DRAPER The Juan Diego Soaring Eagle scored all 14 of their points in the second quarter en route to a 14-6 win at home over the Delta Rabbits. With the win, the 5th-ranked Soaring Eagle clinched the Region 8 title.
Both teams battled hard defensively for all four quarters, with each team only scoring one offensive touchdown. The difference in the game was turnovers. Juan Diego only lost turnover to Delta, while the Rabbits lost four turnovers to the Soaring Eagle, including one returned for a touchdown.
"We knew it would be a battle," Juan Diego head coach John Colosimo said. "Both defenses played well. We both know each other so well that it comes down to game plans."
After several offensive series that went nowhere in the first quarter, Brian May got the scoring started for Juan Diego in the second quarter, recovering a fumble by Delta and running it back 14 yards for a touchdown.
May wasn't the only standout on defense for the Soaring Eagle. Joshua Rude had two interceptions that ended up being game-changing plays for Juan Diego.
After blocking a field goal in the final minute of the second quarter, the Rabbits had possession of the ball and momentum. On the ensuing series, however, Aldo Espinosa blocked a pass, Jordan Cox sacked Brook Chappell for a loss and Rude intercepted a pass in Rabbits territory to enable the Soaring Eagle offense to have one final drive.
With 18 seconds left in the half, Corey Lever completed a 40-yard pass to Jacob Doughty, setting up a 10-yard TD reception by Keegan Anderson to give Juan Diego a 14-point cushion The Rabbits got on the scoreboard in the fourth. Chappell connected with Kurt Nielson for a 30-yard reception and Curtis Eliason ran for a 26-yard TD on the very next down. That series accounted for 56 of Delta's 85 total yards in the game.
Besides that one exception, the Juan Diego defense was nearly perfect.
Rude's second interception came in the final minute with the Rabbits attempting to drive down the field and clinched the win for Juan Diego.
"This was just a great game to be in," Rude said. "Now we're excited, we're pumped and we're ready to go for next week."Lever led Juan Diego's offense, going 8-for-13 with 131 yards and a touchdown, while lineman Jamie Markosian was another ace on the Soaring Eagle defense with two sacks and six tackles.