LAYTON -- Layton Christian Academy turned the ball over four times and squandered critical scoring opportunities as Millard dropped the Eagles 34-19 in a 2-A North battle Friday evening.
Layton Christian (5-3, 3-2), looking to rebound after division-leading South Summit snapped the Eagles' five-game winning streak, came out fast on its opening possession, driving 68 yards on just four plays for an early 7-0 lead. On the scoring play, starting quarterback Grayson Jackson found senior tight end Leroy Sisnett wide open down the seam for 52 yards.
That was the best the Eagles' offense looked all evening though as Millard's defense stiffened, holding Layton Christian to under 100 yards rushing and picking Jackson off three times, twice returning them for touchdowns.
Layton Christian's special teams came up huge on the ensuing kickoff after Millard's Paco Alcala coughed up a promising return with Sisnett falling on the ball just before it skipped out of bounds at the Millard 37, but Layton Christian failed to capitalize, going three and out.
Rejuvenated by its defense, Millard gashed Layton Christian on its next possession, driving 86 yards on 10 plays.
Layton Christian moved into Millard territory again on its next possession, but a failed fake punt kept the momentum on Millard's side, with Millard then efficiently marching down the field for another score.
The Eagles had an opportunity to knot the score at 14 in the second quarter, but Jackson was intercepted at the goalline on first and goal. Millard promptly turned the ball over on its first play, giving Layton Christian another opportunity on Millard's side of the field, but the Eagles went three and out.
A fumbled punt early in the second half set up another Millard score before Jackson threw one of his two pick sixes, ballooning Millard's lead to 28-7.
"It started getting in our heads a little bit and (we) didn't play to our potential," Eagles' coach Doyle Holt said. "We're a better football team than that."
Layton Christian's defense and special teams tried its best to keep the Eagles in it with Markiece Gibson returning a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown and Raekwon Mcelroy blocking a punt inside the Millard 20 to set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Gibson, but a pair of botched point-after attempts and another pick six for Millard in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach.
With a short week to prepare for North Summit, Holt knows his team has to dig deep.
"We controlled our own destiny and we didn't execute," Holt said. "Didn't do what we were coached to do and now we'll have to fight harder. Fight harder. Simple as that. We're not going to give up."