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High school football: Beaver pulls away from Summit Academy to reach 2A title game

OGDEN — Very little went right for Beaver in the first half of Thursday’s 2A semifinal, but at the same time coach Randy Hunter didn’t think drastic adjustments to the game plan were necessary either only down one score.

He made a simple tweak to the defensive line and then challenged his players to play more physical, and that was more than enough.

“We challenged the kids at halftime physically to start to control the game, and as the game went we wore them out physically and we were able to push through,” said Hunter.

Beaver’s offense and defense dominated the second half as the defending 2A champs pulled away for an emphatic 35-14 victory over Summit Academy at Weber State.

The Beavers limited Summit Academy to less than 100 yards of total offense in the second half and only three first downs — two coming on the final meaningless drive of the game.

“Defensively, very proud of the kids,” said Hunter.

Beaver used a four-man defensive front in the first half against Summit Academy, but it wasn’t that effective as it allowed 191 passing yards and the Beavers trailed 14-6. It could’ve been a larger deficit, but McCoy Bergstrom and Trey Young both recorded interceptions.

In the second half Beaver switched to a three-man defensive front, challenging Summit Academy to beat it on the ground. The Bears couldn’t run or pass with any efficiency in the second half.

In the first half Summit Academy’s offense was sharp as Isaac Hamilton connected on a 20-yard TD pass to Gavin Davey and then a 32-yard pass to Baylor Harding for the 14-6 lead.

“We felt fortunate going in at half only down one score. They had all the momentum,” said Hunter. “We just decided we were going to hang our hat on the buck sweep that we run. We decided if we’re going to lose we’re going to (lose) using that.”

Beaver cut the deficit to 14-12 midway through the third quarter on a Colton Leos 3-yard TD run — which came after Young’s second interception at the 49-yard line gave the Beavers great field position.

With 10:12 left in the fourth quarter Beaver went ahead for good on a Dillion Smith 1-yard TD plunge, stretching the lead to 20-14 after the two-point conversion.

Quarterback Jordan Hardy put the game out of reach with 6:25 remaining when he raced into the end zone on a 39-yard TD run for the 28-14 lead. Hardy finished with 22 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns while Smith tacked on a late TD to finish with 72 yards and two touchdowns.

“We just got comfortable and decided we didn’t want this to be it, we wanted to go back because we’re defending (champs). We just had heart and played hard,” said Smith.

Beaver advances to next week’s 2A championship game at Southern Utah at 11 a.m.

Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: jedward@deseretnews.com