OGDEN — Morgan defeated Juab, 34-18 in a Class 3A state semifinal Friday at Weber State University. The Trojans advance to the state championship next week at Southern Utah.
The first quarter of the game was a slow start for both teams. Juab and Morgan punted on all of their possessions in the quarter.
Things changed when the second started and the offenses started to wake up. The first points of the game were by scored Morgan’s senior running back Bridger Miller at the 10:51 mark. Miller had two rushing touchdowns in the first half. On the very next possession for Juab, junior quarterback Easton Wright threw a pick-six to Trojans’ Ethan Wheeler who took it 27 yards to the end zone.
Things seemed bleak early for Juab who surrendered 20 unanswered points to Morgan. Senior running back Joey Aagard punched the ball in from three yards out for the Wasps’ first points of the game. Wright would bring Juab back to the end zone after connecting a 15-yard pass to senior Alex White, who shook off a defender and dove into the end zone, bringing the score to 20-12 at halftime.
Morgan coach Kovi Christiansen was a little worried at his team’s early success after building a 20-point lead in the second quarter.
“It always scares me to get points that fast,” said Christiansen. “Sometimes when they come in bunches like that, it puts me on edge.”
Juab scored the only points of the third quarter after Wright found fellow senior Macray Stevens for the touchdown. Juab trailed Morgan just 20-18 going into the fourth and final quarter.
Morgan added to their lead with 9:10 left on the clock when senior quarterback Jacob Stephens threw a long 54-yard bomb to junior Tyson Hurd, extending the lead to 27-18.
Juab punted on their next possession and Morgan quickly made them pay. Morgan went down the field after some big plays from the Trojan offense, capping off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run by sophomore Porter Giles to put the Trojans up 34-18.
Morgan has been an underdog for most of the season. In fact, they were underdogs against Juab. Christiansen noted and praised the sophomores that play major roles on the team. The underdog mentality is something the team wants to use for motivation in the championship.
“We’ve been picked to lose, we’ve been underdogs our whole season. Rebuilding year? That’s not happening,” said Stephens. “Now to get to here, that’s just a big huge confidence boost for next week.”
“This win was huge for us. I think it gave us a lot of confidence,” said Miller. “No one thinks we’re a rollover team now. They know we’re coming.”
“Keep doubting us, we love it!” said Christiansen with a big smile on his face.
Morgan will face the winner of South Summit and Juan Diego next week for the state championship.