HERRIMAN — With just over three minutes remaining in the first half of Friday’s game against Herriman, Brandon Matich’s East Leopards were leading 7-0 and pinned on their own 1-yard line. After two 1-yard gains from Tutu Spann, Charlie Vincent took the handoff from Josh Glad, ducked past the Herriman defensive line, juked one defender and scorched the Herriman defense with a back-breaking 97-yard touchdown.
The Leopards added another long score, a 63-yard romp by Glad, to improve to (5-2, 2-0) with a tougher than the score suggests, 33-8 win.
“I thought it would be about week five or week six when we got the motor going with this young team,” Brandon Matich, East coach said. “Here we are and hopefully we can keep this train going.”
Leopards quarterback Glad, who has been battling AC injuries to both shoulders, had two 60-plus yard runs and directed the East option with seasoned authority.
“It was tough to get it going against a good Herriman defense,” Glad said. “Our offensive line played a great game, we executed and made some big plays.”
East got on the board late in the first quarter with an impressive 67-yard drive. Glad, on a terrifically designed play found Charlie Vincent over the middle for a 46-yard gain to the Herriman 13-yard line. Two runs from Tutu Spann moved the ball to the one, and Glad punched it in on a keeper one play later.
Herriman picked up a pair of first downs on its next drive off personal fouls on the East defense. The Leopard defensive line, led by Apu Ika, Joe Teisina and Noi Noi Tuiaka, had a dominant first quarter and carried that into the second period, forcing a second Mustangs punt.
“It always starts and ends with Apu Ika,” Matich said. “He forces you to double-team and when he breaks that double-team you have to triple team so it frees up everything else for our defense.”
The Mustangs opened the second half with the ball at the 21-yard line. Two penalties and a sack by Tuiaki forced another punt, this one from their own end zone. A good return from Charlie Vincent set the Leopards up at the Mustang 25. With East threatening to put the game away, Herriman junior Kody Eggers pulled down Glad for a loss and East was forced to settle for a 17-0 lead after Luke Janke banged home a 27-yard field goal.
Herriman started its next drive at the 21-yard line with junior quarterback Jaxon James starting to find his stride. All told the Mustang offense put together four, first-downs and reached the Leopard 4-yard line. A fourth-down pass was dropped in the end zone to extinguish what had been Herriman’s best drive of the night.
East upped its lead to 24-0 with a 2-yard score from Quincy Sandoval late in the third period.Comment on this story
Herriman got its first score with 9:37 remaining as James found Fisher Jackson with a 2-yard touchdown pass. East answered on the first play from scrimmage on Glad’s 63-yarder as East added 10 fourth-quarter points to salt the game away.
“I feel like everything is coming together, like we are finally hitting our stride,” Glad said. “Everything is working, our offensive line is playing well, our running backs are finding holes and our defense is lights out.”
East hosts Riverton next week while Herriman (2-5, 0-2) faces off against West Jordan in a critical Region 3 game.