MIDVALE When the West Jordan Jaguars need a big play, they have a choice.
It's either D.J. Tialavea or Tyson Udy on offense or defense. On Friday night, it was Udy who caught the game-winning touchdown pass to lift the Jags to a 20-17 overtime win over Hillcrest, ruining the Huskies' spirited homecoming game.
"We are the two playmakers," Udy said. "We're the guys the team looks to in big situations."
In this situation, West Jordan trailed 17-14 and faced a third down on Hillcrest's 8-yard line. It was overtime, and Hillcrest kicker Jeffery Brown had already put the Huskies ahead with a 38-yard field goal.
The pressure was on. Two plays earlier, Jags quarterback Jace Rogers had Tialavea open, but the 6-foot-5, 270-pound tight end couldn't hold on to the pass. Udy said they were both open on the play, so the Jags went to Udy on
the other side of the field the next time.
"We knew that's what they would do," said Hillcrest coach Kirk Merhish, whose team is now 2-3 going into Region 2 play. "We talked about it on the field. We didn't stop it, but our defense played a physical game."
West Jordan enters Region 3 play with a 5-0 record, with all of its wins coming away from home.
"You don't expect to win them all," said Jags coach Mike Morgan. "But we've become pretty good road warriors."
It's also nice to have a bit of good fortune. In this case, the Jags were able to make it to overtime thanks to an 18-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter by Damien Maestes, who finished with 156 yards on 24 carries. West Jordan also blocked a field goal, but the turning point came with about two minutes remained and Hillcrest was driving. Suddenly, Huskies quarterback Kolby Koplin fumbled at the Jags' 25 yard-line and Steve Neville recovered.
"That was a big play," said Merhish. "There were probably three or four plays like that which turned the game."
Despite the loss, Hillcrest celebrated its homecoming in style. The team entered the stadium in full black "retro" uniforms that Merhish found from many years ago. Their spirited effort showed quickly, as they stopped West
Jordan on downs on its first possession and Koplin put the Huskies ahead 7-0 with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Danny Thompson.
After West Jordan tied the score, Koplin again engineered a long drive and hit Colby Brklacich with an 8-yard scoring pass. It was 14-7 at halftime.
"They (Hillcrest) played their hearts out," Morgan said. "They played inspired."
That was evident. The half ended with the Jags on the Hillcrest 8
yard-line. As Rogers looked into the end zone, he was sacked by Josh Young.
The second half was filled with more defense by both teams. The Jags did not allow a second-half point. Hillcrest, meanwhile, stuffed West Jordan following two turnovers.
Despite the fumble, Koplin was Hillcrest's biggest offensive threat. He completed 16 of 29 passes for 142 yards and no interceptions. He also ran for 123 yards on 20 carries.