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How Rose Bowl festivities produced a heartwarming BYU, Utah rivalry moment at Disneyland

Utah’s Morgan Scalley and BYU’s Kalani Sitake are close friends, and they created a special moment at Disneyland for some BYU fans

A parade for the Utah Utes and Ohio State Buckeyes makes its way through Disneyland.
A parade for the Utah Utes and Ohio State Buckeyes makes its way through Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, as part of events leading up to the Rose Bowl.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

While Utah players and coaches were enjoying themselves at Disneyland last Monday as part of Rose Bowl festivities, defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley was standing in line for the Matterhorn ride when he saw a boy wearing a BYU football jersey.

Not only did Scalley good-naturedly give him a fist bump, but he also took out his phone and FaceTimed Kalani Sitake so the boy and his family could talk to the Cougars head coach.

Scalley and Sitake are close friends, having spent years together coaching at Utah under coach Kyle Whittingham.

On FaceTime, Scalley explained he was at Disneyland and told him he was with some BYU fans and Sitake talked to them briefly. Before hanging up the phone, Scalley told Sitake, “Love you, bro.”

Asked later about it, Scalley said, “He’s a good dude. Kalani and I will always remain friends. We stay in contact all the time. Had a young man in line, a great family that we started talking to. So I FaceTimed Kalani and was able to have him talk to that kid. That’s a special moment for him. That’s something that Kalani loves to do. That was fun.”

Scalley’s act of kindness just may have inspired that BYU fan and his family to root for the Utes Saturday against Ohio State.

PLAYING FOR SOMETHING BIGGER: Utah cornerback Clark Phillips III recalled the emotions his team has experienced this season, including winning the program’s first Pac-12 championship.

“We went through a lot this year. We made goals at the beginning of the season, and at the end of the season we lost some people. We lost one of our dear teammates in Aaron Lowe. We lost Ty Jordan last year. Just being in that game, it was something that we dreamed of and that those guys dreamed of. We felt like we were playing for something huge, something way bigger,” Phillips said.

“It was a special — what a bittersweet moment (at the Pac-12 championship) because it was like, dang, just so glad that we got here, so glad that we won. I hugged (cornerbacks coach) Sharrieff Shah afterwards and we both just started crying because we couldn’t hold it back. It was like, ‘This is what we worked for. This is what Aaron wanted. This is what Ty wanted.’ We did it. It was super emotional.”

DOWNRIGHT ROSY: Earlier this week, Utah revealed the special uniforms it will be donning for the Rose Bowl.

The Utes are wearing white uniforms with red throwback lettering and white pants. A Rose Bowl patch has been added to the jersey. Utah’s helmets will be white with interlocking red U’s, with a rose at the bottom right of the U’s.

Linebacker Devin Lloyd enjoys the look.

“Yeah, that was definitely a very nice touch that I think our equipment staff does a great job of that,” he said. “They’re always looking out for us and always make sure that whatever we get, it has some thought behind it. I love all the little touches and details for sure.”

‘DANGEROUS’: Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud called Utah cornerback Clark Phillips III one of the best cornerbacks in the country and he also has respect for the entire Utes defense.

“Of course Devin Lloyd speaks for himself. He’s a great football player,” Stroud said. “Their D-line gets to the quarterback. It’s going to be a good matchup. We’re definitely going to have fun out there. And we’re definitely not taking them lightly. I think they’re a very dangerous defense.”

FROM UTAH TO OHIO: On Dec. 15, the No. 1-rated high school football prospect from the state of Utah signed with Ohio State.

Quarterback Devin Brown, a four-star prospect from Corner Canyon, threw for 4,809 yards and 56 touchdowns this season.

Brown decommitted from USC on Nov. 24 before signing with the Buckeyes. He is regarded as the fifth-best quarterback prospect in the nation.