Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS — The Homecoming game for the Wildcats brings back more than just a new senior class.
Instead, it comes with the chance to steal the crown from rival Woods Cross.
Last season when the teams met, and for the first time in nearly two-and-half decades, Woods Cross blanked Bountiful 14-0 on the football field.
That win, coupled with a Utah High School Activities Association decision to take away wins from East High School for eligibility issues, gave the Wildcats a share of the Region 6 crown and a No. 1 seed in the 2012 playoffs.
Both Bountiful High School coach Larry Wall and Woods Cross High School coach Justin Spencer said all of that has been put behind them, and the focus is on this year’s game only.
Wall’s is focused on this being a region game rather than just a rivalry game, and said the team “is looking toward a tough region schedule” as the season progresses.
“I don’t want to call it a ‘revenge’ game,” he said. “Right now we’re 1-0 in our region and now we have to get ready for (Woods Cross). That’s been our focus. All of these region games are tough games.”
Wall was also happy with the team’s performance in last week’s win over Layton in nonregion play, pointing to the running game as “getting back to our roots” on the football field.
“When we got a little bit of a lead, we were able to run and control the clock,” he said. “But more importantly we didn’t get anybody hurt, which is what you want heading into league games.”
For Woods Cross, coach Justin Spencer was happy for his team to get the win last year, putting an end to a long Braves streak.
This year, he said, the focus is on not only facing the Braves, but for the game itself to be put back into true “rivalry” form.
“The game was so much different before,” he said. “The streak kind of took on a life of its own and put equal amounts of pressure on both sides to either extend or end it. Now, it feels more like a rivalry game.”
Having already dropped its region opener to East, Woods Cross evened its Region 6 record to 1-1 after shutting out Clearfield last week, making Friday night’s game more about getting the win.
“For us, from a coach’s standpoint, this becomes a huge game,” he said. “It could mean the difference between solidifying a solid playoff run rather than scrambling to get into the playoffs.”
Both defenses have proven to be fairly stellar this season.
At 59 points allowed through five games, Bountiful is leading all of 4A in scoring defense.
The Wildcats have allowed an average of just over 15 points per game, but surrendered 42 points to East in a loss.
Still, Spencer expects a defensive battle similar to what happened last season.
“Each game kind of takes on its own identity as the game moves along, but I think this will be another one of those defensive battles,” he said. “But you never know because Bountiful has kind of opened up its offense, which as helped them do a lot of things.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday night.