By Matt Harris | To the average fan, last night’s contest between North Sanpete and Juab was an uneven blowout.
There was much more to the story.
The Juab Wasps took care of business in Mount Pleasant, Utah, last night as they rolled North Sanpete at home, 42-21, to hand the Hawks their first loss of the season.
“Our kids played well,” Juab head coach Mike Bowring said. “Our kids were ready, and I thought we executed at a high level.”
Juab scored all their touchdowns on the ground between three seniors and one sophomore. Senior Trey Lund scored two touchdowns, the first two of the game. Senior Bodee Blackett scored another pair, and senior Grant Orme and sophomore Shan Jackson each scored an additional touchdown.
North Sanpete never really had an opportunity to show their strength against their rival. As reported by Hawks’ head coach Rhett Bird, more than 10 different players were out of the regular rotation due to a combination of injuries and an outbreak of COVID-19. Among other positional losses, North Sanpete was down to their third-string center, backup inside linebacker, a few backup linemen, and their fifth-string running back.
“I thought our kids did a great job with their attitude,” Coach Bird said. “We felt like we had every chance, and we had the kids to go give them a good game.”
The Wasps hunted down North Sanpete junior quarterback Landon Bowles in the pocket all throughout the first half. He was sacked several times, but he still managed to put up numbers, primarily in the fourth quarter. He finished with three touchdowns and an interception.
To take nothing away from the Wasps, Juab executed a strong run-first game plan that worked to perfection. Bowring only called three pass plays in the entire game. Juab had two statements to make in the first two drives of the game. First, the offense could not be stopped in the run game. They ran the ball on every play of their initial touchdown drive. Second, the Wasps proved on defense that four linemen was more than enough to give Bowles nightmares.
The Wasps continued to pour it on throughout the first half as they raced out to a 28-0 lead, only trying to pass the ball once to do it.
With a minute and a half remaining, North Sanpete faced 4th-and-long. Bowles punted the ball and tricked the Wasps with a pass that went incomplete. The pass got the contact on receiver Brady Jacobsen to get a drive-saving penalty. Bowles pushed the offense into Juab territory and then delivered a bomb pass to Jacobsen for a 44-yard score.
In the second half, Juab went straight back to work as senior Grant Orme ran in a touchdown, followed by another score from Blackett.
With the game in hand in the fourth quarter, Juab maintained a 42-7 lead. North Sanpete played catchup against the Wasps’ second unit and turned in some great football. Bowles connected a pair of scores in the final minutes: one to Mower for 10 yards, and another to Jacobsen for 24 yards.
Despite the ugly loss, Bird feels optimistic about the lessons learned.
“When you play a tight game and a good team like Juab, you’re always going to face adversity,” he said. “That’s really when you see what type of team you’ll have. Win or lose we always know, when we play Juab, we’re gonna find out a little bit more about what type of team we have.”
North Sanpete is expected to struggle in the next few weeks with players missing time, but the Hawks are prepared for the action. They will go back on the road next Friday to face American Leadership Academy.
Juab, now the top-ranked team in 3A, will return home and may have a tough game with Manti on deck as the Templars are heating up after a slow start.
Featured image via Juab Football Twitter (@Juab_Football).