Juan Diego's Tana Vea didn't mind doing the dirty work all season long. He got the tough yardage. He gutted it out when the Soaring Eagle were in third-and-short situations. And he didn't mind being somewhat in the shadow of senior running back Tyler Morales, who took over for Zach Kinninger after he suffered a season-ending injury.
But, on the biggest stage, it was Vea who came up with the biggest play in a 21-18 win over Hurricane for the Class 3A title on Friday at Rice Eccles Stadium.
The Tigers put together a 14-play, 60-yard drive to cut Juan Diego's lead 18-16. Gordie Dotson scored the touchdown on a four-yard run and then ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game with 51 seconds remaining.
But, that was enough time for the Soaring Eagle to again swing the momentum of the game. From Juan Diego's 43-yard line, quarterback Brian May connected with Vea on a screen pass. He busted up the right side and then cut inside before he was caught from behind. He was just two-yards shy of giving the Soaring Eagle the lead.
His play set up a 22-yard field goal for Jaron Bentrude, who nailed it with four seconds left.
"The coaches called a great play and the line executed perfectly," Vea said. "Being behind Morales, I knew I had to step up. The line just made great holes and we just had to keep fighting."