Grantsville (6-4) at Juan Diego (10-0)
3A state tournament first round
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Juan Diego by 33
All-time series: Juan Diego leads 10-0
Coach vs. coach: Juan Diego’s John Colosimo leads Grantsville’s Tony Cloward, 7-0
Last meeting: Oct. 1, 2010 — Juan Diego 28, Grantsville 0
If you’re planning on attending this Friday’s 3A playoff game between Grantsville and No. 1 Juan Diego, don’t be late. Few teams eat up yardage and time on the clock quite like these two.
“This game might be over in an hour and a half,” joked Grantsville coach Tony Cloward.
Both teams run the veer offense, and both do it very well. Grantsville has a run-pass ratio of about 4 to 1 this season while Juan Diego’s ratio is about 3.5 to 1.
Establishing the line of scrimmage will be the key for both teams.
“We can’t let them control the ball game as they pretty much did against Stansbury and Ogden, the two games we’ve seen,” said Juan Diego coach John Colosimo.
Juan Diego is one of two remaining undefeated teams in 3A, and it’s easy to see why. It averages five touchdowns per game on offense, while only allowing 8.1 ppg game on defense.
Led by Chase Williams (793 yards) and Jessie Springer (690 yards), Juan Diego has rushed for more than 2,800 yards this season. The Soaring Eagle are anything but one dimensional, though. Their quarterbacks have combined to pass for more than 1,100 yards, led by Nick Markosian’s 703 yards.
“We just try and take what the defense gives us and do that more by play calling and decisions by the quarterback,” said Colosimo.
Defense is ultimately what separates Juan Diego from just about every other team in 3A. In the past six games, which includes its preseason-finale against Granger, Juan Diego surrendered a combined 24 points and no more than seven in any one game.
Linebackers Dakota Cox, a University of Cincinnati commit, and Walter Kauhaahaa, a Utah State commit, have been the catalysts to that outstanding defense.
Coming off a region campaign in which Juan Diego absolutely dominated with a 41.9 average margin of victory, the players are anxious to compete in meaningful playoff games.
Grantsville is anxious to see how it stacks up against the No. 1 team in 3A.
“We have a saying around here, to be considered one of the better teams you have to beat one of the better teams, and it just so happens we get to play the best,” said Cloward.
The Cowboys never expected to be in such a tough first-round situation. They’ve faced injury adversity throughout the year though, particularly losing starting quarterback Max Cook to a season-ending injury a week before the season began.
After experimenting with sophomore Nephi Meono at quarterback early in the year, Grantsville switched to senior Kelby Landon in Week 5 and his leadership led the Cowboys to a 4-2 record the latter portion of the season.
One of those games was a narrow 14-13 defeat to undefeated Stansbury back on Oct. 11. That game gives Grantsville hope it can compete with Juan Diego.
“We’re using the Stansbury game as a leveling stick that we can play with these top teams in the state,” said Cloward.
If Grantsville expects to compete, it can’t afford to fall behind early.
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