There were big plays out of everybody and they just hung in there and kept swinging the hammer. —Morgan head coach Kovi Christiansen
OGDEN — Things weren’t looking great for the Morgan Trojans Friday night at Weber State’s Stewart Stadium. After jumping out to an impressive 20-point lead, courtesy of two Bridger Miller rushing scores and a pick-six by Ethan Wheeler, the Trojans had lost their mettle.
The Juab Wasps, the other participant in the 3A semifinal game, had scored back-to-back-back touchdowns, all while stymieing any and all Trojan efforts on offense.
When Juab quarterback Easton Wright connected with wide receiver Macray Stevens for a 43-yard score just three minutes into the third quarter, it seemed only a matter of time before the Wasps claimed the lead, most likely for good.
And then, with the clock on the scoreboard reading just over nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, everything changed.
Morgan controlled the game from there, displaying both the passion and skill that had lifted the Trojans to the semifinals in the first place.
The end result was a 34-18 victory and a return to the state championship game.
“I’m proud of all of them,” Morgan head coach Kovi Christiansen said. “There were big plays out of everybody and they just hung in there and kept swinging the hammer."
“It is so cool,” added Hurd. “This is huge. We worked so hard, all preseason and all season to get here. We just worked our tails off and we earned this. We are going to state.”
Indeed they are, with the 3A state championship set to be played Nov. 11 at Southern Utah University's Eccles Coliseum.
Early on it seemed as though Eccles Coliseum was calling the Trojans. They could do no wrong.
After a scoreless first quarter, that saw both sides feel one another out, the Trojans seemed to crack the nut that was the Wasps No. 1 ranked scoring defense (Juab allowed the fewest points per game this season in 3A, at 14.5).
Miller’s first score was the cherry-on-top of a 14-play, 87-yard drive that established that the Wasps were beatable.
Immediately following that score, Wheeler picked off Wright and took it to the house for another touchdown.
Three minutes later, the Trojans struck again, with a four-play, 79-yard drive capped off by yet another Miller touchdown.
“It always scares me to get points that fast,” Christiansen said. “We did the same thing against Judge, where we got up 21-0 and then we had a huge letdown. Sometimes, when (points) come in bunches like that it puts me on edge.”
Deservedly so as the Wasps responded with their trio of touchdowns, over the latter part of the second quarter and into the third.
“We kept preaching ‘we are still in the game. We’ve still got the lead. If they don’t score, they don’t win. If they don’t score, we’ve got the win’,” said Christiansen.
It wasn’t until Hurd was streaking down the Morgan sideline, ball in hand, however, that it truly felt as though the Trojans had the win.
“That play was just perfect,” Hurd said of his game-clinching touchdown. “The quarterback put it right where it had to be. It was just a great play by the quarterback.”
“It was awesome,” Hurd added of his score. “I knew when I scored that we were going to state.”
The Trojans added another late score, a Porter Giles rushing touchdown, to stretch the lead even further but by that point the game was already over. Morgan football was headed back to the state championship game.
“I’m just so proud of everybody,” said Christiansen. “I wouldn’t put anything past us.”