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High school football: Hoffman leads Juan Diego to convincing win over Judge

Zach Hoffman, Juan Diego
Zach Hoffman, Juan Diego

DRAPER — Friday night’s matchup between Juan Diego and Judge Memorial had a few things not normally seen at a high school football game.

A drone circled the field 30-40 yards above for most of the contest, offering the home school video and camera views of action that was previously unavailable.

The sidelines on both sides of the field had Catholic priests that could be used for crowd control.

Both teams gathered in a circle near the center of the field after the game, held hands and prayed for a local high-school coach who reportedly fell ill earlier in the day.

Otherwise, the game went pretty much as expected as Zach Hoffman ran for five touchdowns and Juan Diego routed its rival 56-14 in front of a near-capacity crowd featuring Salt Lake’s two largest Catholic schools.

“We knew it was a rival game, but mostly we just wanted to improve,” said Hoffman, who had touchdown runs of 2, 9 and 42 yards in the first half as Juan Diego built a 28-0 lead at intermission. “Last week, we had it tough. Now, all I want to do is celebrate.”

The Soaring Eagle, the two-time defending state champions, improved to 1-1 and had to feel a lot better after suffering seven turnovers in its season-opening loss to Bear River. This time, Hoffman and his mates played error-free ball. Juan Diego led 42-0 late in the third quarter before Judge got on the scoreboard on a nifty 71-yard run by quarterback Parker Edgington.

Hoffman added two more scoring runs in the second half and Jayden Mabry added another, while Edgington got the Judge crowd excited with a 20-yard scoring pass to Kade Milburn. Judge, though, was still unable to maintain a threat and fell to Juan Diego for the sixth straight time. The teams hadn’t played since 2012, but Judge coach James Cordova and Juan Diego’s John Colosimo exchanged telephone calls last winter and decided to renew the rivalry.

“All the kids pretty much know each other. They’ve been playing each other for years and it’s important for the schools to keep this relationship,” Colosimo said. “Lately, Judge has been down and we’ve been up and nobody liked it when we were beating up on them. We got a lot of kids in the game and I hope it was good for everyone.”

Bruce Smith grew up in Boise, Idaho, and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high-school sports articles for the Deseret News.