Without the buzz saw San Juan Broncos to deal with in another state championship game, Beaver left little doubt on Saturday who the 1A champs are.
After back-to-back 2A runner-up finishes to San Juan the past two years, top seed Beaver rolled to the 1A title on Saturday at Southern Utah University with a convincing 28-6 victory over No. 3 seed Enterprise.
The win was Beaver’s 14th state title in school history, and third in the past five years. In the other two years, it was runner-up to San Juan.
“Enterprise is a really good team, and I was really pleased with the way our kids came out. We drove down and scored the first series, set the tone. Our defense played phenomenal all night,” said Beaver coach Jonathan Marshall.
As it has throughout the season, Beaver got the job done with a dominant defensive performance, holding Enterprise to just 188 yards of total offense, and only 47 in the first half. In limiting the Wolves to one TD, the Beavers finished the season only allowing an average of 7.6 ppg.
“We knew they were going to be big. We just had to toughen up and go get them,” said Beaver linebacker Kutlur Matheson. “Just be tougher than them, that was our biggest thing.”
Saturday’s championship was the third-career football state title for Marshall — who’s also coached Beaver to nine girls basketball state championships. He never concerns himself with what classification the title comes in.
“I don’t care what classification we’re in. Our goal is to be the best team we can be, get to this game and give ourselves a chance to win it. We fell short the last two years, but our kids today they played like champions,” said Marshall.
Beaver got on the board first, scoring on its opening drive of the game after chewing nearly six minutes off the clock. Matheson hauled in a six-yard TD pass from Bodie Wheatley for the 7-0 lead.
The Beavers scored again just before the end of the first quarter as Tavyn Hollingshead darted into the end zone from 2 yards out for the 14-0 lead.
The second quarter wasn’t as productive for Beaver as it threw an interception and missed a field goal, but it still maintained the 14-0 lead until halftime.
Enterprise’s offense couldn’t do anything in that opening half, and it totaled just 47 yards and four first downs compared to 158 yards of total offense for the Beavers.
Enterprise’s hope for a quick start in the third quarter fizzled quickly with a fumble after just one first down, and Beaver quickly capitalized on the short field as Hollingshead hauled in a screen pass from Wheatley and raced 34 yards into the end zone for the 21-0 lead with 9:32 remaining in the third quarter.
Enterprise avoided getting shutout when Ryker Phillips scored on a 6-yard TD run on fourth and goal that cut the lead to 21-6 with 1:35 left in the third quarter.
It was short-lived momentum, however, as Beaver immediately responded with a seven-play, 65-yard drive that Deegan Blackner capped with a six-yard TD run of his own.
“I was really proud of our offense. Enterprise is a really good defensive team, and I thought our offense just made some gigantic plays and some big plays at key times,” said Marshall.
Hollingshead finished the game with 96 rushing yards on 16 carries, while Tate Gale rushed for 53 yards on 10 carries.
Beaver finished the season with a 12-1 record, with that lone loss coming in Week 4 when it lost 20-0 at Duchesne. Marshall said that was the best thing that could’ve happened to his team in hindsight as his players had to grow up a lot with their mentality.
“If it wouldn’t have happened against Duchesne it would’ve happened against somebody else,” said Marshall. “Sometimes losing is a good thing for you.”