OGDEN — Back in Week 4 of the preseason, two-time state champ Beaver had a humbling loss on the road against South Summit — the same team it beat in the previous two title games.
Both will get a shot at redemption.
Beaver rolled past Delta 35-16 at Weber State in the 2A semifinals on Saturday as it moved one step closer to the elusive 3-peat. The last 2A school to win three straight state championships was Dixie from 1972 to 1974.
Beaver intercepted Delta five times — most in the second half as the Rabbits tried to rally — and pulled away to advance to next Saturday’s 2A championship at Southern Utah at 11 a.m. against South Summit.
Porter Hollingshead and Tyce Raddon did much of the damage both offensively and defensively for the Beavers. Raddon rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns, while Hollingshead passed for 83 yards and a score, rushed for 115 yards and added three interceptions.
His pick-six midway through the fourth quarter was the dagger.
“He’s a fantastic player. He started all last year on defense. I thought he was one of the best corners in the state last year for us. That pick-six he had was a tremendous play by him, he just read it, picked it and score, and to win championships you’ve got to have kids who just go make plays, and porter has done that all year long,” said Beaver coach Sam Marshall.
Saturday’s semifinal was tight in the first half, with Beaver leading 14-7, and it was still tight late in the third quarter after Delta booted a field to make it a 14-10 game with 3:34 left.
Beaver’s Rhett Jordan recorded a big sack on third down to force the field goal, something Marshall was thrilled about after his defense faced a first and goal.
“If they go down and score and tie the game 14-14, they have all the momentum,” said Marshall.
Beaver took over from there, scoring three straight touchdowns over a five-minute span to blow the game wide open for a 25-point lead midway through the fourth.
Raddon scored his third touchdown of the game to push the lead to 21-10 with 32 seconds left in the third. Then, two plays after a Hollingshead interception, Jordan hauled in a six-yard TD pass from Hollingshead for the 28-10 cushion four seconds into the fourth.
Later in the fourth quarter, Hollingshead grabbed his second interception, returning this one 63 yards for the score and the 35-10 lead.
When Beaver beat Delta in Week 4, it dominated on the ground with Raddon and Hollingshead both rushing for over 165 yards.
The rematch had much the same feel in the first half. Raddon rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, while Hollingshead rushed for 79 yards.
Raddon’s first touchdown put Beaver head 7-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter, and his second extended the lead to 14-0 with 9:59 remaining in the half.
“Tyce is still getting back to 100 percent. He ran hard; he did some good things,” said Marshall.
Delta, which only had one first down on its first three drives, finally got into a rhythm on its fourth drive marching 71 yards in 4:06, with Trevor Burton capping the drive on a 37-yard TD pass from Jake Day.
Delta’s defense fed off the momentum to force Beaver into a three-and-out with 4:07 left in the half, but the Rabbits couldn’t capitalize on the excellent field position as the drive ended on a fourth down interception in the end zone.