Judge Memorial High School football players run during practice at McCarthey Stadium in Salt Lake City on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. Temperatures reached the mid-nineties during practice on the player's first day of school.

Felt’s Facts — 2018 Week 1

Newcomer

The 126th season of Utah prep football welcomes the Farmington Phoenix in Davis County to the varsity ranks. Farmington is the 136th team overall to play high school football. The number of current teams grows to 107. The Phoenix compete in Class-5A’s Region 5 with Bountiful, Box Elder, Roy, Viewmont and Woods Cross.

More growth

Next year, three additional high schools come on line: Crimson Cliffs High (Mustangs) in Washington, Cedar Valley (Aviators) in Eagle Mountain and a yet-to-be-named school in Herriman, the city’s second high school. However, Felt’s Facts isn’t aware of any other new Utah high schools in the planning stages. At a cost of $75.8 million for Farmington, it’s easy to see why.

Endowment Games — longest series

The ’18 season kicks off with 53 Endowment Games, the most in state history. Only Rich, Wayne and Whitehorse are idle.

The longest current Endowment Game series, and second-longest all-time, belongs to Dixie and Springville. Those two battle for the 13th consecutive year (since 2006), this season at Dixie. (For 15 straight years, from 2002-16, Bountiful and Lone Peak met in the season-opener.)

Endowment Week’s rivalry games (min. 40 games)

Park City and Wasatch grapple for the 83rd time since 1924; PC holds a 43-36-3 series lead. Murray and Cyprus tangle for the 77th time since 1926; Murray leads the series, 41-31-4. Richfield plays Emery for the 42nd time since 1963; Richfield controls this series, 24-17. Davis and Bountiful clash for the 41st time since 1956; Davis is ahead 24-14-2 in the series.

Long time no see

Two games pit teams that haven’t seen each other since the 1990s: Grand County at Morgan (last met in 1992), sixth meeting, Morgan leads 4-1; and Payson at Ben Lomond (1996), seventh meeting, Payson leads the series 4-2.

First-time meetings (5)

First-time matchups include Desert Hills at Highland, Farmington at Timpanogos, North Sevier hosting Woods Cross JV, Taylorsville at Snow Canyon and Timpview at St. John’s Bosco (California). Incidentally, the last — and only — time St. John’s Bosco played a Utah team was in 2012 when the Braves nipped Jordan, 34-33, in a game at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Streaks

South Summit is on a state-high 12-game winning streak. Lehi and Orem have won 10 in a row, Milford, seven and Juan Diego, four. Seven other teams won their last game of the 2017 season but didn’t qualify for the playoffs, so enter the season on a one-game winning “streak”: Clearfield, Green Canyon, Logan, Murray, Taylorsville, Timpanogos and West.

Weber has scored in 30 straight games and ties its school record by scoring against American Fork on Friday.

Landmark seasons

West competes in its 125th season of football, the most in the state. Carbon and Logan both celebrate their 100th seasons. Orem takes the field for the 90th year, while Cedar, Hurricane and Parowan mark their 70th seasons. North Sevier starts its 60 year and Brighton its 50th.

Milestone games

Maple Mountain and Stansbury both play for the 100th time. South Summit coach Mike Grajek aims for his 50th career win, including stints at Milford and Morgan.

Rule changes

The National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee made just four rule changes this year. Players with missing or improperly worn equipment now have to sit out one play. That’s in addition to the existing unsportsmanlike foul charged to the head coach in such instances.

Continuing to focus on player safely, the committee added an option for penalties committed by the kicking team to reduce the number of kick returns. Now, the receiving team can elect to tack on 5 yards at the end of the play rather than have the ball rekicked.

A third change clarified that defenseless player provisions don’t apply to a passer until a legal forward pass is thrown. The passer is then “defenseless” until the pass ends or the passer moves to participate in the play.

The fourth change isn’t too significant: other than encroachment, the referees' signal for free-kick infractions is changed specifically from “Signal 18” (the encroachment signal) to “Signal 19” (the false start/illegal formation signal).

4 comments on this story

In addition, one of the points of emphasis for 2018 addresses the pace of play: “To maintain a fair balance between offense and defense, a consistent pace of play should be established and maintained. … The pace of play should not change during the contest, and should be the same from game to game, and from officiating crew to officiating crew. Therefore, the committee recommends the ready-for-play signal be given between 12 and 15 seconds after the previous dead ball … no matter if either team wants to hurry up or slow down. Long incomplete passes, plays into side zones and first downs may require the game officials to hustle to get the ball and line-to-gain equipment properly set, while short runs up the middle may require a slight delay before marking the ball ready for play. Consistency is the goal without regard to particular game situations.”

More about the changes can be found at hereand here.

Felt’s Facts welcomes questions and comments: [email protected]

Correction: An earlier version of the story reported the incorrect name and mascot of the new school in Washington, Utah.