Trojans hold off 5A Kearns for 33-31 victory in final pre-region gameSep 14, 2023 12:14PM ● By Liisa London Mecham
Beck Sheffield (7) and Will Fisher (54) celebrate a Trojan touchdown! Photos by Jessica Jorgensen
After a close 14-15 game the week before that the football team lost in the second half to 4A Green Canyon, the Trojans came out and fought to the end last Friday against 5A Kearns and emerged with the 33-31 victory. Morgan traveled to Kearns to take on the Cougars in their last pre-region match up. Down 20-25 headed into the fourth quarter, the Trojans rallied in the fourth and stopped Kearns two-point attempt at the end that would have tied the game.
“This week was a big win for the program,” Head coach Jared Barlow commented. “What impressed me the most about the game was the resolute character of the team.”
“Kearns is a big and athletic team and coached very well. The game was up and down, but the players and coaches never quit. We gave up over 500 yards of offense, but made enough plays defensively to win the game. Offensively we had some turnovers and mistakes, but still made enough plays to win the game.”
Morgan struck first early in the game on a 49-yard pass from Beck Sheffield to Lincoln Gilson. The kick failed, and Kearns scored a touchdown before the end of the quarter and also missed the PAT. In the second period Kearns added a TD and Morgan two. Zak Sargent scored on a 1-yard run and Tate Nelson caught a 10-yard pass from Sheffield to put Morgan up 20-13 at the half.
The third quarter scoring was all Kearns with two touchdowns and a failed kick and failed run. Opening the fourth quarter with a 20-25 deficit, the Trojans didn’t quit and scored with 8 minutes remaining on a 16-yard connection from Sheffield to Derrick Tilby to go up 26-25. Morgan unsuccessfully tried for the two point conversion, but added another touchdown with three minutes remaining to go up 33-25. Sheffield connected with Gilson for their second score of the night on a 3-yard pass. Beau Johnson added his third PAT of the night.
Kearns drove down and scored at the end of the game, but the Trojan defense held as they attempted to tie the game on a two-point conversion.
“A lot of growth as a team happened this week. We have a lot of players stepping up and helping unite our team. There are a lot of great individual players, but when those great individuals come together like they did last night, we become a great team,” Barlow explained.
“I think that we are trending in the right direction going into region play. We have had about as difficult a preseason schedule as we have ever had. Going through that preseason showed us our strengths and weaknesses as players and coaches. We learned a lot about who we are and who we need to become. I am excited to see where we go from here,” he concluded.
Sheffield racked up 413 yards in passing with 19 completions in 31 attempts. He was also the leading rusher with 27 yards. Sargent added 25 yards on 10 carries. Gilson totaled 146 yards receiving while Tilby added 112 and Tate Nelson 80.
Nelson and Sargent led the defense in tackles with 12 apiece. Tytun Willis added 11 and Cooper McGiven 7. Cameron Menlove contributed five while Nik Preece and Krew Galbraith both had five.
Morgan kicks off Region 13 play Friday night, Sept.15 at home against Juan Diego. They will be at home on Sept. 22 to take on Ben Lomond for Homecoming.λ