1A high school football preview: Milford at Duchesne

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23 2012 10:00 a.m. MDT

Milford (1-8) at Duchesne (9-0)

1A state tournament quarterfinal

Friday, 5 p.m.

Parry’s power guide: Duchesne by 60

All-time series: Duchesne leads 13-6

Coach vs. coach: Duchesne’s Jerry Cowan leads Milford’s Brian Williamson, 1-0

Last meeting: Sept. 7, 2012 (Week 4) — Duchesne 47, Milford 6

Duchesne scored 40 points against Milford in the first quarter of a preseason game earlier this season, and nobody really expects much different in the playoffs this Friday.

The two-time defending 1A state champs come into the game on a 31-game winning streak and are averaging more than 34 points per game.

The first step begins against overmatched Milford, and coach Jerry Cowan said the game will be a good opportunity for his team to rest some dinged-up starters against the very young Tigers.

Cowan doesn’t expect a third straight state title to come as easy as many believe. Unlike last year, when Duchesne won its nine games against 1A competition by a minimum of 26 points, the Eagles have been tested this season.

Duchesne only beat Summit Academy by 14 points, Monticello by 15 points and Altamont by 20 points.

“When you get a little streak going like we’ve done, everybody expects you to win. What people don’t realize is we get the best from every team cause they all want to beat us. We’ve had a couple games this year that have been pretty close and a couple other games that we made look easier than it should’ve,” Cowan said.

Even though Milford shouldn’t present much of a challenge, in the semifinals and beyond, Duchesne will get tested.

Led by senior running back Kaden Moon and junior quarterback Trent Roberts, this scrappy Duchesne team has always risen to the occasion.

“I keep waiting for these guys to have a let-down game, and they just haven’t done it,” Cowan said.

The Eagles have been inconsistent at times, which is a slight concern in the playoffs. Even in last week’s season-ending 34-14 victory over Altamont, Cowan said his team struggled at times and would’ve been in a dogfight without a couple of big plays by Moon — a 52-yard fumble recovery and a 56-yard touchdown run.

Despite the occasional offensive struggles, Duchesne’s defense has been dynamite all season. With Moon and Wade Shepherd anchoring the front seven, opponents have had a very difficult time running against the Eagles. It’s been just as difficult to pass against Duchesne, with McKade Nielsen leading the team with eight interceptions.

“I just hope our kids aren’t overconfident cause we’re not as dominant as we were last year. It’s been scrappy the way we’ve won some of the games this year,” Cowan said.

Milford statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 7.5 ppg

Scoring defense: 38.2 ppg

Passing leader: Tyson Willis (8-16, 50%, 62 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Wade Netto (136 carries, 682 yards, 2 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Traver Robinson (2 rec., 35 yards, 1 TD)

Tackles leaders: Jacob Swanson (73 tackles), Tayson Willis (46 tackles)