3AA football: Juan Diego pulls away from Snow Canyon
Draper • Juan Diego passed its first real test in nearly three months and remained unbeaten with a 42-28 victory against visiting Snow Canyon in the Class 3AA quarterfinals Friday night.
The Soaring Eagle advanced to Thursday's semifinal at Rice-Eccles Stadium, where it will meet Pine View.
Juan Diego (11-0), which hasn't played a game decided by single digits since Week 2 of the regular season, appeared to be in a battle late in the second quarter when the Warriors (7-4) pulled to within one point at 14-13 with just 3 minutes, 2 seconds left until halftime.
But Cole Nelson blocked the PAT kick, Cameron Hansen returned the kickoff 80 yards for a score and Hansen intercepted a pass to set up another touchdown as Juan Diego scored twice in a span of 2:02 and never looked back.
"I just knew I had to make a play," Hansen said about his kickoff return. "My teammates blocked and the hole was there. Then that interception ... it was just right into my hands."
Snow Canyon's defense contained the potent Soaring Eagle run game but handed over scoring opportunities far too many times. A muffed snap on a punt attempt set up Juan Diego at the Warrior 11-yard line in the first quarter, and two interceptions on Warner Rigby passes turned into Soaring Eagle scores shortly thereafter.
"They did a nice job against us in the running game, but they gave us some passing lanes," Juan Diego coach John Colosimo said. "We battled through some adversity tonight. That's a good football team over there, but tonight we were up to the task."
Running backs Jessie Springer (2 and 11 yards) and Chase Williams (both 1 yard) scored touchdowns for Juan Diego, which had its streak of winning games by at least 18 points snapped at eight.
Juan Diego's offensive highlight was turned in by receiver Gabe Colosimo, who made a one-handed grab on Nelson's 26-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
Rigby threw three touchdown passes two to Zach Kennedy and turned two Juan Diego turnovers into scores. But the Warriors' first playoff run in six years fell short.
Juan Diego 42, Snow Canyon 28
O Juan Diego improves to 11-0 and reaches the state semifinals for the fifth time in six years.
• The Soaring Eagle win by double figures for the ninth consecutive game.
• Chase Williams and Jessie Springer both score two rushing touchdowns, and Chase Hansen returns a kickoff 80 yards for another score.