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Crazy Utah semifinal football game in blizzard sends team to state title game amidst 7 turnovers

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Snow flurries in early November aren't necessarily a major surprise, particularly in the relatively northern climes across America. A full-out blizzard definitely is, unless you're living in Alaska. When such a huge snowstorm does set in somewhere, that area will usually face major lags in high school sporting events, waiting until the weather calms down and bus travel is safer again.

That's not the case in Utah, where the state played at least one state semifinal football game in some of the snowiest football conditions in ages, with a sloppy, 14-6 game playing out on a canvas that looked ripped from history and New England's famous "tuck rule" playoff victory against the Oakland Raiders.

Keep in mind, the tuck game occurred in late January in Massachusetts. The Mountain Crest (Utah) High vs. Highland (Utah) High state semifinal occurred in Utah in early November. Yet, as you can see from the videos above and below, the snow in Utah was certainly consistent with that New England blizzard back in 2002.

While the conditions made for scenic photos, it also essentially undermined any preconceived game plans for either squad. As noted by the Deseret News, the teams combined for seven turnovers, five by Highland, with the weather playing a significant role in all of them. Snow shovels and snow plows were used to try and clear the white stuff from the field, or at least make the field lines visible enough to continue playing.

Still, given the conditions that led to an eventual eight-point Mountain Crest victory, it's fair for one to ponder why the game went forward in the first place, particularly considering that a berth in a state championship game was on the line.

"[The snow] changes everything. That's what I was saying to the Highland kids. You feel bad for them as well because neither team could really do what they've prepared to do all year long when you get in a situation like this," Mountain Crest coach Mark Wootton told the Deseret News.

Mountain Crest eventually adapted to the snow squall better than Highland, mostly because at halftime it just abandoned any attempt to run its traditional offense. With no success through the air in the first half, Mountain Crest moved starting running back Eddy Hall to quarterback and ran the ball every single down, usually with Hall heading straight forward or looking for small holes near the center of the line.

By game's end Hall had accumulated 110 yards on a whopping 32 carries. That was enough for a win in the blinding snow.

The lingering question is whether it would have been enough if the game had been delayed and played in any conditions besides an all-out blizzard. Luckily for Mountain Crest -- and unluckily for Highland -- we'll never know.

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