OGDEN — Milford knew better than to take anything for granted in Saturday’s 1A state championship at Weber State.
That mentality nearly ended its season two weeks earlier as Milford eked a quarterfinal victory over Layton Christian with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
That wake-up call led to a 48-point win over Monticello in the semifinals last week — after beating Monticello by just a touchdown in the regular season — and the dominance continued on Saturday in the title game rematch with Duchesne.
Milford quarterback Bryson Barnes tossed six touchdowns, and the Tigers took advantage of five Duchesne turnovers to cap a perfect 12-0 season with a dominant 45-14 win over Duchesne.
“This is awesome for these kids not to taste defeat,” said Milford coach Thane Marshall. “These kids fought, they came to practice every day, they worked their butts off. They just keep fighting, and they did whatever us coaches want them to do,” said Marshall.
The championship was the third in the 77-year history of Milford football, with the other two coming in 1993 and then last year with a 28-14 win over Duchesne.
Last year, Duchesne beat Milford in the regular season, but the Tigers had the perfect rebuttal in the championship.
Duchesne was hoping for a similar reversal heading into Saturday’s championship after losing to Milford 26-13 during the regular season. Turnovers spoiled any hope of that good fortune.
Milford capitalized on four Duchesne turnovers in the first half to build a 32-0 lead and stretched it to 45-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
Barnes completed 12 of 19 passes for 352 yards and six touchdowns — to four different receivers — giving him 48 passing TDs on the season.
“It’s good to have people out there that can catch the ball and not rely on one guy. It’s pick your poison, you try and guard Paxton (Henrie) and double him up, (Jarrett) Sullivan, (Zachary) Sherwood and (Karson) Wunderlich are right there, and Bret Beebe out of the backfield,” said Barnes.
The onslaught started early. Duchesne coughed up a fumble on its opening possession of the game, with Milford punching it in five plays later on a Barnes one-yard QB sneak.
By the end of the first quarter, Milford’s lead swelled to 19-0 as Barnes hit Beebe on a 19-yard TD strike and then Henrie on an 80-yard pass.
In the second quarter, Barnes connected with Beebe on a 68-yard TD strike and then Jarrett Sullivan on a 27-yard pass for the 32-0 halftime lead.
Marshall said it wasn’t an accident that his team came out and played so well, Layton Christian helped make sure of that.Comment on this story
“Give Layton Christian credit, they came out and did something we weren’t ready for. We were ready for it this time when Duchesne tried to do it,” said Marshall.
Three plays into the third quarter, Barnes hit Zachary Sherwood on a 44-yard pass up the sideline for the 39-0 lead and the mercy rule running clock.
Barnes capped the scoring for Milford with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter on a five-yard TD pass to Henrie. It was the 25th TD catch of the season for Henrie, which is currently a new state record.
Orem’s Puka Nacua has 24 TD catches, but he has one game remaining next week in the 4A state championship at Rice-Eccles Stadium.