October 13, 2010

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The top programs in Utah were in action Wednesday night. Both won.

And the coaches couldn't be happier for each other.

Welcome to the state of friendly rivalries.

Dave Peck, the head coach of the No. 15-ranked South Jordan (Utah) Bingham Miners, whose team downed Riverton (Utah) High, 52-13, and Louis Wong, head coach at No. 87-ranked Provo (Utah) Timpview High, which won 49-15 against Lehi (Utah) High, are actually good friends off the field.

"We go golfing together and are good friends," Peck said of the relationship. "We haven't played each other on the field but our teams go camping together in the summer. We use some of their stuff and they have used some of ours."

The relationship has been fruitful for both programs, which are 30 miles apart but are in different classes.

Bingham won the Class 5A state title in 2006 and 2009 and is on the path to win another this season.

Timpview is attempting to win its fifth consecutive state title in Class 4A.

Becoming a dominant program in Utah may seem like an easy goal to attain - there are just 99 teams playing 11-man football - but the road has been rocky.

"I have been in coaching for 27 years," said Peck, who in his 10th season as the Bingham coach is the winningest in the school's 85-year history. "The last five years or so has seen the state make so many strides."

The strides in high school football have been coupled with a rise in prominence of the state's college teams - BYU, Utah, and Utah State.

Peck thinks the correlation is apparent.

"We have seen the number of kids from our state going Division I increase," he said. "Our high schools are going out of state more to play and performing very well.

"The coaching is getting better and better too."

Peck points out four of the top schools in the state - Bingham, Timpview, Cottonwood and Alta - as really challenging one another to stay on top.

"Those schools have coaching staffs who all want to be the best in the state," he said. "Each season, each staff wants to up its game to be better."

He also points out that the rivalries among the teams and staffs are not bitter.

"It isn't a trash talk situation or anything like that," he said. "We don't fight with each other after games. The rivalries are built on respect."

A mutual respect that trickles from coach to player.

"It is even bigger with us and Timpview," he said. "The kids train together, hang out with each other and root for the other to succeed."

The celebrating has been on-going. The teams' cumulative record is 114-10 since the end of the 2005 season.

Neither team has cleared out a spot in the trophy case, but each has a goal to make it back to the University of Utah for the state title games.

"We will either be playing before Timpview or right after them if we both make it back to Utah," Peck said. "I know their kids will be rooting for us to win and we will be doing the same for them."


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