I think the whole team stepped up, to be honest. The weather hasn’t been like this all year, and we just started rolling, we went with the flow, and we did what we had to do and now we’re on top —Klaysen Christianson
SALT LAKE CITY — In order for Orem to win its first high school football championship since 1994, the Tigers had to have everybody firing on all cylinders Friday. Orem received contributions from everyone — from unheralded players to its stars — as they defeated Mountain Crest 26-0 at Rice-Eccles Stadium as snowflakes began to fall, claiming the 4A state championship.
One of those unheralded players was Klaysen Christianson, a freshman quarterback who scored his second touchdown of the season on the biggest stage in high school football on a 13-yard run — Orem’s first touchdown of the game —with his teammates pushing him the extra yards.
“We went an extra five yards, got the first touchdown, and momentum started rolling, then it just turned into a showcase,” Christianson said. “I’ve been doing this since first grade, and it’s my freshman year and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been with the same guys since I was very, very little and the amount of joy that’s coming through me, I can’t express it."
Christianson said it took an entire team effort to take home the championship trophy.
“I think everyone stepped up. The line, it starts with the line up front, to get the running game going, then the passing going, then it goes on a roll and it’s a rhythm. I think the whole team stepped up, to be honest. The weather hasn’t been like this all year, and we just started rolling, we went with the flow, and we did what we had to do and now we’re on top,” Christianson said.
While Orem ran more than it passed, partly due to the wet conditions, the 11 completions were spread out, with Puka Nacua leading the Tigers with four receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown, while Enoch Fiso, Trevor Rockey and Jaxon Williams had two catches apiece.
“You hear a lot in football, next man up, and that’s really what it is. If Puka’s out there and he’s going to get us 200, 300 yards, he’s going to do it, if they’re going to bracket him, try and take it away, we’re going to do some other things, spread that ball around. If I looked at it today, we probably had around 11 guys between receivers and running backs that touched the ball today. That’s just it, spread the ball around and sting them (on whatever) they give us,” Orem head coach Jeremy Hill said.
On the ground, seven Orem players touched the ball, with Christianson leading the team in rushing with 90 yards on four carries. Raphael Cooper finished with six carries for 59 yards, while quarterback Cooper Legas had 27 yards on the ground and a score.
“It says how versatile we are. Cooper played a great game, and he was going to get the ball to all of our playmakers. All of our receivers, our running backs, everybody was a playmaker tonight, not just one person and it showed how well we were able to play with everybody,” Nacua said, as he paused mid-sentence to hug his coach.