WASHINGTON TERRACE — The Wahlquist Junior High football team advanced to the Weber School District championship game by defeating undefeated T.H. Bell in the semifinals, but hopes of another upset against South Ogden were quickly dashed Thursday.
South Ogden raced out to a 22-0 lead and walloped Wahlquist 48-22 at Bonneville High School to claim the title for the second straight season.
The Spartans led 34-6 at halftime and put an exclamation point on the effort with a 30-yard touchdown run with 1:09 left in the game.
“Nobody thought they were going to beat Bell but then they came out and did, so our approach to the game was pretty serious,” South Ogden coach Jake Hanes said.
South Ogden delivered an early dagger with a gimmick play. Right guard James Lyness took a handoff and ran 15 yards for a touchdown with 3:52 left in the first half to give the Spartans a 28-6 lead.
“A lineman is allowed to receive a handoff if he does a 180-degree turn in the backfield – some obscure rule,” Hanes said. “I’ve been planning on doing it all season, just saving it up, and so he did a 180-degree turn … and then our quarterback just got him the ball and then he just kind of sits there for a second and just took off.”
The creative touchdown came on South Ogden’s first play following an interception by Jordan Citte. Citte’s interception came on the first play of a Wahlquist drive that started on the Spartans 49 and stole momentum from the Eagles. Prior to the interception, Wahlquist had scored a touchdown and forced a three-and-out.
The Eagles immediately went three-and-out after Lyness’ touchdown, and a minute and a half later, the Spartans were back in the end zone. Anthony Cole ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left in the half.
South Ogden ended any hopes of a second-half comeback early in the third quarter. Wahlquist started its first drive of the second half at its own 47 but went backwards 23 yards on its three plays from scrimmage before punting.
The Spartans then started at their own 31 and needed only four plays to get back in the end zone. Cole started the drive with runs of 15 and 21 yards and capped it with a 27-yard touchdown run. He then ran in the ensuing two-point try from three yards out to give South Ogden a 42-6 lead with 6:51 left in the third quarter.
A pair of touchdown passes from Drake Parker to Jake Stephens and a pair of two-point conversions cut South Ogden’s lead to 42-22. Then, Wahlquist recovered an onside kick with 2:19 left, but Reiss Graybeal came up with an interception to set up the Spartans’ final touchdown – a 30-yard scamper by Angel Arreguin.
“Message coming into this week was we can’t overlook this team because they beat Bell, they’re a new team, and then this game, same thing happened like last time (we played them). We beat them,’” Cole said.
South Ogden built its 22-0 lead following a 12-yard touchdown pass from Kamen Best to Arron Johnson, a 6-yard touchdown run by Kord Shaw and a 28-yard touchdown run by Citte.
Wahlquist then got on the board following a 47-yard touchdown pass from Parker to Trae Porter.
Eagles coach Brent Blanch was proud of his team’s determination throughout the season.
“We didn’t necessarily get given a chance to be in this game and our kids just fought like crazy to get here,” Blanch said.