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For the vast majority of high school football teams around the state, the games start to really matter this week.

That’s not to say that Cyprus’ big rally over Spanish Fork last week doesn’t matter, or that Park City’s upset of South Summit a couple weeks ago isn’t a big deal, but those games were preseason games. Each team’s region record was still 0-0 afterward.

That will change this week with 37 region games across the state, beginning Thursday night with Riverton at West Jordan.

Region 9 had its first games last week, which included a big win for Desert Hills over Snow Canyon. Region 1 is entering its third week of region games this week as it started region play earlier than anyone else with seven teams in the league.

Regions 7 and 8 and then the 1A regions are the only regions that won’t have official games this week.

" It’s a whole jump as far as intensity, it’s a whole jump as far as the importance of winning each play and each game and playing hard through every play. "
Mountain Crest head coach Jason Lee

One of the most intriguing region games of Week 5 is Ridgeline at Mountain Crest, a rivalry that has been intense since Ridgeline split off from Mountain Crest back in 2016. Both teams enjoyed a 3-1 preseason, which only adds to the intensity of the Region 12 opener Friday.

“It’s a whole jump as far as intensity, it’s a whole jump as far as the importance of winning each play and each game and playing hard through every play,” said Mountain Crest coach Jason Lee, whose team was a 4A runner-up last year.

Even though Mountain Crest has played very well the last two weeks in holding Box Elder and Stansbury to just seven points each, Lee has stressed with his players that those were just preseason wins.

“We tell them this all the time, we haven’t accomplished anything yet. Our goal is to win region and our next goal is to go to the state playoffs and win state, and so we haven’t accomplished any of our main goals we set for ourselves,” said Lee.

Bingham's Andrew Wimmer reacts to scoring a touchdown during a varsity football game against East High at East High School in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018.

There are 13 undefeated teams remaining in Utah heading into Week 5, and nine play their first region games this week. Only two of the nine — Bingham and Sky View — were pegged by their region’s coaches as the team to beat in the Deseret News preseason coaches rankings.

The other seven undefeated teams still have plenty to prove despite their strong preseasons.

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West Jordan, Olympus and Grantsville were projected to finish third in their respective regions this season, while Millard was pegged fourth.

Deseret News
West Jordan's 1 David Moctezuma completes a 45-yard run past Kearns' 7 Mekhi Hammock in the game at West Jordan at West Jordan High School on Friday, August 24, 2018.

Expectations were even lower for Cyprus, Logan and Richfield, which despite being picked to finish last in their respective regions, each own 4-0 records. None of those wins count toward playoff qualification, though.

That’s why for teams like Cyprus, Logan and Richfield, the focus needs to be higher than it’s been the previous four weeks because they’re all underdogs, according to Parry’s Power Guide heading into their region-opener.