SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It’s been 23 years since Orem High won a state football championship, but it was worth the wait.
The Tigers used a suffocating defense to shut out Mountain Crest and driving rain and snowstorm to win the 4A championship, 26-0.
“It’s been 23 years since we won one,” said head coach Jeremy HIll. “I was a team captain on that team, and I didn’t think I could be any happier being involved with this sport. But hugging some of these kids that I’ve known since third grade, hugging my son, who is a junior on this team, it’s definitely sweeter this time around.”
Cooper Legas completed 11 of 19 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed for a score as the Tigers blew open a close game in the second half.
After two first half field goals by Canyon Esplin to give Orem a 6-0 lead at the half, Klaysen Christianson carried several defenders on his back on his way to a 13-yard touchdown run to give Orem a 12-0 lead.
Legas then hit Puka Nacua on a 13-yard touchdown pass to blow it open, 19-0.
“Everyone knows that you play football to get to the state championship,” Legas said.”My whole life I’ve been talking about it with my brothers, my teammates, everyone. Now that we’re finally here, it’s crazy.”
“So many alumni and the kids at school saying we’re proud of you no matter what happens,” Nacua said. “That confidence kind of helped our team knowing that we had so much support for alumni. It’s been the best opportunity.”
Legas added a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left in the game to cap the scoring for the Tigers.
The Orem defense picked Mountain Crest quarterback Brady Hall off three times and held the Mustangs to just 137 yards of total offense.
“Our defense was just awesome,” Nacua said. “I couldn’t be prouder.”