Mike Poelman, Jordan Beesley, Andrew Cannon, Rufus Grey, and Steve Niederhauser held the answer to Highland coach Larry Wilson's question - who would dominate the line of scrimmage?
Saturday afternoon, the Highland offensive line provided the right answer in the Rams' 60-24 victory over Granger in the 5A state playoffs."Granger is a very big, very physical team, and we obviously had to step up and meet that challenge (controlling the line of scrimmage)," Wilson said. "We were a little concerned going into the game in terms of the line of scrimmage play."
Behind the offensive line, Highland runningback Morgan Scalley rushed for nearly 125 yards and four touchdowns (he scored another one on defense) and Joe Katoa added three touchdowns as the Rams compiled close to 375 yards on the ground.
Scalley recorded touchdown runs of 3 and 13 yards and Katoa rushed in from two yards out to lift the Rams to an early 19-0 second- quarter lead.
A Fahu Tahi 65-yard run cut the lead to 19-6, but on the following play from scrimmage Scalley rumbled 68 yards to increase Highland's lead to 25-6.
Then the game turned.
Granger got a Highland turnover and was on the Highland 7 with 22 seconds left in the half, but a rush for no gain, a 15-yard penalty, and an incomplete pass forced a Granger field goal attempt. The Lancers fumbled on the fake attempt and Scalley made it 33-6 with a 58-yard fumble return.
The Lancers scored on their first possession of the second half on David Pulsipher's 1-yard run. Had the Lancers scored a touchdown to end the first half instead of Highland, they would have been in striking distance.
"Psychologically it meant a lot to us," Granger coach Ray Groth said of Highland touchdown that ended the half. "They were whupped . . . When you get down early to a team like this, you don't expect to come back."
Scalley's final touchdown came with 55 seconds left in the third quarter on a 3-yard run, but then both defenses fell asleep.
Tahi, who had over 150 yards rushing, scored from 80 yards out (43 seconds left), Highland quarterback scored on an 50-yard run (30 seconds left), Granger quarterback Jordan Mulford scored from 80-yards out (11 seconds left) and as time expired in the third Katoa bulled in from 10 yards out. In a 55 second span 28 points were scored.