Everyone connected with Morgan youth football knows the eighth grade teams coached by Jamie Spens and Rusty Hurd are solid. This year, Coach Spens team reached the WFFL semi-finals (losing 19-12 to the eventual mini-bowl champions after two touchdowns were nullified) and Coach Hurds team made the playoffs again, as they have done every year. Combine some of that talent and you have a team that can compete in national tournaments, and thats exactly what the Morgan Trojans did over Thanksgiving weekend. The hard-working team took home a giant first place trophy in the Las Vegas Pigskin Classic. The tournament features some of the best football talent from around the nation. We ended up playing teams in Las Vegas that were far better than any WFFL team either of us had played, Hurd said proudly. The co-head coaches have 15 years of combined youth coaching experience and have coached some of the players for six or seven years. To strengthen the team, Coach Spens and Coach Hurd, who is also the owner of Achieve Fitness in Morgan, added Coach Kovi Christiansen (MHS football head coach), Chad Carrigan and Chad Cameron to the staff. Coach Spens explained, It was our first time competing in Vegas. We took players from our team who could make it to the tournament and added some players from Rustys team. It was incredible to see the kids playing on the same team, a chance that many of them had never enjoyed. The experience was incredible, and the kids loved being together. We had a great time coaching together, added coach Hurd. Jamie is defensive-minded and makes defensive adjustments better than just about any coach. I am offensive-oriented, so we combined our strengths and it worked out well. For their first game, the Trojans played the high-powered Bells Garden Lancers, a top team from Los Angeles that won its first game by 28 points and featured two of the fastest players in the tournament. To defend against the deep pass, Coach Spens relied heavily on his safeties. Ethan Wheeler and Coy Spens did an incredible job at safety and took away the deep routes while our cornerbacks, Brenton Winn and Jacob Burt, pressed and frustrated receivers all day. On offense, Coach Hurd implemented his effective pass-oriented system that regularly featured four or five receivers running pass routes. The majority of the kids had to learn a brand new offense that is more complex than most high school varsity teams use. They had only a couple weeks to learn a new playbook and execute. It was pretty phenomenal watching (our quarterback) Trevor (Jarrett) run a college-level offense that he picked up in four or five practices. The Trojans scored 22 points through the first three quarters, with passes spread out to several receivers. Jack Cameron, Coy Spens, Porter Giles, Jay Carrigan and others shared the ball, explained Coach Hurd. Meanwhile, the defensive line shut down the Lancers potent offense. Our defensive line was dominant, opined Coach Spens. Led by a front four of Jamison Burraston (225 lbs), Tafui Fanua (192 lbs), Kash Lauenstein (185 lbs) and Connor Watkins (140 lbs of solid muscle), the Trojans defense wreaked havoc on the Lancers backfield all game, netting several sacks, tackles for losses and forcing a fumble and turnover. Final score: Trojans 22, Lancers 8. In their second game, the Trojans faced the Southwest Rams, Tucsons finest. Coach Spens noted: The Rams are a big, physical, run-oriented team, so we stacked the box with five down linemen. The D-line did a great job, and our linebackers stepped up big time to help stop the run. The Trojans linebacker corps was led by Dexter Gilson, Jack Cameron, Landon Hopkins and Porter Giles. On offense, we passed about 70 percent of the time, but had some key runs by Treyson Jones and Jay Carrigan, said Coach Hurd. After a scoreless first quarter, the Trojans offense ignited for two touchdowns in a five-minute span to take a comfortable 16-0 lead into halftime. Coach Hurd added: Give credit to our O-line, as they didnt allow a sack in eight quarters against some big, physical teams. Marcus Hurd, Jarrett Öthe Fridge Perry, Connor Watkins, Porter Giles, Kyle Carter and Brennan Campbell blocked well all weekend. The second half was all Trojans, with Trevor Jarrett connecting with Jay Carrigan over the middle for the teams third touchdown and a 22-0 lead. With 10 seconds left in the game, the Rams scored a meaningless touchdown. Final Score: Trojans 22, Rams 6. With their wins, the Trojans were rewarded with a 6-foot, 2-inch gold trophy. After proclaiming the Trojans the champions, the tournament director added: I cant recall the last time a first-year team won this tournament. Congrats! Asked about the future outlook for this talented group, Coach Hurd proclaimed: There are so many weapons on this team. They have size, speed and desire. They are smart and play well together. They can pass, run and shutdown teams. They should compete with and beat not just 3A teams, but 4A and 5A teams. This is a state-championship-caliber team. Expect them to win it all. Coach Spens prophesied plainly: This team will win a state championship. Just wait. Time will tell if the coaches predictions come true, but one thing is certain: The Morgan Trojans eighth-grade football team has been crowned one of the best teams in the nation. Should be a lot of fun watching this group compete at the high school level over the next four years.