Featured image courtesy James Edward, Deseret News
by Daniel Olsen
The 2019 and 2020 champions of the 3A division of Utah high school football had waited for a chance at redemption. That chance came, but only one team remained unbeaten a Greater Zion Stadium as the Morgan Trojans prevailed 55-3 over the Juab Wasps.
“We fell short the past two years so it was our year,” Morgan quarterback Nick Despain told the Deseret News. “We knew it was all year, and we came out and were all in and got it done.”
While Juab quarterback Alex Jackson was hobbled starting in the first quarter, it was no excuse for the defense as the Wasps allowed 269 yards to the Trojan offense in the first half alone. The passing attack was ok, but Jackson didn’t get much help from a rushing game that managed only four yards in the first half.
The only facet of the game in which the Trojans struggled early on is special teams as they missed their first two extra points while still leading 12-3 at the end of the first quarter. Juab led for the first six minutes after their kicker nailed a 52-yard attempt. Juab would not lead the rest of the game.
The player of the game has to be wide Morgan receiver Gavin Turner, who was a catalyst for the Trojan offense early and often. His two 20-plus yard touchdown receptions in the first half out the Trojans up by a double-digit lead that they would never relinquish.
The Trojans didn’t let off the gas until the final whistle, scoring a touchdown with just a few seconds left on the clock instead of taking a knee. That led to a smattering of boos on the Juab sideline. It’s hard to fault the winning mentality though, as the Trojans were just one long field goal away from a shutout. It was the most lopsided championship game of the four played on the day.
The Trojans were the more physical team and won on all three phases of the game. They will enter next season on a 13-game win streak, having appeared in five of the last six title games. They are one of just three remaining undefeated football teams this season. San Juan won the 2A state championship in the previous game with the longest active win streak in the state (25 games). The Lehi Pioneers will have the chance to defend their title in 5A next week and also finish with a perfect season.
With a kickoff time of 4 p.m. and a temperature of 52 degrees, it was a perfect day for football. It just wasn’t for the Wasps, who fall to 1-5 now in state title games. It felt like they weren’t challenged all year, winning by double-digits in all but one game heading into the championship. However, the same could be said for Morgan as they won every game by double-digits, including the worst loss for Juab in 13 years.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Juab coach Mike Bowring said to the Deseret News. “It’s about the journey not the destination.”