NEPHI — It's been said that defense wins championships. Following its 28-7 victory over San Juan in the first round of the 2A state football playoffs, Juab looks like it is following that mantra.
The Wasps forced San Juan into six turnovers, including four interceptions, while holding the Broncos to 221 total yards and only two first downs the entire second half.
Besides limiting San Juan's yardage output, the Wasp defense also came up big when it mattered most. With Juab holding onto a narrow 6-0 lead, San Juan drove to the Juab 21-yard line.
It appeared as if the Broncos were going to swing the momentum their way, but Juab defensive back Kellen Nielsen had other plans.
On a second-and-14 play, San Juan quarterback Jordan Bradford dropped back to pass and spotted Lant Webb in the end zone, but Nielsen stepped in front of Bradford's pass for the first of his two interceptions on the day.
The Wasps also turned back two Bronco drives that penetrated the Juab 20-yard line.
"Those stops were huge," Juab coach Mike Bowring said. "If they go away with some scores, they get some confidence. They have a class program. We were fortunate were able to beat them today."
Bowring also said he thought the reason they were able to force so many turnovers was they were able to pressure Bradford all afternoon.
Besides having a great defensive performance, the Wasps weren't slouches on the other side of the ball either, and that showed from the opening kickoff.
Running back Trevor Jones fielded the kick at the Juab eight-yard line and bobbed and weaved his way into the end zone to give Juab an early 6-0 lead.
Jones' backfield mate, Jade Greenhalgh, also had an excellent game. Greenhalgh scored the Wasps' three other touchdowns and intercepted a pass that he nearly returned for his fourth. On the day, Greenhalgh rushed 23 times for 114 yards and the three scores.
"That kid is a stud," Bowring said of Greenhalgh. "When you can run the ball, and they know its coming, and you can still get your yards, that's amazing."
"I can't say enough about our line. They opened up some holes for him. He broke some tackles. It was a total team effort."
Juab will take the field next week in a 2A semifinal matchup against North Summit, a team the Wasps beat earlier in the season.