Cedar City • The Rich Rebels have another shot.
With its dramatic 18-13 Class 1A football semifinal victory over Kanab at Southern Utah University on Friday afternoon, Rich punched its ticket to the state title game and a showdown with the three-time state champion Duchesne Eagles.
The Rebels had the Eagles on the ropes on Oct. 11, leading 19-6 at halftime, but Duchesne responded with two third-quarter touchdowns to slip by Rich with a 20-19 win.
"Our goal all year was to win the state championship," said Rebel coach Ashley Brown. "That's what we've put ourselves in a position to do. We're excited for the opportunity."
The Rebels earned the opportunity on a late 25-yard touchdown reception by wideout Jayden Wallentine from quarterback McKay Jarman. While Rich tried for the two-point conversion, it was unsuccessful, leaving the Cowboys with 1 minute, 4 seconds left to drive the length of the field and win.
"Our kids never gave up today," Brown said. "They kept battling. They were down early, but they just kept going. I was worried with that last minute and four seconds, but I knew they were going to do it."
The Rebels held strong to get their rematch with Duchesne.
Brown didn't go as far to say a program has to play a perfect game to upend the Eagles, winners of their last 46 straight games, but said his team has what it takes to do so on Nov. 16 at Weber State University in Ogden.
"You can't turn the football over is the main thing," Brown said.
"You have to take care of the ball, you have to sustain drives when you score, and you have to have people make plays."
Having won two state titles at the helm of the Rich program already, Brown says his group this year has a little more spark to it.
"This bunch gets along together great, they're very coachable, and they do what we ask them to do," he said. "They're willing to do anything."