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High school football: 3A semifinal preview, Morgan vs. North Sanpete

This Saturday’s 3A semifinal at Mountain View High School is a rematch of last year’s 3A semifinal won by North Sanpete

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Morgan (10-1) vs. North Sanpete (11-1)

  • 3A state tournament semifinals
  • Saturday, 11 a.m. (at Mountain View High School)
  • Parry’s Power Guide: Morgan by 8
  • All-time series: Morgan leads 10-4
  • Coach vs. coach: North Sanpete’s Rhett Bird leads Morgan’s Kovi Christiansen 2-0
  • Last meeting: North Sanpete 23, Morgan 15 (2018 semifinals)

OREM — A year later, Morgan is in an identical position heading into the 3A semifinals, with North Sanpete standing in its path. It’s no secret what the Trojans need to do this time to come out victorious on Saturday at Mountain View High School.

A year ago Morgan turned the ball over five times in that semifinal and lost 23-15. Three weeks ago in the final game of the regular season, Morgan turned the ball over four times against Grantsville in suffering its only loss of the season, 34-18.

“If you want to win games against good teams, you just can’t turn the ball over,” said Morgan coach Kovi Christiansen.

In each of those losses quarterback Carter Thackeray threw three interceptions, and Christiansen said the coaching staff will “keep reminding him that we need to take what the defense gives us and not try and force things that aren’t there.”

He’s done that throughout the season as Thackeray has led the way offensively for Morgan with 2,048 yards and 23 TDs. It’s an offense that ranks third in 3A scoring at 34.4 points per game, while defensively the Trojans lead the classification, surrendering 9.4 points per game.

North Sanpete, which also comes into the game with just one loss this season, is right behind Morgan in both statistical categories in 3A. The Hawks rank second in scoring defense, allowing 9.6 points per game, while offensively they’re averaging 33.6 points per game.

Coach Rhett Bird said having athletes on both sides of the ball has allowed them to be successful in every game this season but the Week 7 loss at Juab.

Bird anticipates that with the emotions running high on both sidelines on Saturday, simple execution will be the key again. Like last year, they’ll try to make Morgan’s offense feel uncomfortable.

“We know they have a good quarterback, the same quarterback we played against last year. We have to take away what he does and he likes to get the ball away on some quick easy passes, so we’ll try and eliminate what he does best and make him play out of his comfort zone,” said Bird.

As for North Sanpete’s offense, it’s been led by quarterback Landon Bowles, who’s passed for 1,975 yards and 19 TDs this year.

Last week in a big win over Juan Diego, Bowles completed 12 of 20 passes for 233 yards as the offense repeatedly moved the chains.

“Offensively, we feel way more comfortable than where we were last year, and we feel like we can put points on the board with the guys we have,” said Bird.

A year ago, North Sanpete was only averaging 17.4 points per game heading into the semifinals, but this year it’s averaging two more TDs per game.

Morgan should be able to match that offensive athleticism from North Sanpete. On both sides of the ball, Christiansen knows his players will be ready.

“Enough of them played in that game last year and understand the bitterness of how it ended,” said Christiansen.

Morgan 2019 Schedule

Morgan statistical breakdown

  • Scoring offense: 34.4 ppg (3rd in 3A)
  • Scoring defense: 9.4 ppg (1st in 3A)
  • Passing leader: Carter Thackeray (153-278, 55.0%, 2,048 yards, 23 TDs, 7 INTs)
  • Rushing leaders: Gage Thornton (82 carries, 488 yards, 4 TDs), Trevor Jarrett (90 carries, 328 yards, 10 TDs)
  • Receiving leaders: Jack Cameron (38 rec., 503 yards, 7 TDs), Coy Spens (31 rec., 426 yards, 4 TDs)
  • Tackles leaders: Porter Giles (57 tackles), Klint Love (51 tackles)
  • Sack leaders: Ethan Wheeler (11 sacks), Porter Giles, Connor Watkins (6 sacks)
  • Interception leaders: Ryder Lish (4 INTs)

North Sanpete 2019 Schedule

North Sanpete statistical breakdown

  • Scoring offense: 33.6 ppg (4th in 3A)
  • Scoring defense: 9.6 ppg (2nd in 3A)
  • Passing leader: Landon Bowles (142-258, 55.0%, 1,975 yards, 19 TDs, 9 INTs)
  • Rushing leaders: Connor Jorgensen (105 yards, 551 yards, 13 TDs), Payton Clawson (63 carries, 255 yards, 6 TDs)
  • Receiving leaders: Jaxton Langschwager (33 rec., 605 yards, 7 TDs), Connor Jorgensen (35 rec., 509 yards, 6 TDs)
  • Tackles leaders: Cole Mickel (90 tackles), Connor Jorgensen (76 tackles)
  • Sack leaders: Jaxton Langschwager (7 sacks), Cole Mickel (6 sacks)
  • Interception leaders: Connor Jorgensen, Andrew Mower (2 INTs)

Felt’s Facts for Morgan High School

  • All-time record: 484-338-22 (92 years)

  • Region championships: 24 (1930 co, 1935, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1947, 1975 co, 1976, 1977 co, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1989, 1991 co, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2005 co, 2008, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Playoff appearances: 52
  • All-time playoff record: 56-45

  • State championships: 6 (1940, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1993, 1997)

  • State championship record: 6-6

Felt’s Facts for North Sanpete High School

  • All-time record: 320-454-19 (104 years)

  • Region championships: 11 (1923, 1984 co, 1990, 1996 co, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 co, 2004 co, 2005 co, 2015 co)
  • Playoff appearances: 30
  • All-time playoff record: 13-29

  • State championships: 0

  • State championship record: 0-1