SALT LAKE CITY — There was a genuine buzz surrounding Thursday's Juan Diego-Judge game with not only a year's worth of bragging rights on the line, but a region championship as well.
Ever so gradually the buzz started to dissipate, though, as Juan Diego started churning out first down after first down and first down, and it became clear Judge was in way over its head against the three-time defending 3A state champs.
Judge never had an answer offensively or defensively as the Soaring Eagle rolled to a 34-0 victory on Judge's home field to claim the Region 10 championship.
"It's nice to know that your hard work is paying off and everything is starting to click and come together," said Juan Diego running back Brock Garn, who finished with a pair of rushing TDs and a receiving TD as well.
Juan Diego outgained Judge 390 to 76 in total offense to finish the regular season 9-1, with all nine victories coming by 21 or more points. Its methodical offense ran 75 offensive plays to just 34 for the Bulldogs.
"They were taking away a lot of things inside that we like to do, but that was OK we went outside and did a lot of things outside that we're capable of doing, sweep, speed option, bootleg back to the weak side," said Juan Diego coach John Colosimo. "They were compromising their defense and we were able to take advantage of it."
With its sixth outright region championship in the bag, Juan Diego will now turn its attention to the 3A state tournament. It opens with Dixie, which was in a three-way tie in Region 9 for second place, but was the unlucky loser in the three-way coin flip.
Judge hosts Cedar in the opening round of the playoffs.
On its opening drive of the game Juan Diego looked like it was headed for an early touchdown, but its 12-play drive stalled at the 5-yard line on a fumble. It merely delayed the inevitable though.
After forcing Judge to punt, Juan Diego marched 60 yards in 16 plays with Brock Garn capping the clock-churning drive with a 1-yard plunge with 6:33 remaining in the first half.
On Judge's next two possessions it ran six offensive plays for zero yards and one interception. Juan Diego capitalized on the great field possession with two more touchdowns, a Nick Markosian 1-yard burst with 2:25 left and then another Garn 1-yard run with 21 seconds remaining in the half.
Juan Diego outgained Judge 202 to 44 in the first half.
It was much of the same in the second half as the Soaring Eagle scored on their opening possession with Garn hauling in a 26-yard TD pass from Markosian to extend the lead to 28-0.
"We just stayed focused and played pretty much Juan Diego football, our line came out and did their job tonight and got a push for the running backs and good protection for the quarterback," said Garn.
Defensively, Juan Diego was equally as dominant holding Judge to 32 total yards and two first downs in the second half.
Juan Diego's A.J. Barbiero tacked on a late score with under two minutes remaining on a 2-yard run to cap the scoring.