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High school football: Morgan’s strong effort dampens Juan Diego’s stadium memories

Galey Colosimo and John Colosimo remember when Juan Diego Catholic High School was someone’s dream — a group of buildings in-between corn and alfalfa fields and within smelling distance of a local dairy.

The school also built a football field, and for 21 years, Galey, the school’s principal, watched his younger brother John create a dynasty that included eight state championships and 17 region titles.

Juan Diego was also one of the first schools in the Salt Lake Valley to install an artificial surface, and the school honored John Friday night by placing his name between the 20- and 50-yard lines. The Morgan Trojans then showed how much things have changed since Colosimo retired in 2020.

On Friday night, the school decided the honor its longtime coach by naming the field after him, and the Trojans drove all over it, rolling to a 42-3 victory in a 3A North matchup between two usually powerful teams.

This year, Morgan is the clear power as Nick Despain threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns — all to Gavin Turner. Two of them occurred in the second half when the Trojans broke loose to dampen Juan Diego’s homecoming and Colosimo’s chance to relive his many successes with many former players who returned to see their old coach at the stadium.

“We tell the kids to get excited no matter who we play,” said Morgan coach Jared Barlow, whose team improved to 6-0. “We knew this was going to be a special night for them (the Soaring Eagle), but we wanted it to be special for us, too.”

“You stay at a place as long as I have, they’re bound to do something like this,” joked Colosimo after a brief ceremony between the first and second quarters. We’re a young team this year, and Morgan is always tough and they’re running on all cylinders.”

Morgan scored on its first drive and never trailed, primarily because the Trojans kept Juan Diego’s offense in check. They led just 14-0 at halftime, though, due to an interception and a fumble. Two quick touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 33-yard toss to Turner, put the game away.

Juan Diego’s offense that was usually so powerful under Colosimo never found its rhythm, and narrowly missed being shutout until Hayden Mezenen connected with Carlos Calota on a 63-yard pass that led to a short field goal by Porter Moore.

That was one of the rare bright spots on the field for Juan Diego, which fell to Morgan for the fifth straight time. The Soaring Eagle’s last win, in fact, in this matchup was in the 2017 3A state championship team.

“They beat us up many times, and some of us remember that game (in 2017),” said Barlow. “This was just our turn. We’ll take it.”

Despain completed 23 of 35 passes until being lifted in the fourth quarter. Turner finished with eight catches for 117 yards and Lincoln Gilson had nine catches for 109 yards.

Juan Diego fell to 2-4 and hopes to finish with a winning season — but with only one more regular-season home game on the new John Colosimo Field.

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