Bingham, East to decide Utah's best team

Defending 5A and 4A champs clash in early season showdown

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) - It's the game every high school football fan in the state of Utah has wanted to see, and Friday night, the wait is over.

Bingham and East have built dynasties in different classifications the last few years. The Miners and Leopards have combined to win 39 straight games and five state titles in the last six years, three for the Miners, two for the Leopards. But finally, we get to see how they match up against each other.

"This Bingham game I know has been a long awaited thing for the state of Utah," said East head coach Brandon Matich. "I'm glad it's happening. We're excited about it. We're just excited to play the game. There's not as much pressure, there's not as much emotion. It's just going to be a fun football game."

"I just think it's really exciting for the state of Utah," added East quarterback Ben Ford. "We finally get to see who the real king of Utah is. I'm really excited for a chance to play Bingham."

While this is only a regular season game, bragging rights for the title of best team in the state are on the line.

"Oh, we take a lot of pride in that<" said Bingham cornerback Tanner Merrill. "There's been a lot of heat in social media with a lot of people talking about it, a lot of people going back and forth with who is better. If we do win, I'm happy to say that we're the best team in the state."

But while both teams got their seasons off to great starts last week with East beating Timpview and Bingham rolling past Orem, these are very different teams that than ones that went undefeated last year.

"Absolutley," said Bingham head coach John Lambourne. "I mean, both sides lost some real significant players. So it's a matter of who gets good replacements and who gets ready to play."

Now that East and Bingham are both in the same class, this game very well could be a preview of what's to come in the 6A playoffs.

"I think this will be round one of two," Matich said. "I really do. I told our kids that on Monday, and this won't be the last time we play these guys."

But regardless of who wins, to have two teams from Utah in the national spotlight says a lot about the state.

"I think the talent level has improved tremendously in the last 10 to 15 years," Lambourne said. "I do know that they have a high ranking, and that can't be anything but good for our state."

"I think we're trying to put Utah football on the map," said Matich. "We're following Bingham's blueprint that they've done over the years, and we're trying to raise the bar on it. So, hopefully we can show up and compete on Friday."

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