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High school football: Kanab blanks Rich again to advance to 1A final

OGDEN — Kanab’s shutout victory over Rich in the 1A semifinals on Friday afternoon was a near carbon-copy of its earlier victory this season.

Kanab got off to slow start offensively but was always in control defensively as it pulled away for a 21-0 victory at Weber State to advance to next week’s championship game.

“I like the way our kids just grinded it out. We don’t have any problems grinding it out,” said Kanab coach Bucky Orton.

Kanab’s defense held Rich to just 99 yards of total offense and only 40 in the second half. Conversely, Kanab racked up 303 yards of total offense to back up its earlier 14-0 shutout victory over Rich with another one.

“Our defense has been good all year, I think it’s our specialty. We get really pumped up when it comes to defense. We were ready to shut these guys down,” said Kanab’s Tavin Ott.

Kanab advances to next week’s 1A championship at Southern Utah and will face Duchesne at 1:30 p.m.

Heading into Friday’s semifinal, underdog Rich knew it needed to create a little luck and some short fields to try and reverse the earlier loss to Kanab, and it didn’t waste any time trying with an onside kick to start the game. Rich recovered the well-executed kick, but it was negated by an offside on the opposite side of the field.

On the ensuing opening drive, it was Kanab that created the good luck.

After Rich’s Kinnen Clark intercepted a pass at Rich’s own 10-yard line, Kanab’s Layne Anderson immediately ripped the ball away and fell forward to the 2-yard line. Two plays later Anderson scored on a 1-yard rush to give Kanab the early 7-0 lead.

“Layne Anderson is heady, we have a lot of heady kids, a lot of experience. That’s part of the reason why I think we’re OK with just grinding games out, we understand the situation,” said Orton.

Rich responded with a methodical 17-play drive that took 8:29 off the clock, but it came up empty on a failed fourth-down try.

It ended up being Rich’s most productive drive of the day. Kanab didn’t allow a drive of more than seven plays the rest of the game and Rich didn’t cross Kanab’s 40-yard line until the final seconds.

Kanab’s offense took a while to get going itself, leading only 7-0 at the half. It eventually did with some big plays in the second half. The Cowboys doubled their lead with 3:15 left in the third quarter as Monte Glover hauled in a 42-yard TD reception from Tavin Ott to stretch the lead to 14-0.

Early in the fourth quarter the two connected again, this time for 28 yards to increase the lead to 21-0.

“We saw that they were playing uptight, and one of our best receivers that’s a playmaker went up and made two plays,” said Ott.

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