Life at the top can be lonely, but satisfying. Just ask Skyline, Olympus, Cedar City, Grantsville and Milford - top teams in the Deseret News preseason high school football rankings.
"It's not an enviable position. Every week someone is coming after you," said Skyline assistant Steve Marlowe. "We don't really put much emphasis on it. It's just a ranking."Or is it more?
"I think the top ranking is sometimes the kiss of death," said Grantsville coach Kevin Butler. "There is still a lot of football to be played."
However, such recognition can be good and bad, according to Milford coach Franklin Bramall and Olympus coach Tom Larson.
"I wish you wouldn't give us that kiss of death, but I do think we might have the best team," Bramall said. "We'll try to hold it up."
Added Larson: "It's exciting for the kids and great for the school. Rankings don't mean a lot unless we can keep it that way in November."
Indeed, timing may be everything.
"I just wonder who in the world is picking us No. 1," said Cedar City coach Todd Peacock. "To be honest, I don't think we are the No. 1 team right now. We're a contender and we'll be all right, but not No. 1."
However, Peacock said his troops will deal with the early recognition.
"I think it puts pressure on us," he said. "But we have the type of kids who can handle it."
The high school football season kicks off this week with all five rankings leaders beginning play Friday.
Skyline and Olympus, long-time rivals, will play for the "rock" in the top opening game pitting the state's top 5A and 4A squads. Meanwhile, Cedar City, Grantsville and Milford face openers against higher classification opponents. The Redmen entertain Hunter, the Cowboys visit Pine View and the Tigers play host to Parowan.