Milford has already avenged one regular-season loss in the 2A playoffs, but a repeat performance in this weekend’s semifinals would be significantly more impressive.
No. 2 seed Duchesne rolls into Saturday’s semifinal at Southern Utah University with a perfect 10-0 record and plenty of confidence after beating Milford 28-14 back in week 4.
Milford (6-6) vs. Duchesne (10-0)
2A state tournament semifinal
Saturday, 5 p.m. (At Southern Utah)
Parry’s Power Guide: Milford by 3
All-time series: Duchesne leads 22-10. Duchesne won 16 straight over Milford from 2002 through 2017.
Coach vs. coach: Duchesne’s Jerry Cowan leads Milford’s Thane Marshall, 7-4
Last meeting: Sept. 4 (week 4) – Duchesne, 28-14, at Duchesne.
That game seems like it was eons ago for Milford’s program.
“We were a whole different team. We’ve moved a bunch of people around since then. We’ve become a lot better football team the past three weeks,” said Milford coach Thane Marshall.
That evolution was obvious in the quarterfinals last week as Milford rolled past Kanab for the 34-7 victory with Bo Hardy passing for two touchdowns and Casey Hardy rushing for two more. Back in week 7 Milford lost to Kanab 26-15, but the rematch featured a 38-point swing in Milford’s favor.
While Marshall insists his team is significantly better since losing to Duchesne in week 4, Duchesne coach Jerry Cowan feels the same about his team.
“I guarantee we’ve improved too. If you haven’t improved you usually aren’t still playing at this point in the year,” said Cowan.
Duchesne ranks second in both 2A scoring offense and scoring defense and is coming off a convincing 30-7 win over Parowan in the quarterfinals last week. It’s a Parowan team that beat Milford in week 9.
Duchesne is undersized, but is outstanding defensively led by Tristan Farnsworth and Jaxon Morland.
Cowan said it’s critical that all his players stay assignment sound against Milford’s spread offense, which has become more dangerous in recent weeks as quarterback Bo Hardy has been more willing to run.
“If you’re not disciplined up front with pass rush and staying in lanes and keeping him in the pocket that’s where you’re going to get in trouble with that team,” said Cowan.
Marshall said his sophomore quarterback seemed hesitant to run earlier this year — particularly during a five-game losing skid that included the losses to Duchesne and Kanab — but lately that hasn’t been the case.
“Our offensive line has improved a lot, but Bo has really grown up as a quarterback. He’s started using his legs,” said Marshall. “Once you have to start defending him both running and throwing he’s a whole different football player.”
In the past three weeks he’s rushed for 180 total yards and three touchdowns.
For Duchesne, offensively it does most of its damage on the ground, but Cameron Brady has proven to be a very capable quarterback as he’s passed for 1,196 yards and five TDs.
Milford statistical breakdown
Milford player to watch
Bo Hardy, QB
Scoring offense: 24.8 ppg (3rd in 2A)
Scoring defense: 19.8 ppg (7th in 2A)
Passing leader: Bo Hardy (207-343, 60.3%, 2,449 yards, 17 TDs, 16 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Casey Hardy (95 carries, 566 yards, 8 TDs), Bo Hardy (136 carries, 418 yards, 9 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Bret Beebe (63 rec., 825 yards, 7 TDs), Blake Barnes (71 rec., 678 yards, 3 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Blake Barnes (144 tackles), Quaid Thompson (136 tackles)
Sack leaders: Luke Finicum (4 sacks)
Interception leaders: Heston Sullivan (8 INTs)
Duchesne statistical breakdown
Duchesne player to watch
Makovey Jessen, WR
Scoring offense: 33.8 ppg (2nd in 2A)
Scoring defense: 9.3 ppg (2nd in 2A)
Passing leader: Cameron Brady (69-129, 53.5%, 1,196 yards, 12 TDs, 5 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Brock Adams (91 carries, 616 yards, 6 TDs), Westin Gines (126 carries, 588 yards, 6 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Makovey Jessen (23 rec., 501 yards, 5 TDs), Kaleb Sanchez (23 rec., 391 yards, 2 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Tristan Farnsworth (60 tackles), Jaxon Morlan (58 tackles)
Sack leaders: Ethan Park (8 sacks)
Interception leaders: Parker Crum (6 INTs), Makovey Jessen (6 INTs)
Felts Facts for Milford High School
All-time record: 263-401-11 (79 years)
Region championships: 5 (1990, 1991, 1999 co, 2017, 2018)
Playoff appearances: 35
All-time playoff record: 22-31
State championships: 3 (1993, 2017, 2018)
State championship record: 3-2
Felts Facts for Duchesne High School
All-time record: 285-214-1 (50 years)
Region championships: 17 (1983 co, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Playoff appearances: 91
All-time playoff record: 40-34
State championships: 6 (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016)
State championship record: 6-5