MORGAN — It had been 23 years since first year Wasatch coach Steve Coburn had been back to Trojan field. But it was well worth the wait, as the former Morgan High Trojan (1988-90) coach made a triumphant return on Friday night, leading the Wasps to an exciting come from behind victory 34-28 over the home town Trojans.
The Wasps outscored the Trojans 20-7 in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.
Wasp senior quarterback James Delacenserie was for the most part unstoppable, completing 26 of 36 passes for 355 yards and 5 touchdowns. Delacenserie connected on an array of passes, from slants across the middle to fade routes to the back corners of the endzone, making life miserable for the Trojans defenders.
Coburn was mighty impressed with his senior signal-caller. "This was a growing up game for him. He had a good game last week (Ben Lomond), but not against as good as opponent as Morgan is. It was a great outing for James."
As good as the Wasps were, the Trojans were equally effective in the first half. It took only three plays for Morgan to hit paydirt with it's devastating running attack. Seniors Bridger Anderson, Joe Kippen and Lantzen Toomer combined for 72 yards on the ground, with Toomer running the last 31 yards on the third play of the game for a quick 7-0 lead at the 10:51 mark of the first quarter.
Morgan head coach Kovi Christiansen was happy with the Trojans effort in the first half, but a little less so in the second. "In the first half, we felt like we could have done just about anything we wanted to offensively, but in the second half we started to miss some blocks. Defensively we tried to fix some pass coverage issues, and that worked for a time, but they have a great quarterback. We had trouble covering their guys and if you don't get enough heat on the thrower ... at times we did pretty well and had them covered, but he put the ball in the only spot they could get it."
Wasatch answered right back on its first possession, going 70 yards in 5 plays capped by a 32 yard touchdown pass from Delacenserie to senior Gavin Nebeker, making the score 7-7 with still 8:26 to play in the quarter. Nebeker would go on to have a huge game, scoring 4 touchdowns on 11 receptions for 173 yards.
Junior running back Kade Carrigan added a short three yard touchdown run for Morgan with one minute remaining in the first quarter for a 13-7 lead, as Wasatch blocked the point after.
Delacenserie would find a wide open Nebeker in the endzone for a 2-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter for Wasatch to briefly take the lead at 14-13.
The Trojan's Bridger Anderson answered back with a scintillating run around the left end, going untouched 40 yards into the endzone. The Trojans then went for the 2 point conversion and connected on a K.T. Tibbitts pass to Carrigan to make it 21-14 at the half.
Anderson and his teammates were happy with their first half execution. "We had it going in the first half, and in the second half we relaxed and quit executing. Mainly just our blocking, we didn't go 100 percent and we paid for it. We play Grantsville next and it will be a dog fight, and we need to play all four quarters."
Anderson led the Trojans in rushing with 11 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown. Toomer added 87 yards on 11 carries, and one touchdown receiving on a nice catch and run from 34 yards out from junior signal caller Ben Saunders for the Trojans only fourth quarter score.
The offensive fireworks of the first half came to a screeching halt in the third quarter, with both teams making defensive adjustment and neither team able to find the endzone.
But the fourth quarter belonged to the visitors, as Wasatch outscored Morgan 20-7. Delacenserie hooked up with his favorite target twice in the quarter, hitting Nebeker from 13 and 21 yards, and senior Jake Larson from 17 yards out with 33 seconds to go to win it for the visiting Wasps.
Morgan would get the ball back with 22 seconds to play, but were unable to come up with the miracle finish.
Coach Coburn was happy to leave Morgan with the win. "Against Morgan at their home, that's a program win for us, a team we've been trying to get over the years. We have four captains on offense, two of them are receivers (senior Talem Franco, and Nebeker) and they stepped up and made some plays. Morgan has a tough offense to play against, we won't see it again this season. We made some half time adjustments, we were blitzing the middle and decided to just play defense from there. It was a great comeback win."
Junior receiver Kayden Conner had a big night receiving for the Wasps, with seven catches for 89 yards. Larsen ended with two catches for 32 yards and the winning touchdown grab.
Morgan will play Grantville next Friday at home while Wasatch will host Juab High.
Bill Bateman is a husband and father of 5 daughters — he spends most of his time at McKay-Dee hospital in Nuclear Medicine.