We were just having a lot of fun out there and that's when we play our best. Everyone was contributing and it just feels great to go out like this to win a region championship. —Puka Nacua
OREM — Orem closed out a Region 10 championship on Thursday in the same dominating fashion it has shown throughout region play. The latest victim was Spanish Fork, who the Tigers beat 35-20 in a game that wasn't as close as the final would indicate.
After a slow start, Orem scored four straight touchdowns to build a commanding 35-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Dons scored two touchdowns late, but the game was well out of reach.
Nacua's highlight was a 62-yard touchdown, where he turned a quick screen into an electrifying run that put the Tigers up 21-6 with 4:15 left in the second quarter.
"I got a good lane, but then saw a safety ready to come across, so I just decided to turn on the boosters. Fortunately it worked out," Nacua said of his first touchdown on the night.
For Legas, he finished with a touchdown pass and a scoring run of 49-yards, which worked to jump-start the Orem offense in the early stages of the second quarter.
Legas' final touchdown pass was a 10-yarder to Nacua.
"We were just having a lot of fun out there and that's when we play our best," Nacua said. "Everyone was contributing and it just feels great to go out like this to win a region championship."
Orem's other scores came on a 1-yard plunge from Klaysen Christianson and a 55-yard interception return by Rylen Sua-filo.
"This is what big players do in big games," said Orem coach Jeremy Hill. "That's what great players do...they get it going and put the game out of reach."
Regarding winning a region championship with a spotless 5-0 record, Hill said, "It's been a long time...This is a big deal for this program and a big thing for this city. These guys have earned it."
Although region championships are nice, Orem doesn't want to just hang its hat on that accomplishment for the 2017 season. The Tigers plan to make a run in the 4A state playoffs and expect big things from themselves.
"This is just the beginning," Nacua said. "I think we're confident and that we can hang with the best teams out there. We've prepared ourselves all year and now we have a chance to do something even bigger."
Although Orem ran through what is considered a relatively weak Region 10, it began the season taking on what most consider the 5A and 6A classification's best, in Corner Canyon and Bingham respectively. Although the Tigers took losses in both games, the experience provided some good lessons and confidence, moving forward.
"We'd like to play those two teams again, to be honest," Nacua said. "We're just really confident right now and we're ready. Everything has come together and we're ready to go against some other great teams and continue to prove ourselves."
The 4A state playoffs begin next Friday with Orem taking on Bear River in the first round.