HURRICANE — Hurricane’s defense was downright nasty Friday night in a 38-0 first-round playoff victory over Delta.
The Tigers D, which had held five different opponents under 15 points this season, set a goal to shutout the Rabbits and this was one goal that wasn’t going to get away.
“It really helps our confidence,” coach Chris Homer said. “We purposely set a goal to shut them out and game-planned for it.”
Linebacker Andy Perkins and defensive back Zach Prince were two of the defensive stars as the Tigers forced four Delta turnovers and allowed just 136 total yards.
“The shutout was really nice because we’ve had a couple of games where we haven’t done real well,” Perkins said. “We knew if we kept up the intensity, we could stop them.”
The Tigers snatched control of this one early, scoring three unanswered touchdowns in the first quarter on TD runs by Adam Thompson (23 yards) and Jared Edwards (19 yards) and a long TD pass from Adlai Elison to Keanu Stevenson of 76 yards.
Delta looked like it might get on the board just before halftime. The Rabbits drove 48 yards to the Hurricane 1-yard line with a minute to go in the half. But a quarterback sneak by Hunter Johnson on fourth down was stuffed by Perkins and company and the shutout was intact. The Rabbits never got close in the second half.
Prince, who underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago to repair ligaments in his thumb, won’t play QB anymore for Hurricane. But he was cleared to play in a soft cast as a defensive back for the Tigers and intercepted a pass in the first quarter.
“It feels nice to be back out there after watching the past two weeks,” Prince said. “I’ve been playing catch the past few days so hanging on to the interception was no big deal.”
Thompson added TD runs of 2 and 60 yards in the third quarter to salt the game away. Ethan Stratton added a field goal early in the fourth for the final points.
The two teams combined to throw just eight passes in the game. Hurricane’s Elison completed all three of his attempts for 118 yards and a score. Johnson missed on all five of his, with two of the misses going as Hurricane interceptions, including an acrobatic grab by Tigers LB Cody Engstrom.
The win sets up a meeting with Juan Diego next week for Hurricane. The Tigers infamously lost three straight years to the Soaring Eagle on the last play of the state championship game in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Juan Diego was eliminated in the quarterfinals last season by Spanish Fork.
“I think we’ve built our program so that we can go and win anywhere,” Homer said. “We’re planning on going up there and winning. Maybe then people will stop talking about those state championship losses. It should be a battle.”
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