One of the many things Utah's new high school sports playoff seeding system did was create the possibility of region rivals meeting in the first round of the playoffs.
Once the Utah High School Activities Association started releasing Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings for football, officials from every school district have paid close attention.
The rankings have drawn considerable attention from Ogden School District officials and administrators.
Earlier this year, Ogden High's football team was ranked No. 12 in the 4A football RPI rankings. Ben Lomond was ranked No. 21, which, had the playoffs started that day, would've precipitated a first-round playoff matchup between the two schools held at OHS.
On Oct. 3, Ogden was 13 in RPI and Ben Lomond was 21. As the rankings currently stand, Ogden is 17 and BL is 20.
They wouldn't be matched up in the first round as the rankings currently stand, but that doesn't mean the OSD isn't preparing for it.
"It depends on, first of all, who's the higher seed. If it's at Ben Lomond, we're going to have difficulties," OSD athletic director Jethro Helmbrecht said Wednesday, noting the massive construction project at BLHS would preclude any home football games this year.
"If it's at Ogden High, we'd just have it at Ogden High and see what we could do about additional seating. We want to make sure everyone who shows up to the game is comfortable and enjoys it, not packed and tight."
On one hand, how cool would it be to have both Ogden City high schools playing each other in the playoffs? Multiply the Iron Horse atmosphere by five and that's how the playoff atmosphere would probably be.
Since 1970, Ogden and Ben Lomond have met three times in state play-in games in 1993, 2001 and 2003. They also met in the 1997 state semifinals, a 27-21 BLHS win.
On the other hand, a hypothetical first-round matchup, likely at Ogden High if anywhere, would bring its own set of challenges.
Weber State officials told OSD officials that last year's Iron Horse game at Stewart Stadium drew approximately 5,800 fans. Ogden High's football stadium can comfortably seat around 2,000 fans.
At the very least, the district would then have to bring in portable bleachers, which brings its own set of complications.
"If we were to bring in bleachers, we would have to figure out how to get them on the track without voiding the warranty of the track and turf," Helmbrecht said. "There's also the possibility of letting people on to the track and finding some sort of barrier so that people aren't getting on to the field and bothering the players, cheerleaders, etc."
The turf and track, installed a few years ago at a cost of more than $1 million, have an eight-year warranty, according to Helmbrecht. There are only so many sets of bleachers that could be brought in anyway.
"It's complicated because we don't want to put them on the sidelines, so the end zones would be the best spots, but we could kitty corner them, put them near the high jump area of the track. We could even put them on 30th Street possibly," Helmbrecht said.
Two of the benefits of having Iron Horse at WSU is access to WSU police officers and better parking than an event of comparable size held at OHS.
The potential for a first-round Ogden/Ben Lomond playoff game has helped the district and both schools consider future challenges related to the Iron Horse.
"The principals at the schools want to move the Iron Horse back to the schools," Helmbrecht said.
It's not just OSD that has to look at the issue. It could happen to any district. Had last year's 6A football state tournament been seeded on RPI, Layton and Northridge would've met in the first round of the playoffs.
Helmbrecht noted the logistical challenge is exacerbated in the OSD.
"We're just in a little bit of a different situation because one of our schools is under construction, Ogden is landlocked," he said.
WEEK 9 SCHEDULE
GAME OF THE WEEK: Weber at Roy
Weber (6-2, 5-1 Region 1) and Roy (5-3, 4-2) meet for the 55th time in the Shield Game. The Royals lead the series 31-23.
Roy's defensive challenge is to contain dual-threat quarterback Kohl Hogan, who has 20 total touchdowns. The Royals have had varying degrees of success against dual-threat QBs this year.
The Warriors have by far the best defense in Region 1, allowing 12.7 points per region game and 14.6 points per game overall.
Stansbury at Ogden (Thursday)
Ogden (2-6, 1-4 Region 10) has had trouble stopping the run against the region's best teams and Stansbury averages 227.9 rushing yards per game.
The good news is the Tigers run the ball well and Stansbury has had issues stopping the run against good running teams.
Ben Lomond at Uintah (Thursday)
Ben Lomond (0-8, 0-5 Region 10) is past the brutally hard part of the region schedule and finds itself with a very winnable game at one-win Uintah.
The Scots' state-long losing streak stands at 31 games, but there's confidence the streak could end in the next two weeks.
Syracuse at Clearfield
Syracuse (6-2, 5-1 Region 1) goes for a first region title since 2016. Quarterback Bridger Hamblin is up to 34 total touchdowns and 2,398 yards of offense.
The last time Clearfield (1-7, 1-5) beat Syracuse was in 2007 when SHS first opened.
Bountiful at Farmington
Phoenix kicker Ryan Marks will be presented with his Under Armour All-American Game jersey at the game. Marks averages 38.9 yards per punt and is 5 of 6 on field goals with a long of 42 yards.
Farmington (6-2, 3-1 Region 5) has a chance to clinch the Region 5 title outright against a Bountiful (3-5, 2-2) team that can technically clinch a share of the region title, too.
Davis at Fremont
A very intriguing contest pits the No. 15-ranked RPI team, Fremont (4-4, 4-2 Region 1), against the No. 16-ranked RPI team, Davis (4-4, 4-2).
The top 16 seeds get a home playoff game, so one has to think the winner of this matchup could secure a home playoff game.
Bonneville at Box Elder
Bonneville (4-4, 2-2 Region 5) is ranked 15th in the 5A RPI standings and Box Elder (3-5, 1-3) is 17th. Like 6A, the top 16 teams get a home playoff game so the Lakers could also be angling for a home playoff game.
A Bees win vastly improves their chances, but it also might not be enough to vault them up to 16th or higher.
Layton at Northridge
Northridge (1-7, 0-6 Region 1) leads the all-time series 20-7 against Layton (2-6, 1-5) and the teams have split the last four games. Layton's No. 21 and Northridge is No. 24 in the RPI rankings, so the chances of a home playoff game for either are slim.
Woods Cross at Viewmont
Woods Cross (6-2, 2-2 Region 5) is ranked No. 9 in RPI while Viewmont (3-5, 2-2) is 19th. The 'Cats are all but assured of a home playoff game while the Vikings need a win to bolster their chances.
The winner also keeps its hopes of a split region title alive should Farmington lose to Bountiful.
Bear River at Sky View
Bear River (3-5, 2-2 Region 11) finds itself on television (KMYU) this week at Sky View, so that 7 p.m. kickoff is actually 7:07 p.m. and filled with TV timeouts.
The Bears will try to stop a Bobcats' team that scores 34 points per game.
Morgan at South Summit
Morgan (7-0, 3-0 Region 13) can put one hand on the Region 13 trophy with a win over South Summit.
The Wildcats, back-to-back 2A state champions, run the ball well and the Trojans are very good at stopping the run.
The last three Morgan opponents have combined for 230 yards on 104 carries.
Layton Christian at Monticello
The time has finally come for Layton Christian’s (2-4, 1-2 2A North) longest road trip of the season.
It’s about a five-hour drive to the southeast corner of Utah. Factor in a three-hour game and LCA’s probably getting back home around 3 or 4 a.m.
Both the Eagles’ wins came on the road this year, so it might not necessarily be a bad thing.