MORGAN -- There's a feeling among high school football aficionados that the Morgan Trojans are the preeminent team in the new, smaller 3-A. From media members to opposing coaches, the Trojans are everyone's darling.
Even their rivals are chipping in.
"From what I understand about Morgan, they better win it," Bear River coach Chris Wise said.
For years the Trojans have been numbered among the state's elite, but year after year they struggle getting past the first or second round in the playoffs. So what's changed everyone's minds?
"Maybe since we've been so competitive with schools bigger than us, they think now that we're playing schools our own size we should do alright," Morgan coach Kovi Christiansen said. "Our skill guys are pretty good and we like what we have on defense. If we can just find five guys who want to hit somebody on the line we could be decent.
"I think the biggest thing is that (the new 3-A classification) matches our depth with other people's depth," Christiansen added. "There have been years that I would put our first 11 up against anybody's first 11. But throughout the course of a game, we'd use our second and third string guys and there'd be a huge drop off with our team compared to the Hurricanes and Spanish Forks that have three or four kids at each position that can play at a varsity level where we've had one.
"Or we've had one lineman roaming between five different spots. So that's what I like most about it. It's going to be a more even playing field as far as depth goes."
But perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves.
The Trojans have yet to play a game, so it's no use anointing them champions just yet. When the regular season ends, it's true that there won't be a Hurricane or Spanish Fork blocking their path. But Christiansen knows that no champions have been crowned in August.
"(Our players) are grounded right now because they haven't proven anything" he said. "They're not looking past anybody. They know they're going to be in a battle each week. They haven't done anything to be comfortable and I remind them of that all the time. We remind them that there's a potential to be good, but they haven't done anything yet."
In order to reach their full capacity, the Trojans will rely on a stable filled with skill players. From returning quarterback Ben Saunders to running backs Kade Carrigan, Ben Holland and Matt Murdock, the Trojans are talented in a variety of positions.
Add in receivers Bridger Streadbeck and Bobby Cluff and it may just be one of the more explosive offenses Morgan has fielded in years, both on the ground and through the air.
But it all hinges on whether the Trojans' admittedly thin offensive line can come through. Kyle Stapley, who is being recruited by colleges all over the country, is a terrific talent, but he can't guard everyone by himself.
"Stapley's really the only one with any varsity experience," Christiansen said. "But we're training a couple of sophomores to step in, and there's a couple of juniors we hope will step up as well, but there's really not a lot of depth as far as experience."
Delta comes to town on Friday. For years, the Rabbits have been in a similar situation as the Trojans: an excellent regular season team that struggles to match up against deeper teams from larger schools. It should be a good first test for both.