East High's defense lives in an everlasting shadow. The Leopards' offense has shattered state records this season, and since Brandon Matich took over the program in 2010, the triple-option scheme has produced gaudy numbers on a yearly basis.
Late in the second half of the Class 4A state championship at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Friday, though, it was the defense that bailed out a potentially game-shifting error. Springville, trailing by two scores with two minutes remaining in the first half, recovered an East fumble 20 yards away from paydirt. Add into the equation the Red Devils were positioned to receive the opening kick of the third quarter, and it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce a touchdown could change the complexion of the entire game.
"We talk about heart and what we've got in us," said East defensive lineman Jordan Lolohea, who contributed to East's three sacks and six tackles for loss. "Our coach always tells us to give every fiber in our body."