3A high school football preview: Morgan at Spanish Fork

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

Morgan (7-4) at Spanish Fork (10-1)

3A state tournament quarterfinal

Friday, 6 p.m.

Parry's Power Guide: Spanish Fork by 19

All-time series: Spanish Fork leads 1-0

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Morgan's Kovi Christiansen and Spanish Fork's Kirk Chambers

Last meeting: Oct. 28, 2011 (3A first round) — Spanish Fork 35, Morgan 20

Thanks to a convincing victory over Judge Memorial in the first round of the state playoffs, Morgan is full of confidence. In addition to its 30-0 win over the Bulldogs, the Trojans ended the season strong, winning three games in a row before losing to Roy in a game where their starters saw only limited action.

"We're pretty confident," Morgan coach Kovi Christensen said. "The kids are playing good and they believe they can win."

Morgan, however, will need to defeat 10-1 Spanish Fork on the road in the 3A quarterfinals Friday to advance.

The Dons enter the game looking to improve on an almost perfect season in which their only loss came to defending 4A champion Logan. In the first round of the playoffs, Spanish Fork defeated Pine View 26-21 in a well-fought game to extend its winning streak to seven.

"We knew it would be a battle," Spanish Fork coach Kirk Chambers said. " We feel bolstered by the win … I think we defeated the hardest opponent out of everybody (in the 3A playoffs)."

The Dons' Braxton Argyle ran for two touchdowns against Pine View to continue his terrific season, while Jason Money threw a touchdown pass, but also suffered three interceptions.

"We have to play better on offense and connect better on passes," Chambers said.

Spanish Fork has had enjoyed great success offensively this season, and it hopes to return to their dominance when it faces Morgan.

Argyle has rushed for 15 touchdowns and 1,150 yards, while Money has added 20 touchdowns and 1,973 yards through the air.

Not only do the Dons come in with that one-two punch on offense, they have one of the best defenses in 3A.

Through 11 games, Spanish Fork has only allowed 132 points and in five region games it only allowed a mere 36 points.

Morgan may be able to combat Spanish Fork's defense though, as its running game is balanced yet potent. Six runners have rushed for 200 or more yards and 38 of the team's touchdowns have been on the ground.

Lantzen Toomer leads Morgan with 620 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, while Kade Carrigan backs him up with 448 yards and five rushing touchdowns.

However, Chambers feels that his defense should be able to handle the ground attack.

"We feel that we've meshed well against the run," Chambers explained. "We're trying to hit home to our kids to play disciplined football."

Along with a solid defense, Spanish Fork has some experience in the playoffs besides its victory over Pine View. In 2011, the Dons reached the semifinals before narrowly losing to eventual champion Hurricane.

"(Our players) have been there so they know how to approach the playoffs," Chambers said.

On its way to the semifinals in 2011, Spanish Fork defeated Morgan in the first round and Christensen thinks that that will motivate his team this Friday.

"We've got the revenge factor," Christensen said. "We're going to come in and play hard and see what happens."

Morgan statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 34.5 ppg

Scoring defense: 20.9 ppg

Passing leader: Ben Saunders (48-76, 63.2%, 987 yards, 10 TDs, 2 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Lantzen Toomer (94 carries, 620 yards, 11 TDs), Kade Carrigan (84 carries, 448 yards, 5 TDs), Joseph Kippen (48 carries, 310 yards, 6 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Lantzen Toomer (23 rec., 476 yards, 6 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Cameron Skinner (40 tackles), Matt Murdock (39 tackles)

Sack leaders: Kyle Stapley (4.5 sacks)

Interception leaders: K.T. Tibbitts, Kade Carrigan (3 INTs)

Spanish Fork statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 35.0 ppg

Scoring defense: 12.0 ppg

Passing leader: Jason Money (144-255, 56.5%, 1,973 yards, 20 TDs, 9 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Braxton Argyle (159 carries, 1,150 yards, 15 TDs), Jason Money (57 carries, 389 yards, 4 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Colton Olsen (62 rec., 868 yards, 5 TDs), Cameron Money (43 rec., 814 yards, 10 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Gunnar Beus (92 tackles), Logan Jensen (72 tackles)

Sack leaders: Wyatt Groves, Logan Jensen (5 sacks)

Interception leaders: Cameron Money, Cooper Beck (4 INTs)

Felt's Facts for Morgan High School

All-time record: 424-316-22 (85 years)

Region championships: 21(1930 co, 1935, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1947, 1975 co, 1976, 1977 co, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1989, 1991 co, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2005 co, 2008)

Playoff appearances: 45 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 47-38

State championships: 6 (1940, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1993, 1997,)

State championship record: 6-4

Felt's Factoid(s): Morgan holds the single-game sack record (tied with Weber) of 15, set in 1972 against Grantsville. ... Trojan Jordan Wamsley returned five kickoffs for TDs in 2009 to set a state season record (tied with San Juan's Jens Wilson).

Felt's Facts for Spanish Fork High School

All-time record: 345-417-20 (93 years)

Region championships: 7 (1935 co, 1961, 1969, 1970 co, 1973 co 1977 co, 1991 co, 2012)

Playoff appearances: 30 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 17-29

State championships: None

State championship record: 0-0

Felt's Factoid(s): SF's Hayden Nielsen is one of just four Utah high school players to accumulate over 9,000 career yards of total offense (9,451 from 2009-11).

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company