3A high school football playoffs: Juan Diego dominates the Tigers, advance to Rice-Eccles
Ben Brewer, Deseret News
DRAPER — It would be hard to describe Juan Diego's 38-0 win over Hurricane Friday night as anything but "lights out."
All but one of the stadium lights shut off briefly in the fourth quarter, a fitting tribute to the Soaring Eagle defense, which held the Tigers to just 162 total yards. Led by linebacker Walter Kauhaahaa's two sacks and an interception, the unit forced two turnovers, stopped three fourth-down attempts and allowed Hurricane to cross the 50 yard-line just three times.
"We just came out and wanted to win this game," Kauhaahaa said after the game. "I wasn't going to let them score. I told our defense that we were going to stop them, that we're going to work hard to not let them score."
The shutout was a far cry from what most expected in a game pitting the two perennial 3A powerhouses, who previously had only met in recent state championship games. But the Tigers' bid to repeat as champions was seemingly undone from the outset, as Juan Diego scored on its first possession, then stuffed Hurricane on a fourth-down conversion at the Soaring Eagle 19.
"Our defense has a lot of pride, and they take it as an insult if you go for it on fourth down against them," Juan Diego coach John Colosimo said. "It was the right call on Hurricane's part, but our kids just weren't going to let it happen."
The offense played to near perfection on the night as well. Running back Chase Williams carried the ball 19 times for 162 yards and a score.
Quarterback Nick Markosian ran for 120 yards and a score to go with 78 yards passing plus a touchdown. Markosian's connection with Jessie Springer opened the scoring for the Soaring Eagle, who would add a 24-yard field goal by Nick Montoya to open the second quarter with a 10-0 lead. Juan Diego pushed the score to 17-0 minutes later on a Markosian option-keeper. A fumbled punt snap on Hurricane's ensuing possession would give the Soaring Eagle the ball on the 2, and Williams punched it in from the 1-yard line for a 24-0 margin.
Hurricane seemed intent on making a statement to open the third, but their long drive was halted again when Juan Diego's Michael Murry and Jeff Ike stuffed Adlai Elison's quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1.
The Soaring Eagle left a small window open with two turnovers in the second half, but the Tigers' offense was unable to capitalize. Early in the fourth quarter, all but one set of lights suddenly shut off, leaving the stadium in darkness. Both teams retreated to their own sidelines while the Juan Diego cheerleaders took the field for an impromptu dance routine.
Twenty minutes later, play resumed, but the game remained the same for Hurricane. With the ball on the Juan Diego 12, Elison lobbed a pass into the end zone, which was picked off by Kauhaahaa. Markosian took a quarterback keeper off left tackle for a 96-yard touchdown on the ensuing play to push the lead to 31-0.
The Soaring Eagle backups would play the rest of the way, and cap off the victory with a 27-yard scamper by Cameron Hansen. Juan Diego moves on to the state semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium, while Hurricane finishes the year with a 9-2 record.
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