The football field at Mountain Crest remained unlit Wednesday night.
The bleachers were empty, players didn't shiver on the sidelines. The game scheduled to be played there wasn't.
Coaches from Springville and Mountain Crest mutually agreed Monday morning to cancel their long-planned non-region showdown. The teams have clinched playoff berths Mountain Crest in Region 5, Springville in Region 8 and decided it would be better to rest in advance of the playoffs than play a game that wouldn't affect the standings.
"We just felt like with the playoffs getting close, try to get our kids healthy for that," Mountain Crest coach Mark Wootton said.
The decision was rare, but not unprecedented. In 2005, Hunter and Brighton called off a non-region game scheduled to be a regular-season finale.
"Our seeding doesn't really change for playoffs," Springville coach Scott Mitchell said this week. "It's just not worth it."
The game would have matched two 4A state favorites, and a possible preview of the semifinals where the teams will eventually meet if they win in the first two rounds.
But canceling the game on such short notice, essentially giving the teams late-season byes, raised some eyebrows among other coaches.
"If I had my bye this week I wouldn't play a game, but I wouldn't have scheduled a game either," Highland coach Brody Benson said.
"I can understand [canceling the game], but I don't think it's necessarily good."
Benson and other coaches said it is unfair to seniors to give them one fewer high school game and that Springville and Mountain Crest should have predicted that their teams would be tired and nursing injuries by the ninth week of the season when they scheduled the game.
"When you look at the end of your season, you know you're going to be banged up," Benson said.
Benson wants to see implemented a deadline, well before the season begins, to cancel games.
East coach Brandon Matich said even if starters are injured Mountain Crest was going to be without eight this week a non-region game is a good opportunity to get younger players in the game in a playoff-type atmosphere.
"If I had it scheduled, I'd play it," Matich said. "But I can understand why they did it."
Mountain Crest athletic director Jim Crosbie said the school's athletic department relies on ticket earnings, but Crosbie said that factor was "menial" in the decision to cancel the game. The most profitable Mustangs game this season was homecoming against Box Elder, which brought in $5,000.
Crosbie said a Springville game wouldn't have raised nearly as much.
Depending on how things shake out in the final two weeks, either Highland or East could have to travel to Springville for the first round of the playoffs.
After having a bye last week, Matich said playing games is more beneficial for a team than not.
"If we were scheduled to play a game, I wouldn't have cancelled it," he said. "I think you're doing the kids a disservice."
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• Springville and Mountain Crest canceled their Wednesday game on Monday.
• Coaches said players were banged up and needed rest for the playoffs.
• Other coaches said they wouldn't cancel a game.