Saturday preview Bingham v. Valor Christian, plus Rocky Mountain Rumble
The Beehive Classic as an all-day event is gone, but its premier football game lives on.
Bingham hosts Valor Christian, Colo., on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., and on paper, it looks to be a stiff challenge for the Miners. Although the program is only in its fifth season, the Eagles are not just getting ready to leave the nest.
The private school has carved up its Colorado competition, winning three state championships in the last three years. Before dropping a game to Mullen, Colo., last week, Valor Christian had won 25 straight games and assumed a No. 1 ranking in the state's largest classification you can read more about Valor Christian's achievements in the Denver Post.
But there is one frotier the Eagles have not flown over yet: the state line.
"We've had some opportunities to play 7-on-7 tournaments out of state, but obviously it's different when you're lugging 70 guys and all their gear," coach Brent Vieselmeyer says. "It's a different feel as far as the game goes. It's definitely valuable to get a chance to look at other competition from other areas."
Valor Christian has become a beacon of Division I talent in the last few years. This year, quarterback Luke Del Rio, an Oklahoma State commit, has become the star attraction.
He first moved to the area when his father, NFL coach Jack Del Rio, joined the Denver Broncos staff. The Eagles have reaped the benefits.
"He's such a student of the game although I guess you have to be as a coach's son," Vieselmeyer says. "He's got a really big, strong arm. He's a great decision-making athlete. We're blessed to have him."
Vieselmeyer thinks highly of Bingham, arguably Utah's most consistent program in the last decade. He pointed to the Miners' large linemen and quick-to-the-ball defense as major concerns for Saturday's game.
He added that he was disappointed to miss out on the chance to be a part of the original three-game event, but it won't take away from the game ahead of the Eagles.
"It doesn't change what we do," Vieselmeyer says. "As far as Bingham goes, we've got our work cut out for us."
Lehi, Orem star in Idaho's Rocky Mountain Rumble
Two Utah programs will be playing out of state teams, but they'll be the ones on the bus.
Lehi and Orem agreed to compete in Saturday's Rocky Mountain Rumble, a three-game series at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho. Lehi plays Highland, Idaho, at 4 p.m., and Orem finishes the day by playing Pocatello at 7 p.m. The MVP of each game will get a $1000 scholarship.
The billing touts the visiting schools as "some of the best teams from other parts of the country," which might be a little bit of a hyperbole. Neither Lehi or Orem has been a powerhouse in the last few years, but it appears that they might be improving despite 0-2 records.
Lehi, in particular, is only a year removed from having the longest active losing streak in the state. Coach Dave Hastings says the opportunity to play for a game trophy and a scholarship is a big step for his players.
"We're trying to build and get past the stigma of not finishing," Hastings says. "The kids are excited. It's been a long time since Lehi has won a trophy for football."