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Football matchups marked by missing, healing players

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Skyline's quarterback is back, Logan's is out. Two Kearns starters are out for good, while two Alta starters are likely out for one week.

Heading into a critical high school football weekend with many exciting games on tap, some coaches have been thrown for a loop.

"It's hard to replace the state leader in touchdowns," said Logan coach Mike Favero about his senior quarterback Ben Macey.

Macey strained the MCL on his left knee last Friday, and will be sidelined for four weeks. The timing couldn't be worse as the up-start Grizzlies prepare for a critical Region 4 showdown with visiting Bonneville.

At the same time, Skyline quarterback Mitch Reid is expected to play against Kearns Friday. Coach Roger DuPaix said Reid practiced lightly on Wednesday, and didn't show any noticeable affects from the viral spinal meningitis that hospitalized him for a few days last week.

While Skyline received a bonus, Kearns will be shorthanded for the rest of the year.

Two Kearns starters, including its starting center, have been suspended from school after getting involved in a gang fight at the school last Thursday.

"I can accept injuries as part of the game, but when they go out and do dumb things, it really hurts the team," said Kearns coach Doug Bills. "Luckily it was just two, it could've been worse."

The Cougars were able to overcome those voids in beating Granger last week, but it's an entirely different situation heading into Skyline.

Alta will also be without two starting defensive lineman when it travels to Hillcrest because of an altercation at school this week. Matt Green was suspended Tuesday, and Jordan Eka was expected to be suspended Thursday.

While suspensions and injuries may have dampened some intriguing match-ups, this Friday still has the potential to be the most exciting to date this high school football season.

In Class 3A, No. 1 Pine View visits No. 2 Snow Canyon in game that could ultimately determine the Region 9 champ.

" It's kind of like two neighbors going at it," said Snow Canyon coach Jay Graft. "It will be fun, and it will be one the community will be talking about for the rest of the year."

The Southern Utah battle isn't the only match-up of undefeated teams. Early Region 2 bragging rights are at stake when fourth-ranked and undefeated Alta travels to undefeated Hillcrest.

"Alta's a big game for us, but we have a long region schedule to go," said Hillcrest coach Bruce Takeno. "We're certainly not looking to peak with Alta."

While that may be the case, many aren't convinced Hillcrest is a legitimate contender because it hasn't beaten anyone difficult yet. Alta coach Mitch Lunak isn't one of those doubters, even though he expects to win.

"I think they're a very good football team. But I think if they bring their A-game, and we bring our A-game, we will win the football game," said Lunak.

DID YOU KNOW?: Two of the top 10 most played rivalries resume their long-time battles Friday night. Payson and Spanish Fork will be meeting for the 83rd time, which makes it the sixth most-played in the state. Milford and Parowan will be playing for the 75th time, which is the 10th most-played.

South Summit and North Summit will battling it out for Summit County bragging rights this Friday in the 70th meeting between the schools. The Braves lead 39-27-3 since 1942.

UNBEATENS: Through five weeks, 14 teams are still undefeated. They are: Clearfield, Northridge, Hillcrest, Alta, Hunter, Box Elder, Bountiful, Snow Canyon, Pine View, Juan Diego, Manti, Kanab, Millard and Monticello.

By contrast, 12 teams are still searching for their first win. They are: Granger, Woods Cross, Payson, Provo, Mountain View, Emery, Cedar, Granite, Wasatch, Richfield, North Sevier and Monument Valley.

GAME TIME CHANGE: The game time for next week's Highland at Olympus game has been changed to 4 p.m. so it won't conflict with the University of Utah's 8 p.m. game with Oregon. East is also hosting Bountiful that night, but the teams haven't officially made any time change yet.

ATTENTION COACHES: A reminder to home coaches to please call the Deseret Morning News with the information from your game as soon as possible after the final whistle. The newspaper's local number is 237-2161; long-distance is 1-800-688-2161.

E-mail: jedward@desnews.com