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Wasatch surprises turnover-plagued Judge

After Friday night, Wasatch football players might consider sending future announcements for graduations, weddings and births to Judge Memorial. The Bulldogs, after all, were extremely generous to their guests.

And the Wasps weren't about to turn down top-ranked Judge's offerings. They gladly took and took and took and took five more times. Not only did they take advantage of the eight turnovers, but the boys from Heber City also took home a 27-14 victory over the previously unbeaten Bulldogs.

"You can't turn the ball over and win," said Judge coach James Cordova. "They're a good team, but we can't do that to ourselves. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot and win."

Especially not when you have to reload the gun to do it eight times. All four of Wasatch's touchdowns came about after Judge miscues, turning a tied game at halftime into a runaway upset win.

"It was crazy," said Wasatch running back Jake Salazar. "I've never been in a game with so many turnovers."

Salazar punished the Bulldogs the most for their mistakes. Actually, he punished them even when they weren't committing faux-pas as well. Salazar pounded his way for 99 yards rushing on 31 carries, including a pair of touchdown runs.

Had he settled for that, the Bulldogs might have kept their perfect record intact. But he didn't. Salazar added a sack and came up with a rare "pitch pick six." Three plays after he dashed in for a 14-yard score after Judge's fumbled punt return, the tough 5-8, 175-pounder slipped between Judge quarterback Joe Pond and his running back on an option pitch play and snagged the ball before it reached its intended target.

Thirty-three yards later, Salazar crossed the goal line for the third time. His second TD in a 52-second span put Wasatch up 21-7 over a stunned Judge squad late in the third quarter.

"That was crazy," Salazar said. "It just kind of fell into my hands."

Wasatch, which improved to 6-2 and 1-1 in Region 10, picked off Pond five times. Cory Bohne snatched up two of the interceptions. Judge also fumbled the ball three times, including a botched punt return. The Wasps only had one turnover on the often-rainy night.

"It was fun," said Wasatch quarterback Taylor Woodruff, who scored the Wasps' final touchdown on a 1-yard sneak. "We just took advantage of the turnovers. ... It was ugly, but we got it done."

After rallying from a fourth-quarter 14-point deficit at Park City last week, the Bulldogs tried to claw back in after digging themselves into a 27-7 hole. Tyson Moll got Judge within two TDs with a 2-yard score with 5:29 remaining. The Bulldogs got the ball back and drove to the Wasps' 25-yard line, but Wasatch's defense stiffened up and forced Judge to turn it over on downs to clinch the shocker.

"They came out to play and we didn't," Cordova said. "We thought because we were ranked No. 1, they would lay down. That's not how it works. That shows how tough 3A is."

The loss came at a bad time for Judge. The Bulldogs (6-1, 1-1) travel to Roosevelt to face red-hot Union next Friday. Wasatch will host Park City.


E-mail: jody@desnews.com