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Alta has little trouble putting Kearns away

SANDY — Let it be known that the Kearns Cougars had Alta worried for one quarter.

The Cougars knew they were the underdog, and on the first play of the second stanza, Alta got the play it needed and went on to a 56-10 win in the first round of the 5-A playoffs.

"Kearns came ready. They hit us right in the mouth," said Alta coach Les Hamilton. "But there were big plays on offense, defense and special teams, and we needed it."

The Cougars stopped Alta on downs on its first possession, and then Jason Black intercepted a pass to stop the Hawks next drive. But that would be their last highlight for a long time.

Alta's Ryan Rosenvall completed 7 of 9 passes for 192 yards, including four touchdown passes. The most important was a a 62-yarder to Brady Hunt on the opening play of the second quarter. That got the Hawks rolling and Region 2's top team was on a roll.

"We got a lot of big plays from everyone," said Hamilton. "That's the way it has been for us this year. We carry each other."

Led by strong-armed quarterback R.J. Tialavea, Kearns drove into Alta territory, but the drive stalled at the Hawks 28. Kicker Taylor Whetman tried a 43-yard field goal, but it was blocked by Carli Kaden. Teammate Croxton Spencer returned it 73 yards to just short of the goal line.

Running back Sausan Shakerin scored on the next play.

Shakerin, who carried the ball just seven times but had 110 yards, got the Hawks' fans screaming again a few minutes later with a 49-yard scoring run.

It was 28-3 at halftime, and the outcome was no longer in doubt. Former Brigham Young coach Gary Crowton, doing a bit of scouting as Louisiana State's offensive coordinator, was in attendance and felt he could leave at intermission.

Kearns coach Bill Cosper noticed the difference in his team, too.

"We were ready. We were doing what we wanted to do," he said. "We got beat on one play, the kids got down on themselves and it snowballed."

The focus in the second half was on Alta — and the clock operator. The Hawks scored each time they had the ball. Shakerin caught a 36-yard touchdown pass, and Hunt got his second score on a 20-yard scoring play. The Hawks made it 49-3 when Parker Walbeck ran 33 yards.

Kearns' only highlight was a good one. It came on an 80-yard run by running back Alamoti Vaenuku, who finished with 159 yards on 17 carries.