(Salt Lake City, UT) - The Hurricane Tigers defeated the Desert Hills Thunder 21-0 in the Utah State High school 3A football championship at Rice-Eccles Stadium Friday night in game with blizzard conditions in the second half. Photo Gallery
After the teams fought through a scoreless first quarter, Hurricane running back Brian Scott found the end zone three times in the remaining three quarters of play, and Ethan Stratton kicked a 45-yard field goal for the Tigers' win.
The Tigers (13-0) were the third team of the day to complete undefeated seasons with a title win.
In other games: Logan High beat East High 18-11 (4A)and Lone Peak beat Fremont 41-21 (5A). Both Logan and Lone Peak finished at 14-0. It was the first time in the state of Utah that four teams finished undefeated in the same year. Duchesne High won the 1A championship last week and went 12-0 this season.
Hurricane’s offense started the game as if nerves were affecting execution, in addition, the Desert Hills’ defense is no slouch.
The Tigers went three and out on its first possession including allowing quarterback Taylor Parker to be sacked by Thunder’s Josh Anderson. Hurricane’s offense netted -2 yards on the three plays and then kicked a bad punt giving the Thunder the ball at Hurricane’s 43-yard line.
Desert Hills’ offense appeared to be calm and moved the ball on seven plays down to the 21 before going for a fourth-and-3 instead of attempting a field goal. The Tigers’ defense stuffed a rush attempt by Thunder running back Mike Needham (18 rushes for 37 yards) and took over on downs.
Tigers’ running back Adam Thompson broke free for a 33-yard run on the first play, but on the next play, Brian Scott fumbled the ball at the 47-yard line giving Desert Hills its second possession inside of Hurricane territory. The fumble would be Scott’s only mistake of the game.
Thunder quarterback Porter Harris was intercepted a few plays later by 6’7 defensive end Colton Marshall but Harris intercepted the ball back from a Parker pass two plays later giving Desert Hills the ball again at their own 39. They would retain possession through the end of the scoreless first quarter. The Thunder offense generated 64 yards at that point, visited the red zone once, but had nothing to show. Hurricane’s offense had 46 yards, mostly coming from the Thompson 33-yard run.
Desert Hills drove down to the Tigers’ 29-yard line and went for another fourth down try. An incomplete pass on the fourth-and-9 gave the ball back to the Tigers.
The nerves must have left, because Hurricane got rolling this time. They marched 71 yards on nine plays to go up 6-0. At the Thunder’s seven-yard line, Scott (25 rushes for 105 yards and three touchdowns) cut right against the left flow of his blocks and trotted upright into the end zone.
The drive was consistent with the Tigers’ character. Nine rushes in a row were the formula for success and Scott had five of them for 34 yards including a 21-yard scamper. Thompson added a 15-yarder and Weston Yardley had a 12-yard rush. The drive was the quintessential three-back attack that Hurricane has overwhelmed opponents with in 2011.
The 6-0 Tigers’ lead held until midway through the third quarter. Hurricane kicker Ethan Stratton nailed a 45-yard field goal (his season best) after the Tigers put together a 10-play drive. Hurricane led 9-0 and even suffered from having a 22-yard Jared Edwards’ touchdown run negated by a holding call.
In the fourth quarter, Hurricane safety Zach Prince stuffed a Harris rush on another fourth down attempt. On a fourth-and-1, Harris tried a quarterback keeper but Prince sped around his defensive end and met Harris behind the line of scrimmage and ultimately gave Hurricane the ball back on downs.
The Tigers began from their 39-yard line and with the snow falling heavily, Parker dropped back to pass on a third-and-6, and threw a duck. A well-defended Yardley adjusted to the flight of the ball. He cut his route off and out jumped his man. The ball bounced off his chest, and while falling to the snow-covered field turf, kept his concentration on securing the ball. He amazingly made the catch while simultaneously slamming into the turf on his back. It was a 32-yard reception made in the worst of conditions. Four plays later, Scott barreled into the end zone behind his center from three yards out and the Tigers went up 15-0 with 7:43 remaining. It was Scott’s 30th rushing touchdown of the season.
Five minutes later, Scott pounded in for his third touchdown of the game and the Tigers were up 21-0.
The Tigers’ offense finished with 314 total yards (261 rushing, 53 passing) and made 22 first downs. They were 7-of-13 on third down attempts, and 2-of-4 on fourth downs.
Thompson added 74 yards of rushing on nine carries, and Yardley rushed for 57 yards (15 carries) and caught the only three Tigers’ successful passes for 53 yards.
Hurricane’s defense only gave up 123 yards of offense to Desert Hills and held them to 2-of-12 on third down attempts. Jared Edwards had 10 tackles, and Parker had six. Andy Perkins, Zach Prince and Colton Marshall had an interception apiece and Bryan Lee registered a sack.
Thunder quarterback Porter Harris went 7-of-20 passing for 72 yards and had three interceptions. He also rushed 11 times for 14 yards. Needham rushed 18 times for 37 yards.
The Thunder defense held the Tigers’ to its lowest points total this season (21). Kevan Webb had 13 tackles, Travis Lagrone (12), and Peter Brown had 11. Nate Brinker and Josh Anderson shared a sack and Harris had an interception.
Needham also had 49 yards on two kickoff returns.
Desert Hills 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 < 0
Hurricane 0 – 6 – 3 – 12 < 21
H < Scott 7 run (kick blocked)8:09
H < Stratton 45 FG 6:56
H < Scott 3 run (kick no good) 7:43
H < Scott 1 run (two-point failed) 2:53
Hurricane High football championship game history:
1982, lost to Millard 33-14 (2A)
1983, lost to Morgan 15-0 (2A)
1989, lost to San Juan 34-16 (2A)
2008, lost to Juan Diego 21-18 (3A)
2009, lost to Juan Diego 12-10 (3A)
2010, lost to Juan Diego 10-7 (3A)
2011, won over Desert Hills 21-0 (3A)
Hurricane began its 11-man football program in 1949. From 1939-48, Hurricane played six-man football and won the 1947 and '48 titles.
HURRICANE’S 2011 13-0 SEASON
beat Skyline 33-14
beat West Jordan 48-36
beat Tooele 52-7
beat Cedar 29-20
beat Dixie 51-21
beat Snow Canyon 42-7
beat Pine View 35-21
beat Desert Hills 35-8
beat Canyon View 44-7
beat Wasatch 42-7
beat Grantsville 41-0
beat Spanish Fork 38-35
beat Desert Hills 21-0
DESERT HILLS 9-4 SEASON
lost to Syracuse 14-12
beat Moapa Valley (Nevada) 24-0
beat North Sanpete 46-14
beat Canyon View 39-2
beat Pine View 21-14
beat Dixie 41-38
beat Snow Canyon 24-21
lost to Hurricane 35-8
lost to Cedar 48-20
beat Park City 34-14
beat Stansbury 26-7
beat Cedar 23-21
lost to Hurricane 21-0
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