Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
DRAPER — The final score of 41-0 in Juan Diego's favor certainly doesn't reflect it.
And you might not believe it considering the three-time defending 3A champions haven't allowed an opponent to score in three straight games.
The final stats, which had Juan Diego racking up 499 yards of offense and causing six turnovers, wouldn't give it away, either.
But Juan Diego coach John Colosimo used the words "jittery" and "nervous" to describe how his players felt — and played — for the first quarter against Dixie on Friday.
Colosimo blames himself. Despite the Flyers' No. 4 seeding, he knew Dixie (7-3) tied for second in Region 9 and could pull off an upset. He drilled that into his players' heads, perhaps getting them "overprepared" in the pumped-up category.
"We expected a dogfight," Colosimo said. "We were fortunate to win this game."
It took a quarter, but the Soaring Eagle successfully put a muzzle on the dog from Dixie that had won three straight coming in.
With the Flyers driving early in the second quarter, sophomore linebacker Billy Nipp made one of his many pivotal plays as he forced a fumble, recovered by lineman Jared McCauley, while sacking Dixie's Blake Barney.
Juan Diego, a team that has outscored its last three foes 139-0, released the hounds after that.
Nipp then blocked a punt, leading to a 14-0 Juan Diego advantage after Garn found himself on the receiving end of an 11-yard touchdown pass from Nick Markosian.
"We were beating ourselves in the first quarter," Juan Diego running back Cayden Sanchez said. "After that, we just got a hold of ourselves and took it to them."
Especially in the third quarter.
During a six-minute scoring spree, Garn notched his third touchdown (a 7-yard run), Dixie coughed up a kickoff and threw a pick, and Sanchez twice found paydirt.
Sanchez's first TD came on a 51-yard dash after Dixie's TO. His second score came on a sweet-looking hook-and-ladder during which Markosian passed to Kahea Chang, who pitched it to a trailing Sanchez for a 21-yard touchdown.
After the rough start, which included punts on the first three possessions, Colosimo smiled and admitted, "That was the Juan Diego football team I know and love."
Nipp had an especially nice day with two picks and multiple other solid plays in helping Juan Diego (10-1) earn its fifth shutout and seventh consecutive win.
"I'm very, very, very proud of our defensive effort," Colosimo said. "To shut these guys down is a great accomplishment."
Sanchez sparked Juan Diego's offense with 167 yards rushing, including the two TDs. Garn finished with three touchdowns and 89 yards on the ground.
"It feels great," Sanchez said. "But we've got to move on to next week and have a short memory."
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