All season long, the Enterprise defense has made life hard for opposing teams.
Which is why it didn’t matter Thursday afternoon that the Wolves were playing without their starting quarterback, Jayson Holt, and one of their starting receivers, John Oswald, on offense.
Jesus Morales ran for three touchdowns and Enterprise (8-2) shut out Millard 28-0 in the 2A playoff opener, scoring a rushing touchdown in each quarter and not allowing the Eagles (0-10) to get on the scoreboard.
“Our defense has been our key this whole year; I mean they’ve stepped up in every game; they get the job done,” head coach Andy Messersmith said.
Senior defensive tackle Austin Leavitt and junior defensive end Jaylon Gardner relentlessly pressured Millard quarterback Hayes Monroe all afternoon.
In the second quarter leading 14-0, Gardner made a huge sack off the edge to stuff the Eagles inside their own 5-yard line.
After a big run put Millard near midfield, Leavitt came through the middle to sack Monroe again, forcing a very long third down that the Eagles didn’t convert.
Sophomore defensive back Ryan Holt made arguably the best play of the afternoon in the second half, when Eagles receiver Tyler Marshall caught a deep ball, but bobbled it and Holt snagged it for a turnover.
While the defense shut out an opponent for the third time this season, the offense chugged along, helped by the occasional big pass play from new starting quarterback Tyler Hess or a sizable run from either Ryan Holt or Caleb Koopmans.
Morales dashed to the right side and scored from six yards out on his first touchdown, then muscled in for a two-yard score in the second quarter.
A.J. Anderson burst through the middle for an 11-yard TD in the third quarter and Morales capped off an impressive late drive with another two-yard touchdown run.
“We put that in a couple weeks ago, and we decided whenever we need a couple yards, to go to me,” Morales said, smiling.
The offense Thursday offered an early look at how the 2017 Wolves might look, Hess starting at quarterback and Anderson getting significant time at running back.
Hess started this week for the first time in a varsity game after the injury to Jayson Holt.
“I’ll be honest, at first I was a little nervous, but after that first hit, everything settled down, and it was good,” Hess said.
The other challenge Thursday for Enterprise was not to look past Millard, despite the Eagles’ 0-9 record and despite the Wolves beating Millard 40-7 earlier this year for the first time in 10 tries.
The next game in Enterprise’s already successful season is a very tough matchup with South Summit next Friday in Kamas. The Wildcats have beaten higher-enrollment schools Park City (3AA South) and Morgan (a No. 1 seed in 3A) as well as perennial 2A power San Juan.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr on Twitter @PatrickCarr_ and on Facebook at Facebook.com/PatrickJosephCarr1/ or call him at (435) 231-3834.