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High school football: Orem makes like a Ferrari in a 24-0 win over East

Orem’s defense stymied East’s potent attack throughout to warrant a rare shutout win over the 6A powerhouse on Friday

SHARE High school football: Orem makes like a Ferrari in a 24-0 win over East
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Orem’s Zion Saleapaga (55) celebrates with his teammates after a turnover during a high school football game against East at Orem High School in Orem on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Box score

OREM — It’s hard to screw up a Ferrari, no matter who is given the keys to operate the high-performing sports vehicle.

That was the message conveyed by Orem interim head coach Gabriel Sewell Sr. after his team blasted East 24-0 on Friday night.

Sewell took over the head coaching duties right before the start of the 2020 season after Jeremy Hill stepped away due to stated personal reasons. But if Friday’s whomping over East is any indication, the Tigers haven’t missed much of a beat as a result.

And Sewell was quick to credit the work already put in by Hill for just about all of it.

“It’s probably a lot easier than people think because (Hill) already assembled a great coaching staff, and I think it’s just a (few adjustments),” Sewell said. “It’s kind of easy to step into the Ferrari when given the keys.”

It took a little less than a full half of play for the Tigers to get rolling during Friday’s win, up until quarterback Micah Fe’a found Silas Sagote for a 2-yard touchdown pass to put the home team up 10-0. From there, the Tigers rolled courtesy of a stingy defensive effort throughout and enough offense for the rare shutout of the typically high-octane Leopard attack.

“Our key was just doing our assignment,” said Orem linebacker Jayden Ah You of his team’s dominant defensive performance. “Coaches told us we had to sacrifice for our teammates, and there were a lot of guys who did that. ... Ao when it was any guy’s turn to make a play, it was sort of easy.”

Orem’s dominant defense continued in the second half, while the offense advanced to another key with Fe’a leading the way. The 6-foot-4 junior quarterback added two more touchdown tosses in the second half of seven and 11 yards, to Joe Smith and Noah Erickson, respectively.

“His progression from last year to last week to this week — he’s just sort of bought into a lot of the mental processes that go into preparing for a game,” Sewell said of Fe’a’s play. “Today it showed on the field. He did really good.”

Watch replay: Orem 24, East 0

The win was a big one for Orem in its pursuit of a fourth-straight state championship, in that it showed the team’s ability to not only dominate top 5A competition, but even one of the traditional 6A powerhouse programs.

The key in doing as much, according to Sewell, was tight and disciplined play.

“East is a great team — both historically and now,” Sewell said. “I knew that in order for us to hang with them we had to commit far less penalties than we did last week and stay disciplined. Discipline and focus were needed to stop that very, very powerful offense that they run.”

Sewell also credited his offense for much of the defense’s success — pointing out the several long drives put together that kept the Leopard offense off the field for much of the game.

With the win, Orem improves to 2-0 on the year and will next take on another top 6A program in Skyridge. East drops to 1-1 with the loss and will look to rebound next week when taking on Lone Peak.