The Alta Hawks are set to meet the Bingham Miners in the annual “Black and Blue Rivalry”. This rivalry is a matchup between two Utah football powerhouses, sharing five of the last six Class 5A State titles. Bingham won last year’s battle 21-18, extending its streak to 4 straight wins over Alta. Although not in the same region, the teams have met every preseason since 2005 in a rivalry game that drew such a huge crowd it was moved to the University of Utah’s campus at Rice-Eccles Stadium to accommodate upwards of 30,000 fans expected to come out to this year’s game to witness one of the nation’s best high school football rivalries.
The Bingham Miners will begin its 8th season in a row being one of the top two teams in the state. Bingham has an impressive history with 19 region titles and 7 state championships. They are led by long-time head coach Dave Peck who is entering his 13th season. The Miners finished last season in 2nd place in Region 4 with a 4-1 record and a 9-3 record overall. They lost in the 5A state quarterfinals to Fremont, a disappointing finish for the two-time defending State Champions.
Just like previous seasons, expectations are sky high going into the 2012 season. The Miners return a plethora of talent on offense and defense, led by returning receivers Hayden Weichers and Kalan Cantwell, as well as senior quarterback Coleman Stout. Bingham will be tested this year with a schedule that includes Valor Christian, the 3-time defending state champions of Colorado, and last year’s 5A champion Lone Peak.
Alta has dominated their region over the last decade, winning 8 region championships since 2000 along with 2 state titles (4 overall) in ’07 and ’08. Second year head coach Bob Stevens led the Hawks to a 9-2 record last season, going a perfect 5-0 region play en route to a Region 3 title. However, Alta lost a stunner to Syracuse in the first round of the 5A playoffs. A big reason for their success last season was their 5A leading scoring defense. This year will be much different as the Hawks do not return any starters on defense and only 3 starters on offense. There is also uncertainty at the quarterback position as senior Dylan Rivas and junior Chipper Lucero battle it out for the starting spot. Whoever wins the sport with have 2 athletic wide receivers to throw to with Harrison Handley and Ammon Barker both returning this season to give the Hawks two potent weapons in the aerial attack. Handley was voted the Elite 11 Camp’s top receiver by coaches, and Barker led the team in receiving TDs last year.
The Hawks will have no shortage of games to prove themselves with four of its opponents in the Top 10 of the Deseret News preseason Top 25 rankings, not including last year’s #1 team in the country Don Bosco who begin the season ranked #21 nationally and will visit the Hawks on September 29th. If Alta can stay healthy there is reason to believe that they will be one of the teams to beat once the 5A playoffs roll around.