OGDEN — If Mayweather vs. Pacquiao or Mayweather vs. McGregor were any indication, the world loves big-time fights. If things continue as they have of late between 3A football heavyweights Summit Academy and Juan Diego, every contest between them is going to be a must-see event.
The Bears took round one, two weeks ago in Draper, in thrilling fashion when they defeated Juan Diego 51-49.
The rematch, set in the semifinals of the 3A playoffs, was even better.
Juan Diego defeated Summit Academy 38-37 in double-overtime Saturday night at Weber State University, eliminating their rivals and securing a berth in the 3A state championship game in the process.
Quarterback Zachary Hoffman led the way for the two-time defending champion Soaring Eagle with 136 yards passing and a touchdown, as well as 61 yards on the ground. Hunter Easterly added 172 yards and three scores, all rushing, while Lucas Prokopis hauled in a 33-yard touchdown.
Summit Academy, meanwhile, was carried by quarterback Hayden Reynolds, who accounted for 248 yards and four touchdowns through the air and another 127 yards and a score on the ground. Receivers Parker Clawson and Gavin Davey were both excellent, racking up 64 and 61 yards, respectively, and a combined three touchdown receptions.
“There is just a great competition between the two schools,” said Juan Diego head coach John Colosimo. “We played a classic game two weeks ago, and this one was every bit as good.”
That wasn’t always the case Saturday night, but when Reynolds led his Bears on a 11-play, 93-yard fourth quarter scoring drive, a drive that culminated in a four-yard touchdown reception by Clawson, it was game on.
That TD knotted the score at 24 points apiece, with just under four minutes remaining in regulation.
Hoffman and Easterly then scraped a drive together for Juan Diego, eventually giving the designated home team a chance to win the game with a 29-yard field goal.
Soaring Eagle kicker Alex Saunders’ attempt sailed wide left, however, a much-too familiar sight for Juan Diego fans (Saunders missed a late field goal in the earlier contest between the two teams that would have won that game).
“I told them, ‘OK. We’re tied. Lets go play overtime,’” said Colosimo. “I told Alex he might get another shot to win it, and we just needed to keep our heads up.”
Summit Academy got the ball first in overtime and Reynolds picked up where he left off, scoring a touchdown himself to put the Bears on top 31-24.
Easterly then responded for Juan Diego, matching Reynolds with a one-yard touchdown run.
The Soaring Eagle started with possession in the second overtime, and it seemed as though the Bears had figured them out. Neither Hoffman nor Easterly nor Tristen Tonozzi could get any purchase in the run game, and, before they knew it, Juan Diego was staring at a 4th and 18 from the 33-yard line.
With the season on the line, Hoffman delivered a near-perfect pass to Prokopis, and the senior wideout did not disappoint, hauling it in for a 33-yard touchdown.
“I knew Luke was going to be open," said Hoffman. “I just trusted him, threw the ball up there, and he caught it. He made the play.”
“The kids battled,” added Colosimo. “We got that big play on fourth down for the touchdown. How lucky was that?”
That score gave Juan Diego a 38-31 lead, putting the onus squarely back on the Bears.
Reynolds and Summit Academy were more than up for the challenge, as Reynolds found Davey for a 25-yard touchdown that cut the Soaring Eagle lead to 38-37.
Trailing by one, Summit Academy decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Reynolds looked for Davey on the play, and he seemed to have the senior wideout open, but the pass fell incomplete.
Just like that, the Soaring Eagle walked away with the victory.
“They went for two, for the win,” said Colosimo. “I respect that tremendously.”
“Both of the games we played against them could have gone either way,” added Colosimo. “We will let them have (the earlier one). We’ll take this one,”