By Matt Harris | It’s not exactly a silver anniversary, but 25 is a ridiculous number when talking about a winning streak in football.
Not only have Jonathan Marshall’s Beaver Beavers made it that far, they’ve made it look easy. Over the course of the last two years of undefeated Beaver dominance, the Beavers have beaten teams by an average of 41 points per game. In that span of time, they have only had one game come within two touchdowns of an upset, and it was a 14-7 turnover-filled slugfest.
The team that nearly pulled it off on that Saturday at Orem High School last year was the Duchesne Eagles. They play under the direction of head coach Jerry Cowan. That same team that will have another shot at Beaver on Saturday afternoon.
“Duchesne’s very well coached,” Marshall said. “Coach Cowan, he’s a tremendous coach. He’s built a great program, and they’ve had success over a lot of years. Their kids are very hard-nosed.”
Beaver and Duchesne will meet for the 2A UHSAA State Championship this Saturday in a battle of two undefeated teams as Duchesne looks to try and steal the crown from the heavily-favored Beavers.
“I think outside of our program, there’s no one giving us a chance,” Cowan said, “and that’s okay. The pressure’s on them to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Eventually, somebody’s gonna have to take them down, and hopefully it’ll be us.”
Duchesne’s 11-0 season has been all about tough, hard-nosed defense. The Eagles allow an average of precisely 9 points per game and have only allowed multiple scores to three teams, one of them being a junior varsity squad for 5A Stansbury. The defense has also nabbed 23 interceptions, led by six apiece from senior Makovey Jessen and freshman Parker Crum, who are each top 10 in the state.
Duchesne senior quarterback Cameron Brady has thrown 12 touchdowns against five interceptions and facilitates a run offense that has scored 28 touchdowns, led by Brady and senior running back Brock Adams with eight scores apiece.
While the Duchesne defense is built to force the pass and feast on the result, the Beaver offense is a “well-oiled machine,” as one coach called them. Beaver’s talented senior quarterback Treyson Hunter leads 2A in passing touchdowns with 20 yet plays in an offense where he barely has to throw.
Beaver’s legion of ballcarriers have combined for a staggering 57 touchdowns. 36 of those scores belong to the trio of senior EJ Allred, senior Crayton Hollingshead, and junior Turner Williams. Allred leads 2A with 16 rushing touchdowns which is good for 10th in the state.
Last week, the Beavers took care of business in a rematch against Enterprise, delivering a 40-13 beatdown as a midseason injury rash finally healed up, and all starters were ready to play for Beaver. Enterprise remained scoreless in the game until the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Duchesne looked the part of a team primed and ready for its biggest test. The Eagles rematched and dominated the Milford Tigers, 26-6. The Tigers were on a hot streak until Duchesne’s defense shut the tiger’s mouth.
As both teams look COVID-free and ready for action this weekend, Duchesne will be the last contender in the field to take their shot at the king of the hill.
Duchesne’s not going to roll over by any means. They have nothing to lose, and I expect Cowan’s squad to leave absolutely everything on the field and play like there’s no tomorrow. It still probably won’t be enough against a team like Beaver. Duchesne’s greatest strength in this matchup is being able to defend the Beavers better than anyone else has this season. If the Eagles can push the Beavers’ run game back just hard enough to force Marshall into some pass plays, Duchesne’s secondary may be more talented than Hunter’s throwing ability and could create some good field situations for the Eagles to not have to work so hard.
That being said, so many things would have to go right for Duchesne to have even a chance of pulling it off. Beaver is historically good, and they are nearly untouchable in every aspect of the game of football, beginning most importantly with a group of linemen that are immovable on offense, and unstoppable on defense. Beaver is going to be able to execute plenty, and the Beavers are not going to be denied a repeat title. They will win their 13th state championship in program history.
Score Prediction: Beaver 38 Duchesne 10
Featured image courtesy Hudl