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Coop runs Warriors by Pioneers

Snow Canyon scores first, keeps going

Lehi's Tyson Thompson (3) is dragged down by Snow Canyon's Tanner Frei (7) during the first round of Friday's 3A state football tournament.
Lehi's Tyson Thompson (3) is dragged down by Snow Canyon's Tanner Frei (7) during the first round of Friday's 3A state football tournament.
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News

LEHI — Snow Canyon's Kyle Coop might be the best-kept secret in Utah, but the folks in Lehi became quite familiar with him Friday night.

The Warriors speedy and shifty running back trampled over the Pioneers for 250 yards rushing and four touchdowns in leading Snow Canyon to a 42-28 first round win in the Class 3A playoffs. Snow Canyon scored on six of seven possessions and Coop had a big run in each of those scoring drives. The only time the Warriors didn't score was when Coop coughed the ball up at the end of a 30-yard run.

"If we can block, Coop is awfully good," Snow Canyon coach Jay Graft said. "The offensive line got off the ball well tonight and stayed on their blocks."

"That's one of the better backs I've seen," Lehi coach Joe Hayes said.

The Pioneers didn't have much trouble moving the ball themselves. However, they ate up a lot more clock on their drives and, unlike the Warriors, they didn't score on every possession but one. Lehi punted once, turned the ball over once and failed to convert on two fourth-down situations.

Both teams scored on their opening drives. Lehi went on top 7-0 when Aaron Larson found Abe White wide open for a 27-yard scoring pass with 8:40 left in the first quarter. Snow Canyon struck back quickly, marching 66 yards in eight plays. Coop had runs of 22 and 20 yards before finishing off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. The failed point-after kick left the score 7-6.

After Lehi turned the ball over on downs, Snow Canyon went 75 yards in eight plays to go ahead for good. Coop had a 35-yard run on the drive and a 21-yard pass from Landon Smith to Randon Willard set up Coop's 1-yard TD run. The Warriors took possession again when Russell Robinson picked off a pass and returned it 36 yards to the 18-yard line. Two Coop runs later and the Warriors suddenly were up 21-7.

The Pioneers fought back with 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive to trim the lead to 21-14 at halftime. Tyson Thompson had an 18-yard run and White a 23-yard reception on the drive. Dante D'Agostini plunged in from two yards out with 34 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

"You have to give Lehi credit, they didn't quit fighting or ever give up," Graft said.

Snow Canyon opened the second half with the real back-breaker. Kaden Graff took the kickoff and rambled down the sideline for 67 yards, giving the Warriors possession on Lehi's 17-yard line.

"That was like a knife in our back," Hayes said. "The way we started the second half just killed us."

Coop rambled up the middle on the next play to put the Warriors again up by two touchdowns. A third-down sack forced the Pioneers to punt from their own 10-yard line, giving Snow Canyon the ball at the Lehi 44. Two Coop runs set up a 21-yard scoring pass from Smith to Graff. The Warriors turned a seven-point halftime lead into a three-touchdown margin in less than three minutes of the third quarter.

Lehi responded with a 15-play, 66-yard drive, capped off by White's 5-yard touchdown catch, but the Pioneers took more than eight minutes to score. When the Warriors again scored with under three minutes remaining, it made White's third touchdown catch — this one a 26-yard completion with 1:06 left to play — harmless.

Snow Canyon advances to play Bear River next week in the quarterfinals.