Their excitement is going to be so high and they’re going be coming out with fire, so if we don’t match that, that’s when we get in trouble. —Duchesne head coach Jerry Cowan
Duchesne (9-1) vs. Parowan (8-2)
1A state tournament quarterfinals
Friday, noon. (at Weber State)
Parry’s Power Guide: Duchesne by 13
All-time series: Duchesne leads 8-3
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Duchesne’s Jerry Cowan and Parowan’s Carter Miller
Last meeting: Oct. 24, 2008 — Parowan 47-8
The Duchesne Eagles and Parowan Rams entered the 2017 season with about as opposite of recent histories as possible.
Since the 2008 season when the two teams last played each other, the Eagles have claimed five state championships while the Rams have won just a single playoff game. Even as recently as last year, Duchesne won the 1A title while Parowan compiled just a 3-6 record.
But thanks in large part to new head coach Carter Miller, the Rams put together an impressive 7-2 regular-season record this year (their first winning season since 2013) and then beat up on Altamont in the quarterfinals, setting up a semifinal showdown with the reigning kings of 1A on Friday at Weber State after the Eagles cruised past Monticello in the opening round.
“It’s good to see new blood,” Duchesne head coach Jerry Cowan said. “They haven’t been here for a while, so they’re playing for a lot there. They’re excited and they want to keep the momentum going, I’m sure.”
While Parowan might be the fresh storyline for 2017, it’s not as though the Eagles have dropped off since winning the 2016 championship. In addition to going 6-0 versus 1A competition, they also beat 3A’s Carbon, along with American Leadership and North Summit of 2A. Their only loss came against 3A’s Richfield.
Duchesne has boasted a very balanced offense, as quarterback Jarett Spencer got over the 1,000-yard passing mark last week, while Weston Poulsen and Skyler Ford both have over 700 yards rushing, with Jaren Mortensen having added nearly 400.
Defensively, Poulsen leads the Eagles in tackles with 65 and Jack Roberts has a whopping 11 sacks. In rather typical Duchesne fashion, it’s giving up just under 10 points per contest.
“I have a lot of respect for Duchesne,” Miller said. “That’s where we want to be we want to be that program that is consistently competitive and consistently good and consistently tough.”
That doesn’t mean Parowan is entering the game intimidated, however. Since he took over the program, Miller has tried to instill what he calls a “quiet confidence” in his players, which he said has grown throughout the season.
“I just think it took somebody to come in and instill a little bit of belief in them and tell them they were champions,” Miller said, noting the strong leadership of his senior class. “We have a lot of talent, and the kids bought into what we wanted to do. They believed me when I said they were winners.”
Running an option offense, Parowan has found offensive success (39.9 points per game) thanks to a balanced option attack led by Miller’s son Porter, who has rushed for 1,393 yards and 17 touchdowns. Additionally, Ethan Guymon is knocking on the door of 1,000 yards with 935 (plus 10 touchdowns), while five others have racked up at least 100 yards on the year.
Defensively, Porter Miller leads the Rams with 55 tackles, with Porter Wood just behind at 53. Trey Jense has six sacks and Ethan Murphy has 5.5 for a team that gave up just 91 points all year, with 54 of those coming against a high-powered Milford offense.
Although Cowan feels good about his team having experience from last year’s championship run that Parowan doesn’t have, he cautioned that his group can’t get complacent at this point against a team like the Rams.
“Hopefully they don’t want it more than we do, because if they do, that’s a problem,” Cowan said. “Their excitement is going to be so high and they’re going be coming out with fire, so if we don’t match that, that’s when we get in trouble.”
Duchesne statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 23.1 ppg (3rd in 1A)
Scoring defense: 9.8 ppg (2nd in 1A)
Passing leader: Jarett Spencer (53-103, 51.5%, 1,019 yards, 13 TDs, 4 TDs)
Interception leaders: Gavin Davis (3 INTs)
Parowan statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 39.9 ppg (1st in 1A)
Scoring defense: 9.1 ppg (1st in 1A)
Passing leader: Porter Wood (14-36, 38.9%, 301 yards, 5 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Jake Matheson (3 rec., 95 yards, 1 TD)
Interception leaders: Trevor Bassett (4 INTs)
Felts Facts for Duchesne High School
Head coach: 2012-current — Jerry Cowan (59-9)
All-time record: 256-206-1 (47 years)
Region championships: 14 (1983 co, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 38
Current playoff appearance streak: 18 (2000-2017)
All-time playoff record: 34-31
State championships: 6 (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016)
State championship record: 6-3
Felt’s Facts for Parowan High School
Head coach: 2017 — Carter Miller (8-2)
All-time record: 164-427-7 (69 years)
Region championships: 1 (1989)
Playoff appearances: 20
Current playoff appearance streak: 1 (2017)
All-time playoff record: 8-19
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-1