Weber and Fremont High have met in football each year since Fremont opened in 1994. Their first meeting was raw, as one would expect, with friends and former teammates squaring off for county bragging rights.
But not until Thursday has there been a game in the series with so much on the line.
It’s expected to be a standing-room-only crowd with KJZZ cameras Thursday night at Weber High when the Warriors (4-3, 4-0 Region 1) host the Silver Wolves (6-1, 4-0) in what essentially amounts to a Region 1 championship game.
The winner is guaranteed the top seed in the playoffs and, unlike the loser of the game, can clinch an outright region title a week later.
Unlike the 1995 season, when the two teams met with a home playoff game on the line, the loser of this edition is still guaranteed a home playoff game by virtue of head-to-head tiebreakers against Northridge and Davis.
Fremont can now turn its attention to its county rival, the same rival that won the Region 1 championship last year in Plain City and celebrated on the Silver Wolves’ field.
Weber is looking for another statement win in a region campaign full of them following an 0-3 non-region schedule that had some around the state wondering if last year was a one-hit wonder.
The Warriors have outscored their four region opponents 140-13, including 84-0 in two games that have been either televised or streamed (at Syracuse and at Davis).
Part of that comes from a potent linebacker trio — Brandt Opheikens, Tyler Short and Sione Moa — and the other from the emergence of quarterback Kohl Hogan as a dual-threat QB.
Fremont has also raced through its region foes 121-58. Either way, don’t expect this game to be anything but close.
The Silver Wolves have succeeded largely thanks to the steady hand of Mitch Stratford at QB — it helps to have a running back like Jay Scott to take some pressure off — and a very turnover-savvy defense led by Chaedon Dayton, Hunter Burton and Jordan McKean.
Just a bit down the highway from Weber High, another region championship could be decided 24 hours later in another televised game.
Box Elder (6-1, 3-0 Region 5) is visiting Roy (5-2, 2-1), which will be on KMYU. The Bees have the chance of clinching the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and a share of the region title with a win.
They haven’t won a region title since 2004 — a shared title with Mountain Crest which came amid a stretch of three region titles in four years, including a 10-0 regular season in 2003 and an eight-point loss to Mountain Crest in the 2001 state title game.
A Roy win would potentially throw the region into chaos, should Viewmont also win and force a three-way tie for first place with one game remaining.
The Royals are well-versed in region titles recently, having split one with Fremont in 2016 and won one outright in 2014.
Box Elder leads the series 21-11 since 1970 and, just like the Weber-Fremont game, there hasn’t been a game in that time with as much on the line like Friday’s.
This could be a very fast game if both teams stick to their guns — ‘their guns’ meaning around 50 running plays per game. So the onus is on run defense.
Either way, there’s a strong chance two region titles are decided within 24 hours of each other this week. Strap in.
WEEK 8 PREVIEW
Davis at Northridge
This wasn’t the game everyone thought would decide third place in Region 1, but here we are. This is actually Northridge's (4-3, 3-2 Region 1) final region game and a Knights win locks them into third place. A Davis (4-2, 2-2) win snaps a two-game losing run and gives it a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Knights, obviously, but leaves open the possibility of a three-way tie for third place with Northridge and Syracuse, should results pan out that way the next two games.
Clearfield at Syracuse
There's still flickers of playoff life for both squads, but it's only that: flickers. Both Syracuse (1-6, 1-3 Region 1) and Clearfield (1-5, 0-4) need to win, but the Falcons need Davis to lose whereas it would be preferable for the Titans if Davis lost.
Stansbury at Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond (0-7, 0-3 Region 11) can play a bit of spoiler Friday if the Scots knock off Stansbury (5-2, 3-0). The Region 11 championship is the Stallions' to lose.
Bonneville at Tooele
Tooele's (2-5, 1-2 Region 11) defense allows nearly 30 points per game, something Bonneville (3-4, 1-2) might take advantage of if its offense looks anything like it did last week at Ben Lomond. The winner of this one goes into a tie for third place while the loser is a game behind in fifth.
Ogden at Park City
Ogden's (5-2, 2-1 Region 11) next task is on the road against a fast Park City (4-3, 2-1) squad that many think will be dangerous in the playoffs. The winner grabs a stranglehold on second place in the region. The Tigers' five wins this year match the combined win total from the previous five years (5-44).
Farmington at Bountiful
The winner gets a leg up in the battle for fourth place in Region 5 and maybe even third place, depending on other results Friday. Farmington (1-6, 1-2 Region 5) has played very well the past two games and Bountiful (3-4, 1-2) is seven points from being 3-0 in the region. Watch out for Braves defensive lineman Parker Nicoll, who dominated against Woods Cross last week.
Viewmont at Woods Cross
With last week's win over Roy, a region title is still in reach for Viewmont (4-3, 2-1 Region 5). For Woods Cross to pull off an upset, the Wildcats (2-5, 0-3) need to limit turnovers: they've committed 19 this year. Viewmont leads the all-time series 16-15.
Ridgeline at Bear River
Bear River (2-5, 0-3 Region 12) is still in the mix, but only just. The Bears have been close in their region games, but they've been outscored 43-3 in the fourth quarter, something that has to improve.
Morgan at Carbon
A win gives Morgan (5-2, 3-0 3A North) at least a share of the region title. The Trojans have won 17 straight region games dating back to 2015 and this year's staple is the junior-led defense which allows a meager 10.7 points per game.
Layton Christian at Altamont
The all-time series between Layton Christian (2-4, 0-0 1A North) and Altamont (3-4, 0-0) is tied 6-6. What could this year's matchup bring? Probably a lot of rushing attempts. LCA running back Dustin Moffo is coming off his second-straight 200-yard rushing game and Altamont's running game averages 217.9 yards per game.