2A high school football preview: Parowan at Beaver

Parowan looking to exact revenge for 35-0 whipping earlier this season

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

Beaver plays South Summit in a football game at South Summit High School in Kamas on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

BEAVER — Back in Week 3, Beaver flexed its muscles against rival Parowan and rolled to a 35-0 victory in the region opener for both schools.

As exciting as that night was for the Beavers, coach Steve Hutchings is insisting his players forget about it completely heading into Friday’s 2A quarterfinal rematch with Parowan.

“To be honest, we’re not even thinking about that game. Parowan is a different team, and I think we’re a different team. We haven’t dwelt much on that game. We’re going on last few games they’ve had, and the last two games we’ve played,” said Hutchings.

At 8-1, Beaver has been pretty consistent all season, it’s just executing much better as of late.

For Parowan, the first half of the season and the second half are like night and day, a big reason the Rams won’t be a pushover Friday night.

After getting blanked by Beaver, Enterprise and San Juan in Weeks 3-5, it would’ve been easy for Parowan’s players to starting thinking, “Here we go again” and stopped working hard. Coach Brigham Nielsen, however, was pleased to see them come back more committed than ever, and it’s paid off

“The kids have just figured it out, and we understand what we’re doing, the offense is clicking and we have a better understanding on defense. We’re doing it as a unit and not just individuals,” said Nielsen.

Parowan beat Layton Christian 27-17 last week in the first round of the 2A playoffs, and prior to that it beat American Leadership, South Sevier and North Sevier. Its only loss during the five-game stretch was a 43-14 setback to Grand, but Nielsen said his team still played well, finishing with 400 yards of total offense.

The Rams will need to duplicate that effort to have a chance of pulling off the upset.

Beaver is the second-highest scoring team in 2A at 34.6 ppg, and they’ve scored at least 45 points in three straight. Senior Jesse McMullin has been the focal point of the offense with 1,134 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns this season

“He’s our featured back, he’s the guy we try and get the ball to. We use him a couple times as a decoy, but he’s carrying the ball 25 times a game for us,” said Hutchings. “That’s not a secret. Every team knows he’s the guy they need to key on.”

When Beaver does need to throw the connection between quarterback Kasen Hutchings and a receiver, Michael Roberts is dangerous too.

As good as Beaver’s offense is, its defense is pretty stout as well, only allowing 11.0 ppg.

“They’re just a great team, they have a great program, and that’s a plus for them and where we’re trying to get to,” said Nielsen. “They know what they’re doing and they’ve been doing it for 10 years. That’s what makes them a great team.”

Parowan has found success offensively as of late with a mix of run and pass. Caleb Murphy has passed for 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns, and running backs Jake Topham and Cody Hartlmaier provide a nice 1-2 punch. Topham is the power back who has rushed for 553 yards and four scores, while Hartlmaier is a quicker change-of-pace type back.

“Rushing game has been fantastic in terms of our offensive line being tough and wear down defensive line,” said Nielsen.

It’s doubtful Parowan will be able to wear down Beaver’s strong defensive front. It will need to execute for four quarters and avoid mistakes to try and pull off the upset.

Parowan statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 18.0 ppg (8th in 2A)

Scoring defense: 21.2 ppg (8th in 2A)