Class 2A

Team ... Points ... 2017 Record

1. South Summit (10) ... 50 ... 12-0

2. Beaver ... 32 ... 10-2

3. Grand (1) ... 25 ... 9-2

4. Delta ... 21 ... 8-3

5. Millard ... 16 ... 7-4

Others receiving multiple votes: North Sevier, South Sevier, Enterprise, San Juan

Class 1A

Team ... Points ... 2017 Record

1. Duchesne (4) ... 28 ... 10-2

2. Milford (3) ... 22 ... 11-1

3. Kanab ... 19 ... 5-7

4. Parowan .... 14 ... 8-3

5. Layton Christian ... 10 ... 6-5

Others receiving multiple votes: Rich, Altamont.