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West Valley Makes Adjustment to Win Utah

HS Boys

West Valley Makes Adjustment to Win Utah

The West Valley Warriors are Utah HS Club champions, but it wasn’t easy.

Despite rolling pretty heavily through the Utah season, the Warriors faced a somewhat new-look Genesis team on Saturday for the final. West Valley had defeated Genesis 36-10 earlier in the season, but this time Genesis had a new plan.

“Their lineup was different,” said West Valley Head Coach Epoki Mahina. “Their big boys didn’t play. They used their fitness to wear out my boys.”

West Valley has the ability to score quickly and did so early in the game. But after that Genesis did well to control possession and keep the ball away from the Warriors. It worked.

“By the end of the first half they’d come back and our guys were out of breath,” said Mahina. “We were scrambling and missing tackled. They had a game plan that we didn’t expect, and they played well.”

The Warriors had not been behind at halftime all season. It was a shock, but they adjusted.

West Valley likes to move the ball aggressively, but Genesis was on to that and forced some turnovers. It didn’t help that speedy wing Sione Mahina, and outside center Carson Pututau. 

So Mahina told his players to keep the ball tight and play a more conservative game.

“We have these big forwards so we used them more,” said Mahina. “Our backline is really good and really athletic. But we were thrown off our game a little, and we were able to adjust.”

No. 8 Tevita Tauvao was a powerhouse. He plays with the strength and aggressiveness of the a good No. 8, and adds in a good dose of speed. With Jay Tufele coming in as an impact sub at flanker, West Valley closed out a 26-22 victory.

“We’re good and we’re excited about winning the title,” said Mahina. “But Genesis is very good. They are younger than us, have a really good coaching staff, and they will be back.”