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Whitehorse ‘on the road’ for a game in Oklahoma

SHARE Whitehorse ‘on the road’ for a game in Oklahoma

Whitehorse's football team just redefined the phrase "road trip."

The southern Utah school spent 18 hours spanning Wednesday and Thursday on a school bus en route to Oklahoma for its game Friday night at Riverside.

Riverside is a Bureau of Indian Affairs school that has students from around the country enrolled.

It's the second game of a home-and-home series between the two schools. Riverside's journey to Utah was much cozier. When it traveled to Whitehorse last year, it caught a plane into Albuquerque, N.M., and then chartered a bus to Whitehorse.

The 30 Whitehorse players and their contingent of about nine coaches, trainers and managers didn't have that luxury.

When the San Juan school district approved the trip last year, the Whitehorse coaching staff was stunned. They figured there was no way the district would approve such an elaborate trip for a football game. In many ways though, it's as much a chance to share cultures as play football.

One of the district's contingencies when approving the trip was that the kids couldn't miss too much school. To ensure that, the team had to drive straight through with no overnight stay.

The Whitehorse coaching staff diagrammed a perfect road map regarding who would drive the bus and the accompanying suburban loaded with cargo during what stretches of highway. Some parents left as earlier as Tuesday so they'd be well rested when the school bus arrived at their location, and it was their turn to jump behind the steering wheel.

Whitehorse was due to arrive Thursday evening, and was scheduled to spend Thursday and Friday night in the dorms on Riverside's campus. There won't be anytime to heal those aching muscles Saturday either. At the crack of dawn on Saturday, they'll hop back on the yellow bus for the long, 18-hour trek home.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Skyline's student-body officers will present "The Rock" to Olympus' student-body officers at an assembly today at 10:10 a.m. in the Olympus auditorium.

"I've had so many different alumni call and tell me they were going to be there," said Titans' coach Mike Miller.

The Rock is a hunk of granite that doubles as the traveling trophy between the east-bench schools. Skyline has had a stranglehold on the trophy since 1992, but Olympus won it back with a 30-20 victory last week.

HIGHLAND'S TURN?: If Olympus craves beating Skyline more than any other team, then Highland is a close second.

"Highland and Skyline has been as long a rivalry as Olympus and Skyline," said Highland coach Ray Groth. "It is very meaningful for our kids."

The Rams, whose most recent win over Skyline came in 2000, will get their chance this Friday when they travel to Skyline for a 7 p.m. game. Some would argue Olympus stole Highland's window of opportunity, but Groth says anything can happen.

GRANITE'S TURN?: With nothing but 3A opponents ahead, Friday night's game against Class 1A's Duchesne is Granite's last realistic shot at winning a game this season.

Many thought Granite would halt its 30-game losing streak last week when it hosted Enterprise, the top-ranked team in 1A. That didn't happen as the Wolves prevailed 14-0.

"The kids weren't happy about losing, and they shouldn't be," said Granite coach B.J. Hunter. "The mentality that it's OK to lose has been here for too long."

Duchesne is coming off a 16-0 loss to Altamont, and Hunter believes this is Granite's week.

"We're a little bigger and a little quicker than them," he said.

OTHER BIG GAMES: Bear River travels to Box Elder in the annual battle for the Golden Spike. This rivalry is the sixth most-played rivalry in state history, and has been uninterrupted since 1923. The Bees hold a 58-22-2 edge, and have won seven of the last eight meetings. Bear River is ranked first in 3A while Box Elder is No. 4 in 4A. . . . American Fork and Pleasant Grove are meeting for the 69th time, while Viewmont and Bountiful are hooking up for the 39th time.

BUSY NIGHT: In all, there are 51 games involving Utah football teams tonight — the most all season. Eleven teams play out-of-state teams this week, with six heading across Utah's borders. Whitehorse, Canyon View, Rich, Dixie, Monticello and Monument Valley all play games out of state.

MILESTONES: East is gunning for its 450th win all-time when it travels to Granger Friday. Only West, Davis, Box Elder and Millard have reach that many victories. By contrast, both Bonneville and Juab are playing their 450th game Friday night . . . With a win over Weber Friday in the annual battle for the Shield, Roy would start the season 3-0 for the first time since 1975. The Royals started that season 10-0, before losing a semifinal game to Bountiful . . . Logan 0-2 in its quest for the school's 400th victory. It hopes to reach that pinnacle with a win against visiting Olympus.

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