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Winning this game may be a bad omen

If history repeats itself, the winner of tonight's Manti at Juan Diego game is doomed to a second-place trophy later in the year.

In 2002, Manti beat Juan Diego in a regular-season matchup, only to lose to the Soaring Eagle in the 2A state championship game. In 2003, those roles reversed as Juan Diego enjoyed the meaningless victory, while Manti hoisted the state championship trophy.

Regardless of whether the trend continues this year, either No. 1 Manti or No. 2 Juan Diego is about to suffer its first loss.

"Even if it wasn't two undefeated teams, and all that other stuff, our kids really enjoy playing against Juan Diego," said Manti coach Cole Mecham. "It's a challenge they like."

The 2A North championship is also at stake with both teams entering the game with 4-0 records.

"Offensively we need to hang onto the ball, and defensively we've got to take away their big plays," said Mecham.

Juan Diego is known for being a big-play team, and with wide receiver Marquis Wilson returning after a two-game suspension, that big-play potential is even greater.

Manti quarterback Taylor Salanoa is capable of turning in his own big plays, whether it's on the ground or through the air.

BIG GAMES: Hunter visits Skyline in a rematch of last year's 5A state championship, won by Hunter 23-15. In Region 1, Davis can clinch a share of the Region 1 championship by beating Clearfield. Olympus can earn a share of the Region 5 title with a win over Bountiful.

NOTES: A Cottonwood victory against Kearns would assure the Colts of their first winning season in 15 years, snapping the fifth longest losing streak in state history . . . Spanish Fork's NickWelsh returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown last week, becoming just the 13th player in state history to do so . . . Hunter's Wes Wilcken is seeking his 50th coaching victory . . . Logan is playing in its 750th game, while Milford is playing its 500th.

PICKS ON THE WEB: Try your hand at picking the winners of 12 prep football games each week in the Deseret Morning News Grid Picks. Last week's winner was Susan Walker of Salt Lake City, who won $50. She was one of 713 entrants. Submit your predictions through the Prep Sports page at deseretnews.com/preps. Six runners-up from last week each will receive a Grid Picks T-shirt: Kendall Pead, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Emery Benally, Mesa, Ariz.; Sheila Barton, Richfield; Steve Gledhill, West Jordan; Landon Nielsen, Nephi; Randy Tree, Kearns.

PREPS ON THE WEB: Can't wait for the nightly scores? Log on to www.deseretnews.com/preps to see the scores as soon as the Deseret Morning News receives the information from the coaches. While there, check out the state's most comprehensive standings, schedules, results and leaders.

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. Coaches and statisticians are also reminded to e-mail offensive yardage statistics to prepstats@desnews.com by Monday afternoon for publication in Tuesday's paper.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com