The Bingham and Brighton football teams just can't seem to get enough of each other.
The two southern Salt Lake Valley schools will play each other Friday afternoon in the 5A quarterfinals. Just like they did in the playoffs last year and the year before that.But facing each other in the postseason for the third straight year is really no big deal for these rivals. They've met up in the regular season every year since 1969.
Top-ranked Brighton (9-0) has a commanding edge in the series, 21-10-1. That includes a 35-10 victory over the Miners (6-4) earlier this season and in the quarterfinals last year.
The game the Bengals remember most, no doubt, happened around this time two years ago.
Brighton entered the 1995 playoffs with nine wins, a No.-1 ranking and the "team-to-beat" billing. Sort of sounds familiar, eh? But the Miners went into "The Jungle" as underdogs and came out with an upset victory. It was Brighton's last loss at home.
The Bengals will likely have to go without two-way star Mike Austin on offense. Austin, who scored three touchdowns against the Miners in their first meeting this year, didn't play in the Bengals' rout of Viewmont Saturday because of an injury.
The senior dislocated his finger in practice, and surgery was required because bone broke through skin. He's now wearing a soft cast on his right hand, making it difficult for him to carry the ball. The linebacker will start on defense, though.
The Bengals are still quite potent on offense with speedy Reno Mahe leading the way.
Here's a look at Friday's quarterfinal matchups:
- Bingham (6-4) at Brighton (9-0): Some of the Miners' fathers were playing for Bingham the last time the school had a semifinal football team, back in 1973. It doesn't look good for the Miners to advance this year, either. Mainly because Brighton has only given up 77 points this season. A Miner - make that major - upset probably won't happen this time around.
Parry's Power Guide: Brighton (78.5) over Bingham (53.0).
Genessy's guess: Brighton.
- Northridge (9-1) at Granger (7-3): Can the Cinderella Knights catch up to and then stop Granger's beefy Fahu Tahi before he smashes their glass slippers? If so, Northridge, which was 0-9 last year and had never won a playoff game before last week, will continue its trip into never-never land with a spot in the semifinals. The Lancers haven't been there in a decade. They won the coin toss to get home-field advantage.
Parry's Power Guide: Granger (59.1) over Northridge (57.2).
Genessy's guess: Granger.
- Alta (8-1) at Hunter (9-1): By beating Taylorsville, the third-ranked Hawks got their first playoff win since they took state in '88. Whoever bracketed these playoffs surely didn't do them or the fourth-ranked Wolverines any favors. It's too bad this dandy matchup isn't happening later in the playoffs, what with two of the top five teams and two of the premiere running backs in Alta's Tony Nielsen and Hunter's David Fiefia.
Parry's Power Guide: Alta (73.8) over Hunter (54.9).
Genessy's guess: Alta.
- Orem (6-3) at Skyline (9-1): It's no surprise the fifth-ranked Tigers and second-ranked Eagles are playing each other in the playoffs. "The championship always goes through Skyline," says Orem quarterback Joel Clark. But in the second round? Are you kidding!? Talk about bad luck of the draw. This is the eighth meeting between the two - with the last being in the 1996 5A championship game which Skyline won, of course. Interestingly, it's the first time they'll play on either's home field. Too bad.
Parry's Power Guide: Skyline (78.6) over Orem (68.2).
Genessy's guess: Skyline.
- East (6-3) at Bonneville (8-2), Saturday at 1 p.m.: The Lakers have home-field advantage and are the Region 4 champions. However, the Leopards have a healthy Sione Havili and are the defending 4A state champions. Both teams have been a bit inconsistent but are playing well now. Bonneville hasn't lost to East in three previous meetings.
Parry's Power Guide: East (60.7) over Bonneville (59.5).
Genessy's guess: East.
- American Fork (7-3) at Olympus (8-1): This will be the first-ever meeting for these two schools, even though Oly has been around since 1953 and A.F. since 1908. They both picked on teams from each other's region last week - the Titans trounced Payson and the Cavemen crushed Murray - and look to be pretty evenly matched. Neither school has been to the semis since 1984. Olympus has the defensive edge; the third-ranked Titans are allowing just 10 points a game.
Parry's Power Guide: Olympus (65.7) over American Fork (55.1).
Genessy's guess: Olympus.
- Box Elder (7-3) at Highland (10-0): The last time these two tangled, way back in 1968, the Bees lost to the Rams by the score of 7-0. Box Elder should count its lucky stars if it can keep it that close this time around. The top-ranked Rams are averaging 47.5 points while allowing 8.7 a game. The way Utah and BYU have been playing, Highland just may be the single best football team in the state. No offense intended, Dixie College.
Parry's Power Guide: Highland (90.1) over Box Elder (59.8).
Genessy's guess: Highland.
- West (5-5) at Timpview (7-2): The second-ranked Thunderbirds are healthier and had probably their best game of the season against Murray last week. But don't be fooled by the Panthers' mediocre record. West, which won its state-high 500th game last week, is getting stronger and more dangerous by the week. And the Panthers would love some revenge for last year's 30-7 semifinal loss to Timpview.
Parry's Power Guide: Timpview (67.6) over West (58.0).
Genessy's guess: Timpview.
Friday's 2A quarterfinal
- Grand (7-3) at Juab (10-0): The top-ranked Wasps have stung opponents with an average of 45.9 points a game. The Red Devils will need a Grand effort to return to the semis for the first time since 1984.
Parry's Power Guide: Juab (42.6) over Grand (24.6).
Genessy's guess: Juab.
High school football playoffs
CLASS 5A QUARTERFINALS
Bingham (6-4) at Brighton (9-0), Fri., 4 p.m.
Northridge (9-1) at Granger (7-3), Fri., 3 p.m.
Alta (8-1) at Hunter (9-1), Fri., 3:30 p.m.
Orem (6-3) at Skyline (9-1), Fri., 3 p.m.
CLASS 4A QUARTERFINALS
East (6-3) at Bonneville (8-2), Sat., 1 p.m.
Am. Fork (7-3) at Olympus (8-1), Fri., 2 p.m.
Box Elder (7-3) at Highland (10-0), Fri., 2 p.m.
West (5-5) at Timpview (7-2), Fri., 4 p.m.
CLASS 3A QUARTERFINALS
Sn. Canyon (7-2) at Morgan (10-0), Sat., 1 p.m.
Delta (7-1) at Lehi (10-0), Sat., 1 p.m.
Ogden (5-5) at Emery (6-3), Sat., 1 p.m.
Ben Lomond (6-3) at Cedar (9-1), Sat., 1 p.m.
CLASS 2A QUARTERFINALS
Manti (8-2) at San Juan (9-1), Sat., 1 p.m.
Grantsville (8-2) at Millard (10-0), Sat., 3 p.m.
S. Summit (3-7) at N. Summit (6-4), Sat., noon
Grand (7-3) at Juab (10-0), Fri., 7 p.m.