SALT LAKE CITY — The Juan Diego Catholic High School Soaring Eagle football team traveled to Judge Memorial Catholic High School to take on the Bulldogs at home to win their ninth Region 10 title in a row Oct. 20. The three-time defending 3A state champions won the game 34-0.
The local NBC affiliate KSL-5 selected the Juan Diego vs. Judge Memorial game as the host site for the weekly SportsBeat Game Night Live hosted by Jeremiah Jensen and the KSL prep sports staff. One of the highlights of the weekly broadcast is the delivery of the game ball. The KSL helicopter landed on the Bulldog insignia on the 50-yard line just before kick-off. The Bulldog mascot emerged with the game ball and handed it to the head official. Then the mascot took off his head piece, revealing it was Judge Principal Rick Bartman.
The evening wasn’t all about football rivalry. The halftime cheer performance at McCarthey Stadium included the combined Judge Memorial and Juan Diego cheer teams in recognition of both unity and breast cancer awareness.
Once the teams took the field, the game started with a scoreless first quarter, the Soaring Eagle took over and never slackened.
"We just stayed focused and pretty much played Juan Diego football," said Brock Garn, Juan Diego running back, who scored two 1-yard touchdowns and a 26-yard touchdown catch. "Our line came out and did their job and got a push for the running backs and good protection for the quarterback. We just stayed to what has worked for us the whole season."
"I believe in our team and they believe in themselves," said John Colosimo, Juan Diego head football coach. "We preach win the yard and get after it. It’s a running game. If we can’t win a yard, we can’t win many games."
Juan Diego quarterback Nick Markosian scored a 1-yard touchdown, while A. J. Barbiero made the final touchdown with 1:47 left in the game.
"It’s a marvelous achievement that both schools played for the regional title and will have the opportunity to play for the state title," said Colosimo, adding that it speaks well for both schools and for the Catholic community.
Juan Diego will now turn its attention to Dixie High School in the state championship games as the number one seed. Judge Memorial will face Cedar City as the number two seed.
Juan Diego will approach the championship games the same way they have been playing each week.
"You have to stay focused on your next opponent; we don’t look down the road," Colosimo said. "That is going to have to be the strategy of any team that goes to the playoffs if they want to be successful."
Garn said his team has a good chance of defending its 3A state title. "We had a bunch of starters come back, and it’s really nice to have some experience on the line, in the backfield and also on defense," he said. "Overall, I think we trust ourselves more."
Meanwhile, Judge Memorial is also looking forward. "The nice part is we get to shake off this loss and get refocused on what we’re doing and where we’re going," said James Cordova, Judge Memorial head football coach. "Playoffs start on Friday and we’re happy to be among the 3A teams who are going on to play. We’re excited to play Cedar City. This will be our fourth time and we know each other well; they’re a great team. I know their coach, Todd Peacock, very well and it’s going to be a battle."