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Felt's Facts: Which high school plays the most out-of-state football games?

Pleasant Grove plays Corner Canyon in a football game at Corner Canyon High School in Draper on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. Corner Canyon won 40-30. The Chargers will host a team from American Samoa this season.
Pleasant Grove plays Corner Canyon in a football game at Corner Canyon High School in Draper on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. Corner Canyon won 40-30. The Chargers will host a team from American Samoa this season.
Kristin Murphy

Over the past several seasons, Week 2 and Week 3 have featured the highest concentration of games against out-of-state opponents. This year is no exception as 20 of the 32 contests against non-Utah teams take place this week (nine games) and next (11 games).

Monument Valley and Whitehorse play six of those games competing as independents against other Navajo Nation schools. Excluding their schedules, 17 of this season’s 26 battles versus non-Utah teams are contested the next two weeks.

Another seven are played during Week 4. That week, two schools see their first-ever action against an out-of-state opponent. Corner Canyon, in its sixth season, not only faces a non-Utah opponent, but a team located outside the 50 states and over 5,300 miles away. The Chargers host Tafuna High from Pago Pago, American Samoa, on Sept. 7. That’s the farthest any team has ever traveled to play football in Utah.

Meanwhile, Summit Academy, in its seventh year, visits Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa, California), also Sept. 7, for its first trip across state lines.

This season, Orem plays four non-Utah schools over consecutive weeks, starting this Friday. That’s a rarity in Utah football. Excluding Monument Valley and Whitehorse and their predominantly out-of-state opponents, only Hurricane (1975) and Rich (1990) have experienced that kind of schedule.

Some teams seek out-of-state competition for geographical reasons, others as a test against non-Utah powers and still others because they’re unable to schedule an in-state opponent one particular week. But 10 schools currently fielding teams haven’t seen the need to take on a non-Utah school.

Three of those, Farmington, Skyridge and Wayne, have been playing football for less than 10 seasons. But Murray has gone 101 years without facing an out-of-state team, South Sevier has gone 64, Bountiful, 63, Kearns, 53, Timpanogos, 23, Salem Hills, 11 and Maple Mountain, 10.

Last year, Utah teams compiled a 19-23 record against out-of-state squads. The all-time record against non-Utah opponents is 1,213-1,004-69 (.546). That’s 2,286 games since West (then known as Salt Lake High) tied Denver East 0-0 in 1899 in the first contest involving a non-Utah foe.

Those 2,286 games equal just over 7 percent of all Utah prep contests.

The top 10 schools that have played the most games against non-Utah foes:

  • Grand County, 179 games (44 of those have been against Montezuma-Cortez, Colo.)
  • Whitehorse, 128
  • San Juan, 125
  • Monument Valley, 122
  • Hurricane, 96
  • Monticello, 89
  • Dixie, 84
  • Rich, 77
  • Carbon, 65
  • Logan 60

The top 10 out-of-state opponents:

  • Preston, Idaho, 139 games. (The Indians were included in a Northern Utah region for 15 seasons from 1925 to 1939 and won region titles in 1925 and 1927. Although Preston was never a real threat to win a state championship, the possibility existed that a non-Utah school could have won a Utah football state title.)
  • Lincoln County (Panaca, Nevada), 117
  • Moapa Valley (Overton, Nevada), 115
  • White Pine (Ely, Nevada), 81
  • Virgin Valley (Mesquite, Nevada), 78
  • Grand Junction (Colorado), 74
  • Montezuma-Cortez (Colorado), 60
  • Pocatello, 53
  • Rangely (Colorado) 50
  • Las Vegas, 41

First-time matchups

A dozen of this week’s games feature first-time pairings and five of those involve non-state battles. Two come in the Rocky Mountain Rumble in Pocatello, Idaho, where Orem plays Century (Pocatello, Idaho) and Skyline faces Skyline (Idaho Falls).

Other out-of-state, first-time meetings include Canyon View playing Kingman Academy (Arizona) in Flagstaff, Arizona; Dixie visiting Legacy (North Las Vegas, Nevada) and Jordan traveling to Pittsburgh (California).

The seven first-time meetings between in-state teams: Bonneville at Green Canyon; Lone Peak at Skyridge; Northridge at Farmington; Ogden at Enterprise; Summit Academy at Grantsville; Syracuse at Herriman; and Taylorsville at Lehi.

Week 2’s most-played rivalries

Three of the top 10 most-played rivalries are contested this week. Box Elder hosts Bear River in the Golden Spike game. It’s the 98th meeting since 1923 and represents the longest uninterrupted series, the most-played active rivalry and the third-longest series overall. Box Elder leads the series, 69-26-2. Last year, Bear River broke a six-game losing streak to the Bees.

Also, Springville entertains Spanish Fork for their 92nd matchup, the eighth most-played rivalry. Springville leads this one, 47-41-3, since 1920 and has taken five straight from the Dons.

Beaver and Kanab tangle for the 90th time, this year in Kanab. Beaver controls the series 51-38. Since the series began in 1950, the two teams failed to meet only in 1951, ’55, and ’56. Beaver is on an eight-game winning streak against the Cowboys.

Another long-running series pits San Juan at Monticello. They play for the 68th time but the first since 2014, with San Juan leading 44-21-2.

A couple of game feature teams that meet for the 59th time: Richfield at South Sevier – Richfield dominates the series 40-18 since 1920 – and South Summit at Morgan – Morgan controls the series 34-23-1 since 1942.

Weber hosts Roy in the 54th Battle for the Shield. Roy leads the series 30-23 although Weber snapped a six-game losing streak to the Royals last season.

In another long-running series, Davis invades Viewmont in their 51st since 1946. Davis commands the series, 35-14-1.

Howdy stranger

Two other games pair teams that haven’t met in at least five seasons: Brighton at Layton, who last faced off in 2002 and Highland at Pine View, who last clashed in 2010.

Milestone games

Cole Meacham directs his 200th contest at Manti (since 2000) and Erik Thompson coaches his 150th game in stints at Northridge (138 games from 2004-16) and Ogden (11 games since 2017).


Timpview suffered a shutout for the first time since 2006 – a span of 150 games. That was the fourth-longest current streak and remains the sixth-longest in state history. Incidentally, Bingham is the current leader in consecutive scoring games (176 since 2005), followed by Jordan (158 since 2004), Juan Diego (also 158, but since 2005), Skyview (146 since 2005) and Lone Peak (138 since 2007). Skyline is the all-time leader – 262 scoring games from 1987-2007.

Taylorville has scored in 25 straight games and ties its school record by scoring at Lehi this week.

Ogden blanked a foe for the first time since 2012 (55 games ago). Just a dozen schools have gone longer without shutting out an opponent.

State record tied

Last week, Snow Canyon’s Carson Holyoak became just the 19th Utah prep player to return an interception 100 yards. His electrifying return, in overtime, gave SC a 35-29 victory over Taylorsville.

Time-shortened games

Speaking of electrifying, a record six games were cut short because of weather (the previous record was two on one day in 1945). As of press time, five were considered complete contests and are included in the schools’ win-loss record. A decision about the other one, Bear River at Juan Diego, was still being discussed by coaches and administrators of those schools. That game was halted at halftime with Bear River leading 14-7.

The ones that do count:

  • Juab 54, Delta 6 (fourth quarter)
  • Highland 14, Desert Hills 7 (third quarter)
  • Olympus 47, Cottonwood 0 (half)
  • Tooele 28, Uintah 0 (9:44 remaining in second quarter – the only time in Utah prep history that a game as been counted as completed game without the teams playing at least one half)
  • Wasatch 13, Park City 7 (third quarter)

Before Friday, there had been just 17 time-shortened games since 1893 that counted as complete contests.