Millard West junior Darius Evans returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Kohlman Adema-Schulte added 96 yards and a score to lead the Wildcats to a 21-8 win over Millard South in the finals of the Class A state football playoffs on Friday.
"That got things ramped up awful quick for us. That was huge," Millard West coach Kirk Peterson said of the kick return. "People were writing and saying all week we had no chance in this game because they were on such a hot streak, winning six in a row. Well, we've won (13) in a row."
Evans took the opening kickoff at his own 6 and ran to his right before cutting back across the field and racing 94 yards for a score that put Millard West (13-0) in front 7-0 just 14 seconds into the game.
When Adema-Schulte added another score the next time the Wildcats touched the ball, the Patriots (9-4) were in a 14-0 hole from which they would not recover.
Although Bronson Marsh would pull Millard South to within 14-6 with a 1-yard run to open the second quarter, Nate Hauptmann would answer for Millard West. The defenses took over from there.
Both teams had scoring opportunities end with interceptions in the second half. Patriot safety Jordan Hale picked off a Wildcats pass in the end zone to keep Millard South within striking distance. Devin Samson then intercepted a Patriot pass with just over five minutes left to play at the Millard West 2.
"I was just trying to stick with my guy and go all out," Samson said. "It just came to me."
Although a Wildcats< botched punt would result in a safety with 4:36 left to play, Millard South's comeback would stall with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the 8. A Patriot receiver caught the ball but was ruled out of bounds.
"They came out and punched us in the mouth. We were playing a little to tentative in the beginning," Millard South coach Andy Means said. "We kind of caught our legs and came back but their defense played really well and we just didn Hauptmann threw for 52 yards and ran for another 52 to lead the Wildcats. Marsh threw for 187 yards and ran for another 27 to lead the Patriots.
Hauptmann threw for 52 yards and ran for another 52 to lead the Wildcats. Marsh threw for 187 yards and ran for another 27 to lead the Patriots.