The 117th season of Utah prep football opens Friday with 48 games involving, of course, 96 teams, the most ever to play in an Endowment Game.
Three schools, Maple Mountain, Stansbury and Westlake, begin gridiron programs, the most since 1997 when Canyon View, Enterprise and Lone Peak started their programs.
No East vs. West?
One unintended and stunning consequence of this year's realignment resulted from separating East and West not only into different regions, but into different classifications.
The two chose not to meet during the preseason and so for the first time since 1914, a span of 109 games, the Leopards and Panthers won't meet. While East-West is still Utah's most-played rivalry, it no longer has status as the longest uninterrupted rivalry.
That honor passes to Box Elder-Logan who face off on Oct. 16 for the 91st straight time since 1919.
By placing teams in the same regions, realignment did renew some rivalries including Box Elder-Ogden (last met in 1996) and three series that hadn't been played since 2000: Beaver-Parowan, Delta-Richfield and North Sanpete-Richfield.
When Maple Mountain plays at Stansbury, it'll be the first time since 1925 that two new programs have met in the inaugural game for both schools. It's just the eighth time that has happened in Utah prep history.
It almost happened last year when Salem Hills started its gridiron history by facing Desert Hills, but it was the DH's second-ever game. Back in 1953, Olympus began its program playing Ben Lomond, also a new school, but it was the Scot's second game.
Logan and Bear River clash for the 78th time; Logan leads the series 47-23-3 since 1925.
Box Elder plays Weber for the 70th time; the Bees lead 50-16-3 going back to 1922.
Millard and North Sanpete meet for the 52nd time; Millard leads 45-5-1 since 1933.
Wasatch and Grantsville battle for the 50th time; the Wasps lead 33-15-1 since 1951.
As usual, realignment and the opening of new schools create opportunities for a number of first-time meetings: Copper Hills at Syracuse, Hurricane at Skyline, Juneau-Douglas (Alaska) at Pine View, Riverton at Lehi, Salem Hills at Orem, Stansbury at Maple Mountain and Westlake at Delta.
In addition, Cedar and American Fork haven't met since 1983 and Ogden plays Murray for the first time since 1991 and just the ninth time overall since 1924. Cottonwood and Alta face off for the first time since 1994. Bingham last clashed with Viewmont in the regular season in 1973 although the two met in a playoff game in 2000. Cyprus and Provo met in a 1999 playoff contest but haven't played a regular-season game against each other since 1940. West Jordan and Granger last met in 2000.
Winning and Losing Streaks
As Timpview tries to extend its state-record 36-game winning streak, Juan Diego has the second longest current streak with 14 straight wins. In third is Alta with nine followed by Monument Valley with six, then North Sevier and North Summit with four. American Fork, Clearfield and Hillcrest are the only other teams that didn't lose their final game last season but those three didn't make the playoffs.
American Leadership has the longest current losing streak, 18 games, followed by Murray, 17, and Carbon, 16.
In pass-happy Cache County, two quarterbacks have a shot at breaking some career passing records. Sky View senior Kyler Carlsen has thrown for 4,214 yards and 41 TDs over two seasons and he'd have to match those marks this year to break records. That seems unlikely, but a 2,000-yard, 30-TD pass season would move him into the top-five all-time.
Meanwhile, Mountain Crest's junior-QB Alex Kuresa likely won't break any career records this year, but could challenge for several records as a senior if he continues to at least play as he did as a sophomore.
Alta's Vance "Moose" Bingham kicked 63 extra points last season and if the vaunted Hawk offense continues to score like last year, he also could move into the top-five all- time in Career Extra Points. Pine View's Riley Stephenson set the record of 194 over four years from 2002-05.
Jordan celebrates its 100th season of football, Spanish Fork No. 90, Rich No. 80, Beaver No. 70, Kanab No. 60, Bonneville No. 50, Cottonwood No. 40, Mountain View No. 30, Rich No. 25, Gunnison and Hunter No. 20 and Juan Diego No. 10.
Judge Memorial is going for its 400th victory and Rich for school win No. 140.
This Friday, Todd Peacock will coach his 200th game for Cedar where he's been since 1991.
Blaine Monkres, in his second season at Dixie, is starting his 20th season overall. Only 39 others have coached 20 seasons or more in Utah prep football history. Five coaches are starting their 10th year. Ashley Brown (Rich), Clint Christiansen (South Sevier, Provo and Stansbury), Jeff Kilts (Lehi, Bear River and Ben Lomond), Cole Meacham (Manti) and Marshall Sherriff (Millard) join just 147 others who have coached at least 10 seasons.
Is Pocatello's Highland Rams, Idaho's defending Class 5A champion, making a move to compete in Utah fulltime?
Highland plays its first three games and four of its nine regular-season contests against Utah teams – vs. Timpview on Aug. 28, at Judge on Sept. 4, vs. Highland on Sept. 12 and vs. Juan Diego on Oct. 1.
Is more widespread use of the spread offense responsible for more prolific scoring? Or is because most teams are playing at least one more game?
Six of the teams that rank in the top-50 highest scoring offenses played last year, including Cottonwood (539 points), Juan Diego (516), Timpview (504), Bingham (500), Alta (496) and Hurricane (470).
Twenty-seven of the top-50 most prolific scoring teams have played in the nine seasons beginning in 2000.
this trivia tidbit: Class 2A is divided into East and West instead of the usual North-South appellations. The last time those terms were used was in 1928, when Region 2 had an Eastern and a Western division.