As the 2023 high school football season nears its midway point, here are five of the most intriguing games on tap in Week 5.

Desert Hills at Crimson Cliffs

There’s always intrigue with a state championship rematch, but then when you add a rivalry component such as Desert Hills vs. Crimson Cliffs, suddenly you have an outstanding Week 5 showdown to look forward to.

Crimson Cliffs beat Desert Hills in the regular season last year 21-14, but the Thunder got the last laugh in the title game, rolling to the 30-14 win.

Based on its early season success, Crimson Cliffs should be favored this week. It has a win over 5A’s Springville under its belt already and nearly beat 6A’s Bingham as well.

Desert Hills has played an equally tough schedule, but the results weren’t nearly as favorable in a 20-point loss to Brighton and a 17-point loss to Lehi — two teams ranked in the top five of their respective classification.

In reality though, throw all that out the window. This is a rivalry game that is quickly becoming the most exciting in southern Utah and has all the makings of a must-see game for high school football fans.

Ridgeline at Sky View

At the other end of the state, another rivalry will help bring more clarity to the front-runners of the new-look 4A.

Ridgeline and Sky View are both 4-0 heading into their Week 5 matchup, and both appear to have championship moxie again after a relatively down year for both programs in 2022, despite tying for the Region 11 title.

Fast-forward to this season and both have several statement wins under their belt. Sky View has double-digit wins over Wasatch, Morgan and Fremont, while Ridgeline beat Bonneville, Riverton and Stansbury.

Both could easily add hardware to their trophy case this season, and the winner this Friday will have early bragging rights as the Region 11 front-runner and one of 4A’s best.

The matchup to watch is Sky View’s explosive offense against Ridgeline’s stout defense. If Sky View gets rolling, Ridgeline likely doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep pace.

Corner Canyon at Syracuse

Syracuse has enjoyed a great start to the season, and it’s easy to see why it was pegged as the Region 1 front-runner. Week 5 represents an entirely different challenge, though.

Since Eric Kjar took over as Corner Canyon head coach in 2017, his teams have pretty much destroyed Region 1 competition whenever they’ve met. In fact, just last week his team trounced Farmington 42-3.

Back in the 2019 quarterfinals, Corner Canyon beat Syracuse 56-0.

History says Syracuse has no chance, which might be true, but Friday’s game is an opportunity coach Mike Knight is excited for his players to have.

A blueprint from a Region 1 team does exist about how to try to beat Corner Canyon. In last year’s 6A semifinals, Farmington led Corner Canyon 28-24 late in the third quarter. Momentum changed in a blink though as the Chargers scored 14 points in 90 seconds on a kickoff return and blocked kick return.

To have any hope, Syracuse can’t afford to give up the big plays, while offensively it must create several itself.

Enterprise at Duchesne

There are three 1A teams among the 18 in Utah who are still undefeated heading into Week 5, and two of them just happen to clash this Friday.

Enterprise has only faced one test this year, which it passed with ease in a 34-20 Week 3 win over Emery.

Duchesne, meanwhile, has played in a close game every week, trailing in the second half in three of its four wins. Ironically enough, the only game it didn’t trail in the second half against was last week’s 20-0 statement victory over previous 1A No. 1 Beaver.

Friday’s winner will vault to the front of the pack in 1A, even though both still face fellow 1A unbeaten Kanab later in the season.

Duchesne and Enterprise didn’t play each other once from 2012 to 2018, but in the four years since, they’ve squared off five times, including a 2019 quarterfinal game. Duchesne is 4-1 in those five matchups, but Enterprise won last year’s game 16-0 and that confidence could give it a leg up in Week 5.

Bingham at American Fork

A one-win Bingham team traveling to undefeated American Fork doesn’t seem all that interesting on paper, but don’t think for a second that the Cavemen are looking ahead to the start of region play.

Bingham went toe to toe with No. 1 Skyridge in Week 4, a game that was tied heading into the fourth quarter before the Falcons prevailed 35-28.

Was it a game where Skyridge simply got too comfortable leading 28-14 at the half, or has Bingham improved that much over the course of a few weeks? The Miners lost to Lone Peak 27-7 in Week 1, barely beat Crimson Cliffs 26-23 in Week 2 and then were humbled in Week 3 on their home field by Mater Dei, California — currently ranked No. 1 nationally, according to MaxPreps.

Bingham’s near miss against Skyridge should give it plenty of confidence traveling to American Fork to face a team it actually beat last season 28-10.

A year ago, American Fork’s offense only averaged 22.3 ppg, but through four weeks this season it is averaging nearly six touchdowns per game. It will look to continue that explosiveness to build even more positivity heading into Region 3 play next week.