Hawks stung by first loss of season
to Juab Wasps, 42-21
By Matt Harris
MT. PLEASANT—To the average fan, last night’s contest was an uneven blowout.
There was much, much more to the story.
The Juab Wasps took care of business in Mt. Pleasant last night as they rolled North Sanpete at home, 42-21, to hand the Hawks their first loss of the season.
Juab scored all their touchdowns on the ground between three seniors and one sophomore. Senior Trey Lund scored two touchdowns, the first two of the game. Senior Bodee Blackett scored another pair, and senior Grant Orme and sophomore Shan Jackson each scored an additional touchdown.
North Sanpete never really had an opportunity in this game to show their strength against their rivals. As reported by Coach Rhett Bird, the Hawks were missing over 10 different players from their regular rotation due to a combination of injuries sustained in the last week and a very ill-timed outbreak of COVID-19. Among other positional losses, North Sanpete was down to their third-string center, backup inside linebacker, a few backup linemen, a backup kicker, and even their fifth-string running back.
“I thought our kids did a great job with their attitude,” Bird said. “We felt like we had every chance, and we had the kids to go give them a good game.”
North Sanpete junior quarterback Landon Bowles was hunted down in the pocket all throughout the first half and was sacked several times, but he still managed to put up numbers, primarily in the fourth quarter. Bowles completed 20 of 33 attempts for 245 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
With junior linebacker Andy Mower filling the running back position, the Hawks got absolutely nothing done in the run game. Mower had 6 carries for only 4 yards, most of that part of a 9-yard run. The crippled pocket protection around Bowles led him to have 8 recorded carries for -27 yards, mostly on sacks. North Sanpete finished with -23 total rushing yards.
To take nothing away from the Wasps, Juab executed a strong run-first game plan that worked to perfection. Juab Coach Mike Bowring only called three pass plays in the entire game. Juab had two statements to make in the first two drives of the game. First, they made the statement on offense that they would not be stopped in the run game, running the ball on every play of their initial touchdown drive. Second, the Wasps proved on defense that four linemen was more than enough to give Bowles nightmares.
The Wasps poured it on throughout the first half as they raced out to a 28-0 lead, only needing to try passing the ball once to do it.
With a minute and a half remaining and North Sanpete facing 4th-and-long, Bowles went out to punt the ball, but it was a fake as he tricked the Wasps with a pass that went incomplete but got the contact on receiver Brady Jacobsen to get a drive-saving penalty. Bowles pushed the offense into Juab territory and then high-arced a 44-yard pass right into Jacobsen’s outstretched hands for the score.
In the second half, Juab went straight back to work as senior Grant Orme ran in a touchdown, followed by another score from Blackett.
With the game in hand in the fourth quarter as Juab maintained a 42-7 lead, North Sanpete played catchup against the Wasps’ second unit and turned in some great football. Bowles connected a pair of scores in the final minutes, one to Mower for 10 yards, and another to Jacobsen for 24 yards.
Bird was optimistic about the lessons learned in an ugly loss. “When you play a tight game and a good team like Juab,” Bird said, “you’re always going to face adversity…That’s really when you see what type of team you’ll have, so win or lose we always know when we play Juab, we’re gonna find out a little bit more about what type of team we have.”
North Sanpete is expected to have some struggles in the next few weeks with missing players, but the Hawks are prepared for the action. They will go back on the road next Friday to face American Leadership Academy.