I thought our defense played outstanding. I thought they’d finally come out and really made themselves known as a dominant defense, and hopefully this is the game that really turns a page for them and they can become one of those defenses people talk about. —East head football coach Brandon Matich
SALT LAKE CITY — It was a one-sided affair Friday afternoon, with East dominating both offensively and defensively in its 59-10 victory over Corner Canyon.
“I thought our defense played outstanding,” said East head football coach Brandon Matich. “I thought they’d finally come out and really made themselves known as a dominant defense, and hopefully this is the game that really turns a page for them and they can become one of those defenses people talk about.”
On the offensive side of the ball, East got a huge contribution from senior running back Malakai Solovi, who scored the first 14 points for East with a 60-yard reception and a 74-yard sprint to the end zone.
Solovi had taken offense to a news article in which Corner Canyon failed to see the running back as a threat.
It was a fire that ignited the senior Friday afternoon.
“He took it personal that in the paper their coach called us a three-headed monster with Preston Curtis, Ula Tolutau and Isaac Valles,” said coach Matich. “Malakai can run the ball, and you’ve got to watch out for him. I knew he was ready to play this game, and I’m proud of him for having this game tonight.”
Solovi finished the game with a team-high three touchdowns.
“Ride with my brothers, die with my brothers,” said a cool and collected Solovi after the game. “When coach told me that they were saying no, I can’t do nothing, the only thing that came to my head was ‘kill everyone that gets in my way.’ ”
Trailing 14-0, Corner Canyon had its only bright spot of the game on the ensuing kickoff when Jake Cahoon took the return 95 yards for a score.
Unfortunately, it was the last time Corner Canyon found the end zone for the rest of the game.
Preston Curtis also put in a solid outing Friday, most notably a 59-yard touchdown run with just seconds remaining in the half that put the Leopards up 31-10.
“We played good on both sides of the ball,” said Curtis, who was a contributor for both defense and offense. “On defense, our coach told us we allowed very few total yards and on offense we executed well and had some big plays to go along with it.”
Ula Tolutau and Isaac Valles each added a pair of touchdowns for East, with Tolutau scoring on a 93-yard sprint to the end zone that took Corner Canyon out of the game.
“People don’t realize that we have guys all over the place that can contribute,” said Curtis. “If teams focus on just a few players, another guy is going to break one.”
Matich and his team now looks ahead to Olympus, a team that the Leopards haven’t played since a 43-3 blowout victory in 2010.
“We’re really excited to get back up to Rice-Eccles and play a team that we haven’t played in a few years, but we love to play Olympus,” said Curtis.
Added Matich, “We’ll be at practice in the morning getting ready for Olympus.”