Game Preview Capsule: Hurricane at Juan Diego

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Hurricane (9-1, 5-1) at Juan Diego (11-0, 5-0), tonight, 5 p.m.
Previous Meeting – Juan Diego 10, Hurricane 7 (Nov. 19, 2010, 3A championship at U of U)

TIGERS
Classification: 3A, Region 9
Coach: Chris Homer (11th year, 85-43 overall)
Offense: Wing-T
Last week: Beat Delta 38-0
Players to watch: LB Cody Engstrom is having a great year and always seems to be there when the Tigers need a big stop. The Tigers will need to stop the hard-grinding Juan Diego offense, so the pressure falls to LBs Andy Perkins, Sean Hafen and even LB/RB Jared Edwards. QB will have to pass some to keep the Soaring Eagle defense honest.
PPG: 35.1
PAPG: 18.8
Team stats: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football/hurricane-stats
Trend: So many people jumped off the Hurricane bandwagon after a close win vs. Pine View was followed by a triple-overtime loss to Desert Hills. Hello, the Tigers are 9-1 and have been in four straight state championships. Take a look at what Hurricane has accomplished this season: wins over 4A and 5A playoff teams in Skyline and West Jordan, a close win against a good Dixie team and a shutout last week against Delta.

SOARING EAGLE
Classification: 3A, Region 10
Coach: John Colosimo (26th year, 174-103 overall)
Offense: Flex-bone
Last week: Beat Grantsville 34-0
Players to watch: QB Nick Markosian has been injured some this season, but still managed 832 yards and 10 TDs this year. He’s also rushed for 516 yards. No doubt, Juan Diego wants to run the ball. They have two excellent backs in Chase Williams (886 yards, 16 TDs) and Jessie Springer (800, 7). Defensively, Dakota Cox is a beats with 124 tackle sand four sacks this year, while safety Walter Kauhaahaa has 79 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions.
PPG: 36.6
PAPG: 7.3
Trend: The Soaring Eagle haven’t had a close game for nearly two months, feasting on the weak Region 10. In the preseason, Juan Diego did just edge Springville, Salem Hills and Skyline. No team has scored 20 points or more this year on the Soaring Eagle, so it seems their defense is for real.

GAME OUTLOOK
If you’ve been in a cave, you should know there’s some history here. From 2008-2010, Juan Diego beat Hurricane three straight times in the state championship game. That fact will remain regardless of what happens tonight. But just throw out the revenge factor right away. This is the playoffs and both teams will be plenty motivated. It will be a defense-dominated barnburner that will probably be won by the last team to have the ball. Maybe this time it will be the team from southern Utah.

STGnews PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (40-8) – Hurricane
JA/Keric Seegmiller (40-8) – Juan Diego

Region 9 standings: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football-standings
Region 9 leaders: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football-leaders

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