WEST JORDAN — East High survived West Jordan sophomore quarterback Michael Moorehead and a late Jaguars rally as the Leopards held on to claim a 58-40 victory in a shootout here Friday.
Moorehead scorched the Leopards' defense for 484 yards on 42-of-67 passing. He also threw four touchdown passes and peppered the East defense by hooking up with a variety of receivers.
"West Jordan played us tough," East coach Brandon Matich said. "They put us in a situation where we had to put our starters back in."
East had called off the dogs at the beginning of the fourth quarter. With a comfortable 51-24 lead, Matich pulled his first team, including quarterback Tanner Curtis. Curtis, who finished 6-for-10 for 212 yards and three touchdowns and added 139 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, would return with 3:29 in the game after the Jaguars cut it to 51-40.
A poor snap on a punt attempt saw the ball soar out of the back of the end zone to give West Jordan a safety and possession at the East 26 after the return on the ensuing free kick. East led 51-26.
Moorehead led a four-play scoring drive and hooked up with Martavious Redmond from 11 yards out for a touchdown with 4:20 to play, cutting the deficit to 51-32.
The Jaguars recovered the onside kick at midfield and Moorehead connected on three consecutive passes, including a 28-yard TD strike to Redmond with 3:21 to play. His two-point conversion run left it at 51-40.
Two turnovers gave West Jordan hope of making it a one-possession game, but the Jaguars turned the ball over on downs with 2:04 to play on one possession and Moorehead threw his only interception of the game on the next when Curtis returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown, giving the Leopards an insurmountable lead.
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"Our guys played their butts off. They put 58 points on the board," Matich said. "I was a little disappointed that we didn't do a better job of stopping them, but we stopped them when we needed to."
Matich said he was impressed with the way West Jordan played, despite being down late in the game. He acknowledged his starters may have been a little cold by the time they had to go back in. "That's just part of the game," he said.
Curtis' scores came on runs of 37 and 17 yards. He threw for touchdowns on strikes of 37, 61, and 54 yards. Moorehead, who also had a one-yard scoring rush, had two 17-yard touchdown passes to go with his late strikes to Redmond.