DRAPER As Juan Diego's defense overwhelmed its opening four opponents, coach John Colosimo couldn't help but think about what the critics were saying.
Though the Soaring Eagle surrendered just 12 total points in those first four games, which were all blowout wins, the naysayers questioned whether Juan Diego's defense could possibly be as good as it had been once it faced stiffer competition.
Colosimo wondered the same thing.
More strenuous examinations will come later on, but on the evidence of one game against a quality opponent, Juan Diego's defense demonstrated that it most certainly is that good.
And then some.
Against Catholic rival Judge Memorial, Juan Diego's phenomenal defense left the Bulldogs' talented offensive stars looking dazed and confused from start to finish. And once the dust had settled, the end product was a dominating 35-7 Juan Diego win Friday evening before a packed crowd at Soaring Eagle Stadium.
"The defensive effort was outstanding," said Colosimo. "We were just a buzz-saw out there getting after them. I don't know if they knew what to call half the time the 25-second clock was just going down.
"Our defense rose to the occasion, as they have all year. They've been playing really well, and they've been validated against a very good team."
They weren't perfect, but all 11 of Juan Diego's defensive starters were outstanding from start to finish. Given a fantastic game-plan by defensive coordinator Joe Colosimo, John's brother, the Soaring Eagle got after Judge from the word "Go."
So dominant was Juan Diego's defense that Judge mustered just 14 yards of total offense in the first half and didn't gain a single first down until star receiver Keenyn Walker scored on a 25-yard TD pass with 3:18 remaining in the third quarter.
For the game, Judge finished with just three first downs and 76 yards of total offense, most of which came long after the contest had been decided.
"We did pretty good," dead-panned Juan Diego linebacker Jacob Doughty, who finished with six tackles, one sack and one tackle-for-loss. "I think the key was we didn't get too ahead of ourselves. We knew we had to play it one play at a time, and from there we were pretty good."
Offensively, Doughty helped get things going for the Soaring Eagle. He hauled in a 32-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Brian May with 1:34 left in the first quarter, and Juan Diego realistically didn't look back from there.
Frankie Sutera doubled Juan Diego's lead just over a minute later when he scooped up a fumble and scooted 21 yards to the end zone, and the Soaring Eagle capitalized on its stellar defense to pile up a 35-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
For his part, May finished with two touchdown passes and two TD runs for the Soaring Eagle.
All of which helped Juan Diego beat its Catholic rival for the first time in three meetings. Colosimo feels that the rivalry between Juan Diego and Judge can easily get "blown out of proportion," but he also noted his kids were certainly fired up on Friday.
E-mail: [email protected]