With Friday’s impressive win over Union, the Morgan High School Trojans can now be called back-to-back region champs.
For the second straight season, the Trojans sailed through the 3A North division with a perfect 5-0 mark to earn a bye in the first round of the playoffs. To get there, the Trojans walloped Union 45-22 to finish the regular season with a 7-2 record. That’s pretty amazing considering that MHS genuinely thought it was a rebuilding year.
“I’m going to credit these seniors,” Morgan coach Kovi Christiansen said. “They’re playing with a bunch of underclassmen, and we really haven’t done that in the past. Our core has always been our seniors, but they’ve taken these young guys in.”
Morgan quarterback Jacob Stephens completed 26-of-46 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception in one of his best passing games of the season. He also ran for two scores.
Meanwhile, senior running back Bridger Miller has turned himself into a formidable offensive weapon for the Trojans, rushing for 189 yards on just 22 carries against the Cougars, who entered the game with just one region loss. Tyson Hurd was the leading receiver with eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
All in all, it was a remarkable offensive performance against a team that some thought would be the class of the region.
“We wanted to be aggressive tonight,” Christiansen said. “We wanted to get after it, and the kids didn’t want to share (the region championship), and I didn’t want to share it. Union is a great team and they’re always very well coached. Their coach is a good friend of mine and I know they’re going to be ready to play, so we really had to put it together tonight and I thought we did. It’s a good win for us. I’m happy for our kids.”
The Trojans’ defense was equally impressive against Union. Led by senior Chase Trussell, who had 10 tackles, the Trojans sacked Cougars’ quarterback Lincoln Labrum seven times and forced him to throw two interceptions. One of those picks was nabbed by junior linebacker Colten Hansen, who rumbled 62 yards untouched for a TD.
Perhaps no series of downs exemplified the Trojans’ incredible growth over this season than a defensive three-and-out a little over halfway through the fourth quarter.
Just prior to that series, the Trojans scored a touchdown on fourth down and 11 yards to go. Stephens found Jake Rounkles open for a 16-yard TD to give Morgan a 32-14 lead and a ton of momentum. That set up a remarkable defensive output once the Cougars’ got the ball back. On three consecutive plays, Morgan’s defense sacked Labrum twice and tackled running back Jarom Miller for a huge loss. At that point it was clear that the region championship belonged to Morgan.
“We were going 100 percent all game,” Trussell said. “We came out and we wanted to make a statement. We wanted to prove to every other team in the state that we’re here to contend for a state championship and that we’re ready to play.”
Six of Morgan’s seven sacks were by underclassmen, including three by sophomore Jamesen Burraston, two by junior Brenon Sanders and one by sophomore Connor Watkins. Trussell was the lone senior with a sack, and he has been impressed with the contributions from his younger teammates.
“The first of the season was a little rough,” Trussell said. “But we knew what we needed to do. A lot of the underclassmen have been coming up and proving themselves. They’re leading just as much as us upperclassmen. We’re starting to click as a team and it’s going good. I think we’re only getting better and better each game. I think the sky’s the limit for us.”
Morgan will host either Richfield or Emery in the quarterfinals next Friday at 4 p.m. at Trojan Field.