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Bears need a miracle and struggling player delivers

Lady Luck was smiling down on Bear River Friday night, because the second-ranked Bears probably should've lost.

With less than 40 seconds remaining, and game level at 21-21, the Morgan Trojans were driving for an eventual game-winning field goal in front of a packed homecoming crowd.

"It will take a miracle to win," thought Bear River coach Chris Wise.

Well that miracle came to fruition.

On third and six at the 30-yard line, Morgan opted to take a crack at the end zone instead of getting a few more yards for outstanding kicker Jason Lane.

That one last pass was intercepted by Josh Westergard two yards deep in the end zone. All he did was follow a handful of blockers in rumbling 102 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown with 17 seconds left.

Not bad for a guy who was playing the worst game of his life.

"Up to that point he was having just an all-around bad game," said Wise.

Whether it was as a wide receiver, a kick returner or a cornerback, he was struggling. Of greater consequence was that two Westergard block-in-the-back penalties negated two long players from scrimmage.

As Westergard marched off the field following one of his penalties, Wise said, "You're killing us. You owe me a big play."

After his thrilling interception, Westergard ran right up to Wise with a grin from ear to ear and said, "Are we even?"

FRIDAY NIGHT STARS: Clearfield's Blake Parkinson rushed for two touchdowns and passed for two more as the Falcons improved to 6-0. Copper Hills Craig Gritton hauled in 15 catches for 230 yards and one touchdown. Alta tight end David Johnson racked up 154 receiving yards on nine catches. Cottonwood's Alex Cate was 19-for-34 for 283 passing and two touchdowns. East's Asi Tuakoi rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns as the Leopards won their fifth straight game. Judge's Samui Tuifua carried the ball for 262 yards and one score. Grantsville's Zac Nelson rushed for three scores and passed for another. Juan Diego's Terrel Bell rushed for four TDs for 2A's top-ranked team.

FALLEN UNBEATENS: Hillcrest, Bountiful and Snow Canyon all fell from the unbeaten ranks Friday night. That leaves just 11 remaining undefeated teams. By contrast, Wasatch and Richfield both earned their first victories of the season Friday night, leaving just 10 winless teams.

DEFENSIVE RECOVERY: Across the state, defenses played a lot better than last week. Just nine teams scored over 40 points this week, compared to an astonishing 17 last week. At the same time, 16 games were decided by 10 points or less this week, compared to just nine last week.

Teams scoring more than 40 points were: Enterprise (55), Millard (54), Skyline (52), Hunter (49), Juan Diego (48), Spanish Fork (43), Whitehorse (42), Northridge (42) and Grantsville (41).

LOOKING AHEAD: The most intriguing games next week are in Region 5. Previous No. 1 Bountiful will try and bounce back against East, which has climbed all the way to No. 2 in the rankings. Olympus and Highland, meanwhile, hook up in a critical region game. In Class 2A, fourth-ranked Kanab travels to second-ranked Millard in what should be a high-scoring affair.

TOP 25: Be sure to pick up your copy of Tuesday's Deseret Morning News to see the updated Top 25 statewide prep football rankings.

PREPS ON THE WEB: Why settle for just a mere score? See the scoring summaries, updated standings, team and state scoring leaders and more by logging on to www.deseretnews.com/dn/prp each evening. The scores post immediately after the Deseret Morning News receives the information from the coaches. The same goes for 1A baseball, volleyball and girls soccer. Log on each night to keep yourself up to date. While there, check out your favorite high school's Web page, complete with the state's most comprehensive up-to-date standings with points for and points against, past stories and photos.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com