DRAPER Juan Diego handed off the ball on all but a handful of its offensive plays on Saturday. And with each rushing attempt, the Soaring Eagle darted a little closer to the 3A state quarterfinals.
"We're getting to the turf," said Juan Diego quarterback Corey Lever, referring to his team's goal of playing for the state title at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Nov. 16. "That's all that's on our minds."
The Region 8 champs steamrolled their first-round foes, the Ben Lomond Scots of Region 11, to start their bid for the 3A trophy. Led by Lever's three touchdown passes and a juggernaut rushing attack, the Soaring Eagles scored on its first five possessions to dispatch the Scots 48-13 Saturday afternoon.
Juan Diego will face Union next week in the 3A quarterfinals.
Juan Diego's opening drive was an indication of how the rest of the game would play out. On the game's first play from scrimmage, the Soaring Eagle was penalized for a false start the teams combined for 22 penalties. And then Juan Diego marched 80 yards on 11 plays, capped by a 9-yard touchdown run by Brayden Dimond (150 yards, two touchdowns on 20 carries).
Juan Diego recovered a fumble on Ben Lomond's second offensive play and needed only one snap to go ahead 14-0, thanks to a 28-yard pass from Lever to Keegan Anderson. It was one of only eight pass attempts by Lever (5-for-8 for 112 yards, 70 rushing yards on nine carries), who nevertheless posted three scores through the air.
"We're a running team," Juan Diego coach John Colosimo said. "We also wanted to spread out our offense and show our next opponent what to expect."
Juan Diego's offense was simple, even predictable, but incredibly effective against the Scots. The Soaring Eagle had 17 plays go for double-digit yardage.
The Scots' offense was equally predictable, but its effectiveness wore off after some initial signs of potency. After the opening-drive fumble, Ben Lomond quarterback Chase Moore connected with receivers on a series of hitch passes and converted back-to-back drives into touchdowns.
Moore (10-for-31 for 244 yards and two scores) had a harder time finding his receivers as the game progressed, and the Scots' running game was utterly stymied. Running back Shay Kaleikini led the team with 31 yards on seven attempts, and most of that production came on a handful of draw plays that caught the defense flat-footed.
Tyler Morales (77 rush yards, 37 receiving) scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and also reached paydirt on a long screen pass. Victor Jackson got behind a pair of defenders and hauled in a 72-yard touchdown pass in an opening quarter that saw five total touchdowns scored.