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High school football: Murray Spartans defeat Taylorsville Warriors, 27-17

By Chriss Anderson

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 1 2012 1:40 a.m. MDT

Sometimes the hardest game you play is the one against yourself.

Friday's contest between Murray (1-2, 0-0 Region 7) and Taylorsville (0-3, 0-0 Region 2), with the Warriors holding the momentum and lead for 46 minutes of the game, ended up seeing the Spartans relying on their coach’s half-time message to climb back and win the game 27-17.

“We really thought we were beating ourselves in the first half … During halftime I told them don’t stop believing in what you’re doing, we’re going to face adversity all year long, it’s how you respond to it that matters,” Murray head coach Mike Richmond said.

The first quarter saw slow starts by both schools. But Murray picked up momentum after an interception with about 3 minutes left in the first quarter that led to a drive into field goal territory and 3 points on the board for the Spartans.

On the following kickoff, Taylorsville’s Emilio Salvador ran coast to coast on a 100-yard kick return, which combined with the successful point after attempt, and closed out the first quarter with Taylorsville leading 7-3.

A third of the way into the second quarter, Taylorsville’s center snapped the ball high enough to clear the quarterback’s head and land in the end zone and lead to a no effort safety for Murray. An interception by Dominik Toluono allowed Taylorsville to drive back up the field and score after two drives, putting the Warriors up by 9 at the half.

A noticeably different Murray team entered the third quarter, and on its first possession of the half, the Spartans scored a touchdown on a 58-yard second down pass from quarterback Justin Adams to Derick Sanders to put the Spartans within 2.

Several more possessions exchanged hands until Taylorsville was able to get the ball close enough to the end zone at the end of the third quarter, which enabled the team to complete a field goal kick that increased its lead by 5.

Murray came out strong again at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but neither team was able to capitalize on their next possession opportunities. Murray then took over the ball on its 30-yard line, where on the third down, Nick Smart was able to stay on his feet for a 74-yard run. Spencer Prestwich found the end zone for the two-point conversion, putting the Spartans back on top with a score of 20-17.

After the final touchdown and conversion attempt were completed by Murray, a scuffle broke out on the field between the players, which seemed to put a visual image on the frustration of the Warriors as the team tallied a third season loss. Taylorsville head coach Rod Wells said it would be back to the drawing board as to why his team cannot finish games with a hope to correct that problem right away.

Chriss Anderson is a current writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle and can be followed on Twitter: @Chriss_Am_I

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