Hawks can’t stop potent Juab Wasp
running game, get first loss, 28-5
By Matt Harris
NEPHI—North Sanpete’s unbeaten streak ended at their rival’s hands last Friday as the Hawks fell to Juab, 28-5, for their first loss of the season.
North Sanpete didn’t have an answer for the Wasps’ premier back, Cade Bowring, who rushed for three touchdowns and added another on a touchdown catch. Meanwhile, the Hawks’ offense failed to capitalize on the few opportunities a tough Juab defense presented them.
“We knew that they were going to be good and that they had some athletes,” Coach Rhett Bird said. “We got down on the goal line twice, on the 1-yard line, and couldn’t convert. Football, it’s a momentum game, and we didn’t get the momentum going our way, and they did early in the game, and it was just hard to recover after that.”
North Sanpete went the whole game without a touchdown for the first time in 18 games. The loss was the fourth straight in the rivalry series with Juab. Coach Bird is 0-4 against the Wasps.
After the Hawks went three-and-out on their first possession, Juab took advantage of a poor punt and started on the Hawks’ 44-yard line. Only a few plays later, Bowring got his first touchdown with a juked inside and through the middle of the defensive line.
Bowles miscommunicated with his receiver on a pass play on the next possession and threw an ugly interception which Juab returned to the 20-yard line. After the Hawks stopped the Wasps’ first attempt inside the 5-yard line, Juab turned to Bowring again. After Bowring met the defender at about the 2-yard line, Juab’s offensive line pushed him through for their second score.
North Sanpete’s defense finally shined as the first quarter drew to a close when senior Jaxton Langschwager made a tremendous stop on third down.
Juab set up to punt on the first play of the second quarter, but the snap sailed over the punter’s head. Juab’s punter dashed backwards and fell on the ball to allow the safety.
North Sanpete punted again, but on the first play of the Wasps’ next drive, Langschwager forced a fumble to set up the North Sanpete offense inside the 20-yard line.
Coach Bird opted for a few direct-snap plays to senior Payton Clawson to run the Hawks inside the five, and they found themselves facing fourth-and-inches at the 1-yard line. North Sanpete ran the play through Clawson who bounced outside but was met by Bowring on defense, and the Hawks turned it over on downs at the one.
Juab responded by driving downfield on a clock-eating possession that took almost five minutes off the second quarter. With 38 seconds remaining and the Wasps on the Hawks’ 21-yard line, senior quarterback Zac Cowan snapped the ball and spent an entire 10 seconds avoiding defenders in the backfield before delivering a strike to Bowring in the back of the end zone. Cowan then ran in a two-point conversion to make it 21-2.
Juab’s ensuing kickoff went out of bounds to give the Hawks offense a possession starting at the 35-yard line with 26 seconds to go until halftime. Taking advantage of a big play and a penalty on Juab, the Hawks got to the 19-yard line with a single second to go.
Bird opted to give kicker Luis Rodriguez a moment to shine, and Rodriguez answered the call with a 37-yard field goal as the first half ended.
“We were excited,” Bird said. “The beginning of the year, he struggled, even with PATs.”
Juab’s first possession of the second half went all the way downfield and finished with another Bowring touchdown from two yards out.
North Sanpete got downfield one more time during the game, but was stopped inside the five again and could not get anything else to happen as Juab secured the victory.
“We feel like our team could play with them,” Bird said, “if things went our way and we converted those two touchdowns, it could have been a different game, so we’re still optimistic, and there’s a lot for us to learn this game. We’ll take it moving forward and hopefully learn from it.”
North Sanpete dropped to 6-1 on the season and fell behind Manti and Juab in the Region 14 standings.
The Hawks are set for another tough matchup as they host the rivalry with Manti on Friday night. The Templars are 6-0 after beating Union, 21-7, last week.