There may be five storylines this week, but there’s only one Civil War game.
1. Game of the Week
The Civil War football game between Bonneville and Hillcrest has been one-sided over the past decade with the Knights winning five straight and 10 of the past 11 meetings.
After a loss to Blackfoot last week to open 4A District 6 play, the importance of this game is not lost on Bonneville coach Matt Virgil.
“That puts us in a situation where they all count for us,” Virgil said, noting a win over Blackfoot might have given the Bees a little breathing room in the conference race, but that’s changed after just one week.
“They’re all big games … but the rest are kind of must-wins,” Virgil said.
2. How healthy are the Bees?
The Bees (1-2, 0-1) have been plagued by injuries early in the season and are still trying to adjust. Injuries to quarterback Jordan Perez, running back Tavyn Lords and speedster Colton Reifschneider have limited Bonneville’s options on the offensive side.
Backup quarterback Braxton Sorenson has been playing and last year’s quarterback Willie Nelson, who was slated to be a stopper at linebacker this season, is also an option if needed.
Hillcrest (2-1, 1-0) has no such dilemma. The Knights have infused their lineup with new players who saw little or limited action a year ago, and may be the team to beat in what is expected to be a competitive conference race.
The Knights had little trouble against a struggling Shelley team last week, but should get a tougher test against the Bees defense, which will be tasked with slowing down Hillcrest’s rushing game.
3. No surprises
Hillcrest runs the ball. Sophomore Tre Kofe has been nearly unstoppable, averaging 223 yards per game and 10.6 yards per carry. His eight touchdowns lead the team, and junior Demik Hatch is right behind with five touchdowns while averaging 11.1 yards per carry.
“There’s no mistaking what Hillcrest wants to do,” Virgil said.
Discipline will be crucial, Virgil said, noting a missed assignment or gap can cause a breakdown.
“There isn’t much we haven’t seen,” Hillcrest coach Kevin Meyer said of opposing defenses trying to slow the Knights’ rushing game.
4. Youthful mistakes
Even while the Knights are racking up yards, there are still plenty of mistakes indicative of a young team, Meyer said.
“You can see a lot of the guys haven’t been in there in crunch time,” Meyer said.
A month into the season should be enough time to work out some kinks.
“It takes maturity,” Meyer said. “We’ve made good strides.”
5. Take it down a notch.
The emotion of the Civil War is great for the fans and the community, but what does it do for the players?
“There will be a lot of hype and a lot of emotion early,” Meyer said. “That dies out really quick. Sometimes it’s better to be a lot more even keel in big games. Sometimes you can be overemotional and make mistakes … We look every week to try and get better at what we do and that’s really important. It’s about us getting better.”