1A high school football preview: Duchesne vs. Rich

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 1 2011 7:48 p.m. MDT

Duchesne (10-0) vs. Rich (5-5)

1A state tournament semifinal

Saturday, 11 a.m. (at Wasatch High School)

Parry's Power Guide: Duchesne by 23

All-time series: Rich leads 22-1

Coach vs. coach: Duchesne's Billy Hoopes and Rich's Ashley Brown, tied 3-3

Last meeting: Oct. 7, 2011, Duchesne 42, Rich 0 (Week 8 at Duchesne)

In the six games leading up to Rich's visit to Duchesne on Oct. 7, the Rebels had heard all about the No. 1 Eagles' preseason wins over Enterprise, North Summit and Park City, not to mention how they'd dismantled their first three 1A opponents 152-26.

By the time the Rebels stepped on the field for that Week 7 clash, they had already psyched themselves out and fell behind 35-0 by halftime.

"They'd been beating everybody and (had) beaten bigger schools, and we went in way passive and way timid and had a couple bad things happen right away and they jumped on us real quick," said Rich coach Ashley Brown.

This Saturday, Rich and Duchesne clash again in the 1A semifinals at Wasatch High School at 11 a.m. Both coaches expect a much different game.

"They're not just going to let us do what we want to do, we're going to have to make some adjustments," said Duchesne coach Billy Hoopes.

After beating Rich 42-0 back on Week 7, Hoopes said it's important his players recognize that the rematch will be much more competitive with a berth in next week's 1A championship on the line.

"A team like Rich will beat anybody if you don't take it seriously," said Hoopes.

Rich and Duchesne have met in the past two 1A championship games, with Rich winning easily in 2009 and Duchesne winning in overtime last year. Hoopes admits it's a bit odd to be facing the Rebels a week earlier than normal.

Shutting down Rich quarterback Austin Groll will be key for Duchesne. Groll has rushed for nearly 800 yards this year while passing for nearly 700 yards.

"Austin Groll is a handful. He's a really good athlete," said Hoopes.

If Duchesne's defense can set the tone on first downs and keep Rich in second down and long situations, Hoopes believes the Eagles will be just fine with the most dominant defense in 1A.

Conversely, Brown said if his team can run the football and limit turnovers, anything can happen despite being such a large underdog.

"You hate to go into a game not thinking you can win, and have the battle taken care of before you get there," said Brown. "That's the thing we're going to try and instill … there's still that chance if you're willing to give it everything you can on every play."

Duchesne statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 42.6 ppg

Scoring defense: 10.0 ppg

Passing leader: Shiaba Allen (21-43, 48.8%, 427 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Braiden Despain (115 carries, 1,012 yards, 10 TDs), Shiaba Allen (82 carries, 852 yards, 11 TDs), Macoy Young (58 carries, 765 yards, 14 TDs)

Receiving leaders: McKade Nielsen (10 receptions, 191 yards, 6 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Kaden Moon (62 total tackles), Kane Neally (51 total tackles)

Sacks leaders: Devin Davis (9 sacks), Max Lewis (6.5 sacks)

Interceptions leader: McKade Nielsen (8 interceptions)

Rich statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 20.7 ppg

Scoring defense: 15.0 ppg

Passing leader: Austin Groll (44-91, 48.4%, 655 yards, 7 TDs)

Rushing leaders: Austin Groll (93 carries, 767 yards, 9 TDs), Kaden Thomson (76 carries, 509 yards, 6 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Bracken Pinter (12 receptions, 215 yards, 4 TDs), Brent Wallentine (12 receptions, 151 yards, 1 TD)

Tackles leaders: Not provided

Sacks leaders: Not provided

Interceptions leader: Not provided

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