On Friday, when the Sultana High School Sultans take the field at Hesperia High School in an attempt to wrest back the oversized key from their cross-town rivals, it may be the football team's very last chance to do so.

After years of being a city with two comprehensive high schools, Hesperia is now the only community in the Victor Valley with three, with the opening of Oak Hills High School this August.

So the Key Game -- which was both a trophy for Hesperia and Sultana to battle for, and a de facto city championship -- faces an uncertain future. It could remain a game played between the original two Hesperia Unified School District high schools, it could change to become a trophy awarded to the city champions, or it could become something else entirely.

"The Key Game's Sultana and Hesperia, and that's all we know," said Sultana Athletic Director Pete Delagardelle. "It'll probably always be between Hesperia and Sultana as far as we know."

The addition of Oak Hills High School shouldn't change things, as far as Delgardelle is concerned.

"I don't know how they could be in the mix. They might set something up against Hesperia."

The Scorpions' head football coach will just wait and see what the future holds for the Key Game

"Honestly, I have no idea," said coach Jeremy Topete. "I think coaches unfortunately have the least input. ... They just tell me who's in our league and what dates we play and we show up."

After football season ends this year, there will be a summit of the athletic directors, coaches and other interested parties to decide the issue, said Jovy Yankaskas, the HUSD's Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.

"Nobody really knows what to do," she said. "[Superintendent Mark McKinney] had a couple of ideas," including awarding the key to the high school that excelled over the course of the year in all sports, as determined by points awarded for individual games and events.

But one thing's for certain: The city hasn't seen the last of the key.

"We don't want to get rid of the key, the idea of the key," said Yankaskas.

The 14th annual Key Game will be played Friday night at 7 p.m. at Scorpion Stadium at Hesperia High School.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.