ridgeline woods cross football FOLLOW UP

Ridgeline’s Bridger Hammond (51) and Jaxen Hollingsworth tackle Woods Cross running back Jonas Nerdin on Friday in Millville.

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Through the first four weeks of Utah’s high school football season, there’s been nothing to suggest Sky View doesn’t have a legitimate chance to defend its 4A state championship.

For the second time in as many weeks, the Bobcats took it to a team from Idaho’s largest classification. Additionally, last Friday was highlighted by impressive performances from the Ridgeline and West Side defenses, and a gratifying road victory for Preston.

All seven Cache Valley high school programs were in action.

Sky View jumped out to a 47-0 lead less than five minutes into the third quarter en route to a 54-13 shellacking of Madison on the road. The Bobcats played on the same field they did the previous week in their 45-0 drubbing of Highland (Idaho) as part of the annual Rocky Mountain Rumble.

“First half we started really fast and then had a very mediocre second quarter,” said SV head coach Christopher Howell, whose teams increased its winning streak to 16. “We gave up some yards between the 20s, but we stiffened in the red zone and were able to get three INTs — one on an unbelievable catch by (defensive lineman) Evan Hall. We also had a blocked kick for our fourth turnover. Third quarter we played much better and were very efficient on offense, and created a number of big plays. We were able to play a lot of kids half of the third quarter and all of the fourth.”

Kason Carlsen threw three touchdown passes for the Bobcats, who rushed for four more scores — three by Walter Collins. Carlsen hooked up with Titan Saxton, Sam Thatcher and Isaac Larsen on scoring passes, and Thatcher’s was a bomb. Collins scampered 53 yards to paydirt to cap off Sky View’s 22-point third quarter.

Truman Moser sprinted his way to the end zone from 44 yards out for Sky View’s final touchdown less than one minute into the fourth quarter. Kasen Erickson booted a 43-yard field to give the Bobcats (4-0) a 18-0 advantage in the second quarter.

Linebacker Hunter Lewis had another monster outing for Sky View as he accumulated 20 tackles and teamed up with Hall to block the aforementioned field goal. In addition to Hall, Larsen and Kimball Jackson also picked off passes against Madison (0-2).

Ridgeline played on its home turf for the second consecutive week and breezed to another comfortable triumph over a 5A program. The Riverhawks (3-0) have only given up a combined 14 points in back-to-back wins over Farmington (45-7) and Woods Cross (24-7).

The Riverhawks limited the Wildcats (0-4) to 159 yards of total offense, including a measly 44 on 27 rushing attempts. Jaxen Hollingsworth and Peyton Knowles combined for five sacks and Ridgeline’s defense also got an interception from Owen Munk.

“It wasn’t pretty, but I thought defensively we played pretty solid,” RHS head coach Travis Cox said. “Offensively, we were just up and down. First down is killing us right now. They (Wildcats) are really good up front, so it was hard for us to get behind the chains. When we started well on first down, we did well.”

Ridgeline signal caller Kaden Cox completed 22 of 27 passes for 211 yards and a pair of TDs — both to Jovesa Damuni, who finished with five receptions for 103 yards. Damuni’s first scoring catch was a 20-yarder on a fourth-and-16 play.

“I was just one of the options,” Damuni said of the catch. “Strat Simmons was wide open as well. Kade was able to put a good ball on me. That is all credit on him.”

Jaden Harris rushed for a TD in the second half for the Riverhawks, who got a 25-yard field goal from Simmons. Noah White racked up 93 yards on 16 carries for Ridgeline.

West Side celebrated Homecoming by avenging its only loss from last season and the Pirates did so in dominant fashion as they blanked Snake River, 34-0. The 3A Panthers edged the 2A Pirates 7-6 in a game West Side dominated for the most part in 2019.

There was no heartbreak for the Pirates this time around as they increased their winning streak to 12.

Cristian Plancarte scored West Side’s first four touchdowns against Snake River (0-2), including two in the second quarter. Plancarte had a pair of short runs to paydirt, and hauled in scoring passing of 44 and 63 yards from Blaize Brown, who threw for 167 yards on 6 of 7 attempts.

Brown found Bryler Shurtliff on a short pass to the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter to cap off the scoring for the Pirates (2-0). Cage Brokens highlighted West Side’s rushing attack with 91 yards on 15 carries.

Taze Stegelmeier anchored another impressive defensive performance for the Pirates, who have only allowed six points in their two games this season. The senior recorded 13 tackles, forced a fumble, recovered one and broke up a pass. Brokens chipped in with eight tackles, including 2.0 for a loss, one sack and one fumble recovery for the reigning 2A state champs.

“Our kids were very focused and dialed in tonight,” WS head coach Tyson Moser said. “They executed a game plan that I wasn’t sure they could do. It was a full team effort and a great job by our defensive staff.”

Preston traveled to defending Wyoming 4A state champion Star Valley and left with a 34-15 win. Preston quarterback Brecker Knapp shined in his second varsity start as he passed for 289 yards and four touchdowns on 15 of 25 attempts, and a few of those completions were absolute dimes.

“Very fortunate night (for us),” PHS head coach Eric Thorson said. “The team was able to perform to the level we had been seeing in practice, but there is still a lot of growth needed.”

Cole Harris and Chevy Nelson snared a pair of touchdowns passes apiece for the Indians, and all of them went for at least 27 yards. Harris has amassed at least 125 yards receiving in each of Preston’s first two games.

Preston (1-1) trailed Star Valley 13-6 before scoring 28 unanswered points. The Braves (0-2) recorded a safety in the fourth quarter to avoid getting blanked in the second half.

Tait Rawlings powered his way into the end zone on a short run in the third quarter and also sparkled defensively for the Indians as he made a few jarring hits and finished with eight tackles. Rawlings and Charles Iverson teamed up for 91 yards on the ground for Preston.

The other three local teams will enter Region 11 play hungry to bounce back after losing in Week 4. Green Canyon was edged at home 16-14 by reigning 3A state titleist Morgan, Logan fell at Crimson Field to Highland (Idaho), 41-27, and Mountain Crest made a handful of big mistakes in a 42-14 road setback to 5A Bonneville.

Missed opportunities and turnovers proved costly for Green Canyon (2-2) against Morgan (1-2). The Wolves turned the ball over three times in the first half, turned the ball over on downs once in the red zone and had a potential game-winning field goal blocked in the final 30 seconds of the game.

A touchdown run by sophomore Gavin Christiansen early in the second quarter pared Green Canyon’s deficit to 14-7. The Wolves got as close as 16-14 on the final play of the third quarter when Jake Regen snared a 28-yard pass from Jake Lundin.

Lundin threw for 151 yards and rushed for another 101. Christiansen added 65 yards on 17 carries. Green Canyon was missing tailback Landon Peterson, who piled up 165 yards on the ground last Friday against Stansbury.

McKade Hellstern contributed with a team-high eight tackles for the Wolves, who finished with 5.0 sacks — by six different players — and a whopping 13 tackles for loss.

Mountain Crest (1-3) was knotted up with Bonneville 14-14 at halftime. However, the Lakers (3-1) were able to take control in the second half by scoring two defensive touchdowns and another on a blocked kick. The hosts also returned a punt to the house in the opening quarter.

Mountain Crest signal caller Zeb Bensen had back-to-back scoring runs in the second quarter. Back-up QB Preston Lofthouse spearheaded a Mustang drive inside the red zone in the waning seconds of the contest, but the visitors ran out of time.

“We just battled in the first half after making some real big mistakes,” MC head coach Jason Lee said. “Then, it continued in the second half with major mistakes and penalties. Our kids will bounce back. That’s why we play a preseason. All of our goals are still possible in region and state.”

Highland (Idaho) exploded for 21 points in the first quarter and never looked back against Logan (1-3). The Grizzlies did get as close as 24-14 early in the third quarter, but the Rams (2-1) scored the next 10 points to take control.

Logan quarterbacks Kody Kirk and Cooper Pond each tossed a pair of touchdowns. Kirk got banged up in the second half and the hosts “held him out as a precaution,” head coach Bart Bowen said.

Kellen Roper and Jaylen Sargent both snagged a pair of touchdown catches for the Grizzlies, and each of Sargent’s scores were on third-and-long plays. Kirk and Pond combined for 344 passing yards.

Matthew Mason tallied 18 tackles for the Grizzlies, who got 15 stops from Cameron Cottle and 4.0 tackles for loss — 2.0 of them sacks — from Kai Laing.

“We opened up the offense and threw the ball well,” Bowen said. “Both quarterbacks did a great job. Defensively, we struggled to tackle. We still have room to grow. It’s time to focus on region.”

REGION OPENERS

Region 11 play gets underway this week. Ridgeline will travel to Bear River (3-1), while Green Canyon will host Sky View, and Logan will square off against Mountain Crest at home.

Bear River battled back from behind and earned a hard-fought 26-22 victory over Box Elder last Friday in the 100th installment of the series — the Golden Spike Game.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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