Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL — If repetition is a key to success, the Bountiful Braves football team has a pretty good formula.
Since 2002, the Braves have opened the season with a game against the Lone Peak Knights, and the small rivalry will continue Friday night as Bountiful travels to Lone Peak for the 7 p.m. kickoff to open the 2013 season.
“It’s a good game for us to start the season with,” said coach Larry Wall. “They’re a first-class program with a quality bunch. They have good players and good people over there.”
The rivalry between the Braves and Knights goes a little deeper than some may remember. In 2002, Bountiful won the opening game against Lone Peak, and then promptly beat them again in the 4A State title game.
The following year was a near carbon copy as Bountiful beat the Knights to open the season, then again in the 4A semi-finals en route to its second consecutive 4A title.
The game has been an opener for both teams ever since, and even though Lone Peak has won six of the last nine meetings, Bountiful owns the overall series 7-6.
“I think it’s a bit of a rivalry on our end,” said Wall. “I can’t speak for them, but those games in 2002 and 2003 kind of started the whole thing. I know our players get pretty excited about it.”
Wall said it’s “the most important game” of the season because it could kick-start the season in the right direction.
A win, he said, would help the players carry that momentum into next week’s matchup against local rival Viewmont.
On offense, the quarterback situation will stay the same — Jordan Hayes and Trevor Lloyd will split time under center.
“They both deserve to be out there,” Wall said. “There isn’t any separation between them right now and both of them are doing exactly what we are asking of them.”
Another wrinkle Wall may throw at Lone Peak this week is a Pistol formation. Wall wants to use the formation to “expand the offense a little,” but admitted he won’t stray from what’s been a successful philosophy in the past.
“We’re not going to abandon what we’ve done,” he said. “But (the formation) is going to give us some more options.”
Wall said even though Lone Peak isn’t unfamiliar, what the Knights might do on the field will be.
Lone Peak now has a new coach, and Wall said that makes the team tough to predict.
“We’re going to have to be ready for whatever they throw at us,” he said. “We’re trying to prepare for different things, and one thing we won’t be able to do is sneak up on them.”
Lone Peak is still an opponent the players want to beat to open up the season, Wall said. Both teams are ranked in the Top 15 in the State, making the matchup perfect.
“I think they’re ranked pretty high in 5A, so you know they’re still a quality program,” said Wall. “They’re one of the premier teams in the state. It should be a good game.”
Statewide, Lone Peak is ranked No. 6. and Bountiful is ranked No. 14 overall and No. 6 in the 4A class.