DRAPER — In a battle between Salt Lake Valley's two Catholic high schools, Juan Diego's Cody Berg rushed for 80 yards and Nathan Elorreaga threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Soaring Eagle posted a 21-7 Region 11 win over Judge Memorial.
"We're 2-0 in region and you can't beat that," said Juan Diego coach John Colosimo. "Our defense really came to play."
More importantly, the defense didn't let Judge play — much. Led by guys like Bryson Pitcher and Eric Heinz, the Soaring Eagle spent a lot of time in Judge's backfield, recording nine sacks, and limiting its rival to 161 total yards.
Judge also had trouble with turnovers, committing two (an interception and a fumble) early in the game that resulted in points. The loss dropped Judge to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in region. It was the team's third straight defeat.
"We're not giving up," said Judge coach James Cordova. "We made some progress with our team tonight."
The progress, however, came later. Juan Diego, meanwhile, grabbed a 21-0 lead within the first seven minutes of the game. In fact, on the game's second play, Elorreaga electrified the home crowd when he connected with Oliver Weight on a 65-yard touchdown pass.
And Juan Diego seized the momentum.
One play later, Cayden Sanchez intercepted Judge quarterback James Delacenserie and Berg eventually scored on a 1-yard run to make it 14-0.
Sanchez later recovered a fumble at the Judge 10-yard line and it took Juan Diego just one play before Elorreaga scampered into the end zone. Most of the crowd figured a rout was in the making.
Except for a quarterback sack that was inches from being a safety, that would be the last of Juan Diego's highlights. That concerned Colosimo, whose offense was bottled up by Judge's defense after that, and also hurt itself with penalties.
"It was frustrating that we couldn't do anything more after that," he said. "We need to learn to be more consistent on the offensive side."
Cordova, meanwhile, tried to spark his team by replacing Delacenserie with Daniel Shiramizu, and the senior did his best to rally the team. Shiramizu was a one-man show, but had success using his speed to get past the Juan Diego pass rush.
While Shiramizu was exciting (16 carries, 27 yards and 89 yards passing), he couldn't lead the team to a score until the game's final minutes.
Juan Diego had emptied its bench and was attempting to run out the clock. However, a fumble on the snap was recovered by Judge and gave the team one more chance.
With fans for both teams cheering for their squads, Judge took advantage of a Juan Diego fumble and ended its scoring drought when Christian Weidle made a nice move to get open and Shiramizu found him on a 26-yard scoring pass.
"Shiramizu really gave us a lift, especially with his legs," Cordova said.
It was too little, too late, but it made the game exciting until the final seconds.
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