SYRACUSE -- When the Syracuse Titans load the bus on Friday to prepare for the state 5-A football championship game at Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium, they'll take the hopes of Region 1, which hasn't claimed the top crown in eight years.
The Davis Darts won the title in 2004. Since then, powerful Region 1 has had a team in the top classification final four of the past five years without bringing the trophy home.
The Titans, under coach Russ Jones, think this is their year and are primed to put their perfect record on the line. And their hometown fans do too.
Defensive-minded Syracuse will meet high-scoring Jordan at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, the middle game of the state title tripleheader.
Dixie and Spanish Fork meet in the 11 a.m. final for 3-A. In the nightcap, Mountain Crest and Timpview meet at 6:30 p.m. for the 4-A crown.
"We believed that we could win even when the whole state doubted us," Syracuse all-around performer Diante Mitchell said last Friday after the Titans stopped Bingham to earn a spot in the final. "The state didn't believe that we could do it," but the kids and Syracuse community did."
The Beetdiggers (11-1) led the state in scoring while the Titans (12-1) allow about 9 points per contest. While noone is expecting a shutout, Syracuse did post four shutouts this season.
In the 4-A final, Timpview (5) and Mountain Crest (2) have won their share of titles since 2001.
In the 2012 playoffs, the Mustangs have yielded just 12 points over three games, and may have the edge there.
In the 3-A final, Spanish Fork and Dixie survived quarterfinal and semifinal battles to earn their spots in Friday's spotlight.