×
×
homepage logo

1A football championship: Layton Christian falls short against Duchesne, 18-14

By Patrick Carr - | Nov 13, 2021
1 / 5
Layton Christian's Jessaia Giatras-Moala runs the ball against Duchesne during the 1A football state championship game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Weber State's Stewart Stadium in Ogden.
2 / 5
Layton Christian's Manu Vaitaki (1) pitches the ball to teammate Ilai Tagidugu (22) during the 1A football state championship game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Weber State's Stewart Stadium in Ogden.
3 / 5
Layton Christian's Ilai Tagidugu (bottom) tackles Duchesne quarterback Parker Crum during the 1A football state championship game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Weber State's Stewart Stadium in Ogden.
4 / 5
Layton Christian's Jessaia Giatras-Moala (2) runs the ball against the Duchesne defense during the 1A football state championship game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Weber State's Stewart Stadium in Ogden.
5 / 5
Duchesne's Draker Goodliffe (4) catches a touchdown pass while guarded by Layton Christian's Max Montgomery (20) during the 1A football state championship game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Weber State's Stewart Stadium in Ogden.

OGDEN — There were many 50-50 plays in Saturday’s 1A high school football state championship game between No. 6 Layton Christian and No. 1 Duchesne held at Weber State University.

The final 50-50 play went the way of the No. 1 seed.

Duchesne sophomore quarterback Parker Crum, visibly limping from an earlier ankle injury, threw into double coverage late in the fourth quarter, but receiver Draker Goodliffe rose over two Layton Christian defenders, caught the ball and ran in for the go-ahead score to hand LCA a tough 18-14 loss.

LCA’s best season in school history ended with a 9-5 record and in some respects, one play away from being 10-4 and hoisting a first state title trophy in school history.

Instead, the offseason starts with the silver state runner-up trophy instead of the desired gold.

“Heartbroken for these boys, they’ve come a long way, they worked so hard to get to this point,” LCA coach Ray Stowers said. “But, we had our chances and we came up short, and sometimes that’s just how the game goes.”

On this day, LCA was about 15 yards short.

Quarterback Zoram Patelo’s Hail Mary attempt with one second left on the clock fell short of the end zone, a Duchesne (11-1) player batted the ball down and the celebration was on for real this time.

A few minutes earlier, but only about 30 seconds earlier in terms of the game clock, Crum kneeled down to run the clock out, only to be hit after the play by LCA players.

The late hit sparked a short brawl that went to the end zone and drew offsetting penalties, the final skirmish in what was a chippy game from the very start.

The fight did, however, give LCA a late chance at winning after Goodliffe ran out of the end zone for a safety with 2 seconds left.

LCA fair caught the safety kick, but Petelo’s Hail Mary attempt was well short of the end zone.

Things went differently than LCA’s 39-15 loss to this same Duchesne team in October.

Crum threw two first-half touchdowns, a screen to Weston Gines from 9 yards and an 18-yarder to a wide-open Goodliffe, completing two clock-burning drives to go ahead 12-0.

For the first quarter-and-a-half, LCA struggled to move the ball by conventional means with Jessaia Giatras-Moala and Manu Vaitaki in the run game.

So the maroon Eagles got creative.

Vaitaki took a handoff, pitched it to Ilai Tagidugu and Tagidugu threw a pass to the left to Patelo, who took a couple Duchesne players with him into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown reception.

On the first play of the second half, LCA tied the game 12-12 with an 83-yard TD run by Giatras-Moala. Duchesne had earlier missed both 2-point conversion attempts and LCA had also missed its two extra-point attempts, which all loomed large later.

Crum, the Duchesne’s passing and rushing leader, left the game with an apparent ankle injury on the team’s next drive.

Crum missed the next drive and tried to work out his left ankle on the sideline, but was visibly limping and having trouble putting pressure on his left foot when trying to throw.

“We all know, no one really expected … (LCA) could make it, so they had a lot of motivation coming in here being the No. 6 seed against the No. 1 seed? That’s motivation and they have the athletes, and honestly, they’re the most athletic team in 1A,” Crum said about LCA.

In the meantime, the teams exchanged turnovers. Goodliffe intercepted Petelo to give Duchesne the ball, then LCA lineman Tevita Pome’e recovered a fumble to get the ball right back. And then Goodliffe got hurt on a play as Duchesne’s offense stalled near midfield again.

But it was Goodliffe who rose over two LCA defenders late in the fourth quarter to snag the go-ahead TD catch with 1:33 left, completing a drive that started after LCA turned it over on downs.

“The difference was probably, it probably came down to ball security with our turnovers, right, and penalties of course,” Stowers said. “We make a big play, and then we hit the guy out of bounds, it’s just down to that.”

LCA turned the ball over three times but only took it away from Duchesne once.

LCA was also flagged 10 times for 98 yards, offsetting the team’s 301-190 advantage in total offense.

Giatras-Moala ran for 147 yards on 12 carries and Vaitaki had 94 yards on 12 rushes.

Stowers was a little optimistic, though, and he should be. Key players Giatras-Moala and Vaitaki are juniors, as are Petelo and Pome’e. Of the 27 players on the roster, five were seniors.

Newsletter

Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)