SALT LAKE CITY — Pine View went into Friday's semifinal game against Orem with a mind single to shutting down prolific USC-commit Puka Nacua, and for at least one half, mission accomplished.
But as far as shutting everything around the Tigers' star receiver, things didn't go nearly as well, at all.
The Tigers blitzed the Panthers for 48 first-half points, proving there are many parts that help them go, beyond what many consider the best receiver to play in the state in recent history.
"When they throw two or three guys on Puka we're just too good everywhere else," said Orem coach Jeremy Hill after his team's 62-20 win. "You've got to pick your poison and they did a good job on Puka."
According to Nacua and his quarterback, Cooper Legas, it was definitely more than two guys bracketing Orem's big-play receiver from the first series to the last.
"Puka is the best receiver in the country, so there's no way one guy can cover him, but they put freaking three dudes on him," Legas said. "So we could have run it all game long, just because they were so concerned about Puka."
Nacua hardly seemed phased one bit by Pine View's attention and genuinely pleased his teammates were able to capture much of the spotlight under the lights at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"What can I say? Everyone stepped it up," Nacua said. "Last year I had two touchdowns called back in our game here against Sky View and it was just as fun. It's fun for me when we move the ball. We were a well-oiled machine tonight."
Despite all the coverage attention thrown his was Nacua still managed to lead his team with five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.Comment on this story
"Coaches tried to get me over 100 yards, but I remember coming off the field and just saying, 'Dang, there's seven guys on me out there,'" Nacua said. "A lot of the hype goes to me, Cooper (Legas) and Noah (Sewell), but everbody else stepped up and played their part."
When asked which players don't get a lot of the attention, but probably should, Hill went straight to his offensive front.
"It's always the offensive line," Hill said. "I think we got the best (offensive line) in the state and Cooper had a lot of time to sit back there and find receivers and our running backs had some big open lanes for big chunks of yardage."