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Wasatch powers past Maple Mountain 55-20 to move on in 5A playoffs

By Darnell Dickson - | Oct 22, 2021
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Wasatch senior Joshua Sanders returns an interception 78 yards for a touchdown in a 5A state playoff game against Maple Mountain on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Wasatch quarterback Quezon Villa searches for a receiver during a 5A playoff game against Maple Mountain on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Maple Mountain's Sean Persson (3) punts the ball against Wasatch in a Class 5A state playoff game in Heber City on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Wasatch wide receiver Nalu Kitashina (8) reaches for a the ball on a pass play in a 5A playoff game against Maple Mountain on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Wasatch senior Jarinn Kalama (with ball) makes a reception against Maple Mountain during a 5A state playoff game in Heber City on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Maple Mountain's Jaxson Denton carries the ball against Wasatch in a 5A state playoff game in Heber City on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Maple Mountain's Sean Persson (3) reaches for a pass in a 5A state playoff game against Wasatch in Heber City on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Maple Mountain's Peyton Cranford (4) carries the ball after an interception in a 5A state playoff game against Wasatch in Heber City on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Maple Mountain's Sean Persson (in white) raises the ball in celebration after making a touchdown catch against Wasatch in a 5A state playoff game in Heber City on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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The Maple Mountain football team runs onto the field before the start of a 5A playoff game at Wasatch on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Nalu Kitashina (left) and La'a Kalama of Wasatch celebrate a touchdown in a 5A state playoff game against Maple Mountain in Heber City on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)

Four games into the 2021 high school football season Wasatch had to reinvent itself.

Record-setting quarterback Adarius Edwards, who threw 15 touchdown passes in those first four games, tore his ACL and was gone for the season.

Head coach Steve Coburn and the Wasps turned to talented sophomore Quezon Villa and after some initial growing pains, the offense is rolling at just the right time.

Wasatch broke open a close game with a big second quarter and rolled to a 55-20 victory against Maple Mountain in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs on Friday.

Villa accounted for four touchdowns (two rushing, two passing) as the No. 10 seed Wasps (7-3) advanced to next week’s second round at No. 7 Lehi.

“Everything we did was built around Adarius,” Coburn said. “We’re running the same offense but we had to do some things differently because Quezon does those things differently. Our offensive staff has done a really good job to develop the offense around what he does well.”

One of Villa’s touchdown passes was to BYU commit Jarinn Kalama, who also anchors the Wasatch defense from his safety spot.

“Quezon just keeps getting better and better,” Kalama said. “He is surprising some people but we knew he always had it. He’s a baller.”

Wasatch beat Maple Mountain 54-16 on September 17 and came into the playoff game as a heavy favorite. But the Golden Eagles battled early and tied the game at 7-all midway through the second quarter on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Bezzant to Sean Persson, a play set up by a interception from Peyton Cranford.

Wasatch went to their short passing game and Villa led his team on a long drive, scoring on a 3-yard run for a 13-7 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Blake Smith knocked the ball loose from Maple Mountain’s returner and Kona Kahai pounced on it at the 21-yard line. On the next play, Villa found a lane and sprinted untouched for a touchdown and a 20-7 advantage. The lead reached 27-7 on the Villa to Kalama connection for a 31-yard score.

Jaxson Denton broke loose on a 58-yard touchdown run and Maple Mountain cut the halftime deficit to 27-14.

Wasatch opened the third quarter with a long drive culminated with a 39-yard scoring pass from Villa to La’a Kalama and the Wasps scored 21 points in the third, including a spectacular 79-yard interception return by Joshua Sanders, for a 47-14 lead.

“I’m must really happy with our relentlessness,” Coburn said. “I mean, they just continue to fight through injuries. We’ve had two or three key season ending injuries to key players and other guys have stepped up and make plays, They’ve just continued to battle all year long.”

Junior running back Chris Cook, who ran for 205 yards and four touchdowns in the first win against Maple Mountain, has been recovering from injury and got into Friday’s game late, scoring a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns.

“Just watching the other teams in the 5A playoffs, I think you’re going to have to go through Timpview,” Coburn said. “I think it’ll really be a battle to get to that point.”

Jarinn Kalama is confident the Wasps can make a run the playoffs.

“Honestly, if we just execute and do our jobs, we’ll come out on top,” Kalama said. “If we execute, we can run any team out there.”

Denton scored twice for Maple Mountain (3-8), including an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Friday’s Football Results

CLASS 6A

First Round at home sites

No. 16 Kearns 31, No. 17 Fremont (4-6) 30

No. 9 Riverton 63, No. 24 Cyprus (1-9) 6

No. 13 Layton 24, No. 20 Hunter 10

No. 12 Syracuse 33, No. 21 Pleasant Grove 7

No. 18 Herriman 43, No. 15 Davis 13

No. 10 West Jordan 27, No. 23 Clearfield (1-9) 0

No. 19 Westlake 30, No. 14 Roy 28

No. 11 West 35, No. 22 Granger 16

CLASS 5A

First Round at home sites

No. 17 Alta 47, No. 16 Uintah 7

No. 24 Box Elder 22, No. 9 Tooele 14

No. 20 Park City 27, No. 13 Skyline 10

No. 21 Orem 42, No. 12 Brighton 22

No. 15 Bonneville 28, No. 18 Northridge 26

No. 10 Wasatch 55, No. 23 Maple Mountain 20

No. 14 Olympus 49, No. 19 Payson 21

No. 22 East 35, No. 11 Cedar Valley 7

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