Jordan High coach Jim Birch pulled out all stops in trying to lead the 4A past the 5A in the annual Utah Football Coaches Association all-star game Friday. However, size proved too tough to overcome.
"I tried to get the referees to send (the 5A) defensive line home at halftime, but they wouldn't do it," Birch mused after his team dropped a 16-0 decision to the larger classification. "Things we wanted to do we couldn't physically do. I think size-wise there was a little difference."Facing a cast of sizeable defenders, the 4A squad went scoreless for the second straight year - though, a far cry from last year's 41-0 setback.
"I don't think there is a lot of difference in talent," said 5A coach Paul Clark of Orem. "I expect these to be defensive battles, and our defense was just super."
Forced to punt five times, the 4A attack was plagued by three interceptions, a loss on downs at the goal line, a fake punt that fell short and a missed 22-yard field goal attempt.
Meanwhile, the 5A offense capitalized on a trio of scoring opportunities.
Bountiful's Jon Benson, who gained 71 yards on 12 carries to earn Offensive Player of the Game honors, struck first when he scored on a 2-yard run with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter. West Jordan's Cody Nelson added the extra point to give the 5A a 7-0 advantage.The lead swelled to 10-0 just eight seconds before halftime when Nelson connected on a 37-yard field goal. Hunter product Danny Castro, the Defensive Player of the Game, set up the score with the first of his two interceptions on the night.
Orem's Sam Carrick picked off another 4A pass late in the third quarter to give the 5A possession on the 4A 20. Two plays and a holding penalty later, Skyline quarterback Brandon Doman teamed with Justin Anderson of Orem on a 36-yard strike to cap the scoring.
1A/2A All-Stars 23,
3A All-Stars 12
Manti quarterback Alan Cox threw two lengthy touchdown passes, one a 53-yarder to Templar teammate Josh Jackson as the halftime horn sounded, to lift the smallest classifications to victory.
"That gave us a little momentum coming out of halftime - no doubt about it," said 1A/2A coach Art Burtenshaw of San Juan.
The 3A built a 12-3 advantage thanks to a 5-yard touchdown run by Uintah's Rhett Deets and a 30-yard scoring strike from Todd Garrett of Cedar City to Union's Lane Earl in the first 20 minutes. Kanab kicker Alan Williams' 47-yard field goal was sandwiched in-between the scores. Then came Cox's buzzer-beating pass and subsequent offensive explosion.
"They're always tough," said 3A coach Curg Belcher of Uintah. "The 1A and 2A get after it."
Trailing 12-10 at the intermission, the 1A/2A scored 13 unanswered points to win the game. Cox hit San Juan receiver Brad Burtenshaw on a 74-yard touchdown pass before Grantsville's Richard Mouritsen's 47-yard scoring scamper in the third quarter. Burtenshaw earned Offensive Player of the Game honors, while Brandt Brown of Kanab earned defensive honors.