Friday , November 03, 2017 - 10:17 PM1 comment
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the change in location for the 3A football championship game, which the UHSAA moved to Weber State.
OGDEN — Morgan scored its points in bunches and after a brief scare, it was more than enough to defeat Juab in the state 3A semifinals Friday evening.
Atoning for a loss on the same field a year ago, the Trojans raced to an early lead and then gave most of it back before defeating Juab 34-18 at Weber State University.
Bridger Miller scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and rushed for 116 yards on 21 carries, leading the Trojans to a 20-0 lead midway through the period.
“Last year, we came to the semis and we were very devastated because we had a really good team and we got a little too confident and (Delta) came out to play,” said the scrappy Miller, generously listed at 5 feet, 8 inches in the program. “But this year, I wasn’t going to let that happen, so I was really motivated to get those rushing yards — I wasn’t going to let anyone stop us.”
Miller’s pair of 3-yard touchdown runs sandwiched a pick-six from Ethan Wheeler as Morgan scored all of its first-half points in a 3:23 span of the second stanza.
“It always scares me to get points that fast sometimes because typically, we did the same thing against Judge (Memorial). We got up 21-0 and had a huge letdown,” Morgan coach Kovi Christiansen said. “So sometimes when they come in bunches like that, it’s a little ... it puts me on edge.”
The Trojans then went cold, punting four times and running out the clock at halftime to put Juab back in the game. The Wasps (7-4) scored 18 straight points, closing the gap to 20-18 with nine minutes left in the third quarter.
“I told the kids we’re still in the game. We’ve still got the lead. If they don’t score, they don’t win. That’s all we kept preaching,” Christiansen said. “All year long our defense has held us in the games until we get back on track offensively.
“Our coaches made some adjustments and I’m proud of everybody. They did a great job hanging in there and gave the offense a chance to get clicking again.”
Needing a big drive in the fourth quarter, the Trojans (9-2) got the game breaker when quarterback Jacob Stephens connected with Tyson Hurd for a 54-yard scoring strike with 9:10 left in the game.
“This whole season, we’ve kind of hung our hat on some big plays and we got some big plays tonight,” Christiansen said. “We had some kids step up when they needed to step up, big plays out of everybody, and they just hung in there and kept swinging the hammer.”
Stephens finished the game passing 16 of 30 for 283 yards and the touchdown, while Talon Polad had four receptions for 112 yards, all in the first half.
Sophomore Porter Giles closed out the scoring for the Trojans with a 2-yard touchdown run at the 3:01 mark of the fourth quarter.
Morgan advances to the 3A title game and will play Juan Diego. The championship game is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Weber State University.
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