<strong>Perfect ball, perfect ball. It was an amazing ball. This was the game I wanted. I was hoping it would end a little earlier, but this was definitely the best result.</strong> – Judge Memorial's Joseph Paul, on scoring the winning goal
HERRIMAN — Following his team’s dominant 8-2 semifinal victory over Delta at Alta High School on Friday, May 12, Judge Memorial star forward Joseph Paul was clear — he wanted to play the Morgan Trojans for the 3A state championship.
“I want Morgan, I want Morgan, I want Morgan,” said Paul. “I don’t want it to be easy.”
Paul got his wish Saturday afternoon at Zions Bank Stadium as the Bulldogs faced off against the Trojans for the third time this season.
Unlike the previous two outings, games that Judge Memorial won by a combined four goals, the Trojans gave the Bulldogs everything they could handle and then some.
The Region 13 rivals battled back-and-forth for upwards of 97 minutes, and appeared all but destined to go to penalty kicks.
“I was trying to figure out my PK list,” Judge head coach Kelly Terrill said.
He didn’t need it, as Paul drove home the game-winning golden goal, via a picture perfect pass by attacking midfielder Cameron Lundy, to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 win and the 3A state title.
“Perfect ball, perfect ball. It was an amazing ball,” said Paul. “This was the game I wanted. I was hoping it would end a little earlier, but this was definitely the best result.”
“All season I have looked for Joe, Jack (Terrill) and Gedeon (Baende),” said Lundy. “That one connected beautifully, and (Joe) finished it. He missed one earlier, but I knew he’d get that one.”
Lundy’s confidence in Paul aside, the Bulldogs had more than their fair share of scoring opportunities throughout the game, and each one was turned away by Morgan goalie Trek Loveridge.
Loveridge was so stout between the posts that the Morgan crowd eventually cheered his saves louder than any scoring chances the team mustered.
Loveridge's dominance began to affect the Bulldogs as well, despite their best efforts.
“I definitely got discouraged,” said Paul. “It was hard. I normally can finish those (opportunities), but there was a lot of pressure. This was the biggest stage I’ve ever played on, and it was hard.”
“You have to put goals away early,” added Terrill. “If you want to score goals against a good team like Morgan, you have to do so early on. The longer the games go the closer and closer the game gets. It ends up being a back-and-forth mess.”
As the game wore on, the Trojans began to create chances of their own, the foremost of which were a pair of shots by Jacob Firby in each of the overtime periods.
Both attempts were sent away harmlessly by Judge keeper Jaciel Guzman, setting the stage for Paul’s game-winner in the waning moments of the second overtime.
Paul found himself alone in the box, at the tail end of a Judge counter attack and that was all the forward needed for his game-winner.
That and a little luck.
“That last chance was just luck,” said Paul. “I had been going my hardest. My team had been going their hardest all game long. It was a combination of all the hard work and me being there at the right time.”
“It was good to get the win,” added Terrill. “Any game where you play a good team, it’s difficult. In the finals, it’s always difficult, no matter who you play. Morgan is a good team, and it was good to win.”