Judge (5-5) at Morgan (6-4)
3A state tournament first round
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Morgan by 3
All-time series: Judge leads 20-14-1
Coach vs. coach: Morgan’s Kovi Christiansen leads Judge’s James Cordova, 2-1
Last meeting: Oct. 22, 2010 — Morgan 23, Judge 3
The Judge Memorial and Morgan football teams have not yet played each other this season. But for their head coaches, meeting in late October is familiar territory.
“It seems like every first round we’re heading to Morgan,” Judge Memorial coach James Cordova said of the first-round 3A playoff match-up. “We know each other well. (Morgan coach) Kovi Christiansen is a great coach, his team is always well-prepared.”
Christiansen had a similar reaction to facing the Bulldogs again this season.
“We have coached against each other three or four or more times, and we know each other a little,” he said. “(The Bulldogs) are athletic, like always. They are well-coached and physical.”
The Trojans lost just one Region 11 contest — a one-point, overtime loss to region champion Stansbury — and earned the home playoff game. Judge Memorial took third in the Region 10 race.
Cordova said visiting Morgan is a good experience for his team.
“The fan base is great,” he said. “Everybody comes to the games. They are supportive of their team and gracious toward visitors.”
But, he added, with their constantly different looks on offense, the Trojans are challenging to prepare for.
“They are tough, they are different from any other team on offense. That makes them difficult to prepare for,” Cordova said. “Sometimes there is one tight end, sometimes two, sometimes they are wide, sometimes they run a sweep nobody runs it as well as Morgan.”
Christiansen had similar thoughts when drawing up his game plan against the Bulldogs.
“We will have to be disciplined to hang with them,” he said. “They have a complex offense. We really need to make sure we know our assignments on defense.”
Judge Memorial will be looking for a strong game from its defense.
“We have to shut down the run,” Cordova said.
Senior Pat Neville, who leads the team in tackles with 113, will need to have a big day. The same goes for safety Sean McMinimee.
“Sean has done a nice job in the secondary,” Cordova said. “This week, we need to stop their pass game.”
For Morgan, Christiansen said this week, as it has been the entire season, must be a solid team effort.
“We have a whole bunch of kids who are contributing. One of our biggest strengths is that we play well together.”
While the team is led by a core of seniors, there is a contingent of younger players who are adding to the team’s success.
“We have a good mix, and they are peaking at just the right time,” Christiansen said.
Ultimately, the coach said, the Trojans are happy to play another week.
“We are excited to be in the playoffs. We are looking forward to the home game.”
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