West quarterback Isaiah SueSue prepares for a game against Taylorsville on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (Sean Walker, KSL.com)
Estimated duration: 3-4 minutes
TAILERSVILLE — Not every touchdown scored by West High quarterback Isaiah Sioux is as easy as the one he threw against Taylorsville on Thursday night.
Not all touchdowns come on the first play of the game.
However, they all count the same.
SueSue threw for a 49-yard touchdown on the first play of the game and ran on another to help the Panthers secure their fourth straight victory in a 35-0 victory over the Warriors on Thursday night.
The Panthers (5-2, 4-0 Region 2) are still the winning team in Region 2, and SueSue is the main reason.
If a touchdown into a seam route against a cover-three defense in just two minutes of the game seemed easy, it’s the fact that Susu and wide receiver Semi Vairahhi, who scored fifth from the Panthers’ QB1 this year, played together. Think about it. For a long time — both in West and in his Para team, which last spring he was a 7-on-7 team.
“We called it, and we got lucky and it worked,” says SueSue. “I knew if Ceci caught it, he would do his thing. That’s what Ceci does.”
SueSue also had a touchdown and scored a 24-yard run with 1:59 left in the first quarter and the Panthers defense handled the rest. Ryder Masina and Taimane Brown each returned lengthy interceptions for touchdowns, and the defense added a safety to a quarterback sack in the third quarter to finish the shutout.
Between the two spots of quarterback and defense, the Panthers are looking to do big in the 6A state playoffs.
“This team feels very united since the first game of the season,” said SueSue. “I feel like I’ve put in a lot of time and effort. There’s still a lot to clean up, but it’s great to see the team coming together.”
The 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound junior starter, who had 1,087 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions by Thursday night, plus 419 rushing yards with six interceptions, I took command of the team that I participated in as a sophomore last year. Rallyed around them as starters and leaders.
“I think he’s become a better leader by dominating the team,” said West manager Orosar Solovy, who improved his career record with the Panthers to 26-13. “He’s worked very hard this offseason. He’s a humble kid, but he’s been very personally involved in a lot of competition.
“I’ve never seen anyone work harder than him. He knows he’s a humble man. Not many people talk about him. But in my opinion, I think is the best quarterback in the state.. Between his arms and legs, he’s just a tough matchup.”
In fact, SueSue was such a leader that the Taylorsville team asked the Panthers to join in prayer for an injured Warriors player who had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after being injured on his return to kickoff. The Panthers quarterback was the one designated to voice the prayer when approached about doing.
Even without an offer to play college football — SueSue is a fan of Utah, but Utes, like everyone else, is silent in his inbox — for him to help his opponent’s teammates. Leadership shone as he sought God’s bounty.
“We don’t often pray with the other team,” says SueSue. “It was sad, but I had to do it for him.”
Leadership is not always assumed, it is earned. And Su Su has earned the role of leader, his coach said.
“Even from last year, I think everyone understood what he could do. It was kind of a coming out party for us,” Solobi said. He controls his role and I think his leadership and humility attract other players around him.”