Rushing attack sends Orem football back to 4A title game
Three touchdowns and 187 yards from running back Noah Sewell led the Orem Tigers to a 62-20 win over the Pine View Panthers in the 4A state semifinals Friday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Cooper Legas and running back Buju Tuisavura each added two more touchdowns on the ground for the Tigers, who finished with 371 rushing yards and 615 total offensive yards in the win.
“I thought we came out and did a good job,” said Orem head coach Jeremy Hill. “I challenged (the team) to go fast … and I thought we played well. We came out firing on all cylinders, so I’m happy with the overall performance.”
Sewell scored on the Tigers’ opening drive with a 33-yard run before Joe Smith blocked his first of two punts on Pine View’s first possession, setting up Tuisavura for a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Panthers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and just 15 seconds after Tuisavura’s run, Sewell scored on a 15-yard run to give Orem a 21-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
“We wanted to get up by three touchdowns early,” Hill said. “So I said let’s go score, score, score on offense and get three stops and that’s exactly what we did.”
Back-to-back rushing touchdowns from Legas and a 75-yard touchdown pass to Jake Pedersen made it 41-0 Orem and Tuisavura’s second rushing touchdown of the night gave the Tigers a 48-7 lead at halftime.
Legas opened the second half with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Puka Nacua, who had a quieter night with five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.
“When they throw two or three guys on Puka, we’re just too good everywhere else,” Hill said. “We’ve got playmakers at other positions as well, so you’ve kind of got to pick your poison.”
Seven different Tigers caught at least one pass from Legas, who finished with 244 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Sewell then capped the victory with a 78-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up by 55.
Orem will return to Rice-Eccles Stadium to defend their 4A state championship against Dixie on Nov. 16 at 11 a.m.