SALT LAKE CITY – The East Leopards have had one of the state’s strong rushing game since coach Brandon Matich took over in 2010, but this season, the Leopards have instituted more of a passing attack.
Friday night, however, Olympus quarterback Chase Moseley showed his abilities, throwing for 313 yards and three scores as the Titans bounced back from a series of close losses to beat East 23-10 in a Region 6 matchup.
With the win, Olympus gained its first region victory and improved to 3-3 overall. The Titans beat the Leopards for the first time since 2009 and also avoided their worst start since 2014.
When this game was scheduled, it likely wasn’t viewed by the Titans as a win. To make matters worse, it was also East’s homecoming, and then there was Olympus’ recent history.
“Three losses by six points, and with our tough schedule, we needed this one,” said coach Brandon Burt. “These are gritty kids and they didn’t give up.”
They also learned to hold on to a win. In each of their three defeats, the Titans lost the lead.
This time, Olympus got on the scoreboard first when Moseley found Nash Taylor on the first of two touchdown passes, and he later hit Caden Lloyd on a 43-yarder to build a 23-3 lead.
Still, Burt said he didn’t feel comfortable until Jack Evans intercepted a pass near the goal line with 3:11 left in the game.
“You never know,” said Burt, who spent many years as an Olympus assistant before taking the lead job this year.
Moseley shook off a tough first half to get the win. He threw one first-half pick and an East defender dropped another, but the Titans still kept a 6-3 lead.
After intermission, he seemed to be a more confident player and eventually completed 26 of 38 passes.
Moseley drove the Titans 80 yards on eight plays on the opening drive of the third quarter and connected with Taylor on a slant pass to build some momentum.
A holding penalty and a bad snap stalled the next drive, but Asher Gubler salvaged it with a 32-yard field goal.
A little while later, Moseley found Lloyd on the game’s biggest play. Lloyd, who was on the field for the first time since being injured in the season opener, juked several East defenders to finally reach the end zone.
“It was great to see that kid back,” Burt said. “He’s a talented player and since we don’t have a lot of size, we need players to make plays and give us some excitement. He’s that kind of kid.”
East finally rallied behind junior Dameon Crosby, who mixed a few runs with a series of short completed passes.
The Leopards also took advantage of dead-ball penalty (on themselves) just before a lost fumble to keep the drive going, and Crosby finished it with a 1-yard plunge.
East, however, couldn’t get any closer and Crosby was lifted for senior Tucker McCormick, who had started in most of the games earlier this season.
A couple of fourth-down stops reduced the Olympus sideline’s stress level until Evans ended the nigh with the Titan defense’s third interception.
East fell to 1-1 in region and 2-3 overall, still good enough for second place in a mostly level conference race.
The Leopards also scored just 10 points for the second straight week and face region leader Brighton next week.