Every year, there is a handful of defining games that give prep football fans a glimpse of things to come in the playoffs.
As it turns out, the Week 7 schedule features four of those juggernaut games:
Fremont (6-0) at Northridge (6-0)
The only way this 5A game could be bigger is if the calender read Oct. 22 instead of Oct. 1. With a pair of 6-0 teams featuring high-octane offenses, this matchup has game-of-the-year written all over it.
While both coaches will insist defense is key, the outcome may rest squarely on a pair of quarterbacks' shoulders.
No one is having a bigger season than Fremont quarterback Joel Hancock, who leads the state with 1,860 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. Northridge counters with T.J. Canales, a U.S. Army All-America candidate whose 1,312 yards and 11 touchdowns are among the state's best.
"A lot of our passing schemes are the same, they're just a lot more dedicated to passing than we are," said Northridge coach Erik Thompson. "And they should be; they have three big-play receivers who are 6-foot-3 and make acrobatic catches."
Northridge doesn't rely quite as heavily on the pass, instead choosing to get the ball in the hands of running backs Bryant Eteuati and Blake Wellard.
"I really think the game will come down to big plays on special teams and turnovers," said Thompson.
Springville (6-0) at Timpview (5-0)
With apologies to Highland, the winner of this game has to be the favorite heading into the state tournament later this month.
"We've tried to focus on one game at a time, and we've done a pretty good job of that, but at the same time we've had this game in the back of our minds for a long time knowing it was going to be a big game," said Springville coach Doug Bills. "Of course we do have other game after this one, but if we don't win this one we're not going to be region champs, that's for sure."
Beating Timpview won't be easy, and it isn't just because of the offense.
The T-Birds' defense is surrendering a paltry 5.5 points per game, a far cry from the 37 points they're scoring.
If Stephen Covey, Harvey Unga and Luke Ashworth find their groove, Springville could be in trouble. At the same time, if the Red Devils can establish the run with Trevyn Smith, the outcome may come down to the final possession.
"This is a game I know our kids have been looking forward to playing, and it will be a good test for us," said Timpview coach Chad Van Orden. "Our kids know Springville is a quality team, and they're very capable of giving us trouble."
Juan Diego (6-0) at Juab (6-0)
With top-ranked and defending state champ Manti looming down the road for both teams, neither can take the 2A North title with a win — but they can lose it.
First-year coach Mike Bowring has elevated the Wasps back to respectability with his subtly complex offensive schemes and solid defense.
Quarterback Shane Blackett is the key to it all. After a broken leg ended his season prematurely last year, the senior is enjoying a stellar with 12 touchdown passes and a 51 percent completion percentage.
Juan Diego will be playing without star wide receiver Marquis Wilson. He's suspended indefinitely for getting into a fight with fellow student, who needed surgery to repair damage to his face, cheek and eye socket.
The Soaring Eagle should be fine without out Wilson. Of their six wins this year, Wilson's only major contribution came in a big victory last week.
Enterprise (5-1) at Monticello (4-1)
Last year, ex-Monticello coach Mike Bowring and ex-Enterprise coach Randy Hunter patrolled the sidelines in the Class 1A championship game. The scenery has changed drastically this year with Seth Giddings taking over at Monticello and Dustin Pearce at Enterprise.
Enterprise's only loss this year was a 14-7 loss to Class 2A's Beaver. In their five victories, the Wolves are averaging 40.2 points, while the defense is only surrendering 8.2 points.
Monticello's lone loss occurred four weeks ago, when it dropped a 27-7 game to Class 2A's San Juan. Buckaroos' running back Wes Hawkins is one of the most explosive runners in 1A.
BIG GAMES: There are some obvious marquee games this week, but a handful of other games are very intriguing: Lehi (4-2) hosts Delta (4-2) in a game that may ultimately determine the Region 8 champion . . . In 4A action, Box Elder (3-2) travels to Mountain Crest (3-3) is what should be a very competitive Region 4 game . . . When Olympus (3-3) hosts Highland (6-0), the Rams might be ripe for an upset, particularly if QB Bo McNally doesn't play because of an injury.
MILESTONES: Murray's Keeko Georgelas is seeking his 50th coaching victory . . . Ben Lomond's Art Burtenshaw is coaching his 200th game (a majority of which were at San Juan), while Rhett Jackson is coaching his 100th . . . Cyprus is gunning for the school's 300th victory . . . Uintah is playing its 500th game.
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 Jess Collins of Salt Lake City, who won $50. He was one of 848 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: Mike Cisneros, Huntington; Rob Eckles, Salt Lake City; Javier Rodriguez, Spanish Fork; Steve Pimper, South Jordan; Jason Wootton, Cedar Hills; Kristal Hinck, Richfield.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday afternoon for publication in Tuesday's paper.