If you didn't know any better, you might glance at Clearfield's 1-4 record and decide the Falcons are in the midst of a poor season.
Instead, they're feeling good about themselves and their chances to win the Region 1 title.
After a murderous preseason schedule, which included defeats against No. 2 Hunter, No. 4 Bountiful and No. 10 Brighton, and a close league loss to Fremont, Clearfield stood 0-4. Last week, it beat defending 5A champion Davis.
"Our kids have hung in there," said coach Randy Johnson. "They haven't thrown in the towel. We told them to keep confident . . . and we've now stabilized ourselves."
Much of that stability has centered around the quarterback position. The Falcons implemented a spread-option offense during the offseason, and tried to move senior Jordan Paskett from running back to QB.
After defeats to Hunter and Bountiful, Johnson decided to give junior Casey Hill a shot at quarterback. Though the Falcons didn't win for another two weeks, Hill has been improving each week.
As for Paskett, he's done just fine back at his original position, rushing for 349 yards.
"He was kind of relieved, actually," Johnson said of Paskett moving back to running back.
Bountiful and Brighton had already been scheduled for 2005 when Hunter's Wes Wilcken asked Johnson if he'd be interested in a preseason game. Rather than fight with other schools about trying to schedule another contest, Johnson instead opted to pick up the game.
Having played three of the state's elite teams, Johnson hopes his team can use the rough start to its advantage.
"We got a real good taste of where the top teams are," he said.
Clearfield will meet Viewmont on Friday. The Falcons have beaten Viewmont in 10 of their last 11 meetings.
After a nonregion tune-up against Box Elder the following week, they'll close out the regular season with three straight league contests.
"I think we can be a force in this region," said Johnson.
TOP 25 WATCH: Week 5 of the prep football season ushered in massive changes to the Deseret Morning News Top 25 poll.
One of the state's biggest rivalries (Alta-Brighton) created the biggest climb and drop in the rankings. On the heels of its 21-16 win over the Bengals, Alta climbed nine spots to No. 9. Meanwhile, Brighton dropped from No. 2 all the way to 10th.
That defeat allowed Hunter (2), Timpview (3) and Bountiful (4) to each climb up one spot. It also sets up a potential matchup between Nos. 1 and 2 if Bingham and Hunter take care of business this week. The two teams will be meeting in a highly anticipated showdown next Thursday.
Also, four teams climbed back into the Top 25. Mountain View (18), Sky View (19), Jordan (20) and Clearfield (22) were all previously unranked.
REGION TIME: For the first time this season, all 14 regions will be in action as the prep football scene shifts entirely to league play. That trend will continue through the end of the regular season.
COMCAST BROADCAST: The following Week 6 high school football games will be broadcast tape-delayed on Comcast beginning on Saturday: American Fork at Spanish Fork, Provo at Payson, Alta at Hillcrest, Morgan at Park City and Bonneville at Mountain Crest.
Jacob Webb of West Valley City won last week's Deseret Morning News Prep Grid Picks contest. He was one of two entrants who correctly picked winners in 11 of the contest's 12 games; 897 readers entered last week. Webb wins $50 and a Grid Picks T-shirt.
Runners-up for last week's contest are: Bryan Hoag, Tooele; Chris Wright, Hauulan, Hawaii; Jake Childs, Gunnison, Sanpete County; Mary Ann Kirk, Murray; Darryle Rude, Draper; and Bruce Herrin, St. George. They each will receive a Deseret Morning News Grid Picks T-shirt.
Enter this week's contest, until noon Friday, online at deseretnews.com/