High school football teams throughout Cache Valley persevered through heavy rainstorms last weekend.
Ridgeline captured the Region 11 title outright — its first region championship in program history — with a 49-7 road victory over Logan. Meanwhile, Sky View outpointed visiting Green Canyon by a 20-7 scoreline in a game that came down to the final play.
Those two games were contested on Friday evening, as was Preston’s gratifying 32-0 triumph over district rival Century on Senior Night. The Mountain Crest-Bear River game was moved to Saturday afternoon and the Mustangs left Garland with a 28-14 win.
The Riverhawks (9-0, 5-0) rarely aired it out in the less-than-ideal conditions, but they sure were efficient when they did. Case in point: Kaden Cox completed 6 of 10 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns — a pair of them to Jackson Olsen, plus one apiece to Noah White and Braylon Majors.
The injury-plagued Grizzlies (5-4, 2-3) had no answer for White, who racked up 202 yards on 18 carries and found paydirt three times — two via the run.
Logan had some success moving the ball in the opening half, but Ridgeline’s defense was up to the challenge when the hosts entered or approached the red zone. Ridgeline’s Dillon May timed his break perfectly on a 56-yard interception return to the house.
The Riverhawks also blocked a 38-yard field goal and came through with a tackle for loss on a fourth-and-2 run inside the Ridgeline 40-yard line.
Ridgeline’s defense was led by Will Booth and Jaxen Hollingsworth. Booth paced the Riverhawks with 10.5 tackles, while Hollingsworth contributed with nine tackles, including 3.0 for a loss — 2.0 of which were sacks.
“Great win for our program,” RHS head coach Travis Cox said. “I thought our offense played great in the conditions and really carried us tonight. Defensively, we made some timely plays and were able to create some turnovers. Can’t say enough about these kids. They are a joy to coach.”
Alexander Tiew finished with 93 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Grizzlies, who trailed 28-0 at the half.
Indeed, there was no drama at Crimson Field, but there was plenty in Smithfield. The Bobcats (6-3, 4-1 region) had to make one final stand, and it got a little crazy.
The Wolves (7-2, 3-2), who have won five games by a TD or less, seemed to be on their way to possibly adding to that total. Green Canyon trailed 14-7 and got the ball back with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Sky View missed a 28-yard field goal into the wind and rain.
The Wolves marched inside the Bobcat 10-yard and was inches away from scoring, but SV nose guard Daxxon Dehek was able to tackle quarterback Jack Stephens. With just seconds left, Green Canyon hurried to the line. The snap trickled between Stephens legs and SV defensive back Cole Watterson scooped it up and went the other direction for a 98-yard TD.
“It was a dog fight,” SV head coach Christopher Howell said. “That is a 7-1 team (Green Canyon). They have found ways to win all year long. We just found a way to make one more play than they did. ... I’m always nervous when it’s a seven-point game. I’m proud of our guys.”
Conversely, it was a rough ending for the Wolves, who finished with 349 yards of total offense to the Bobcats’ 255, but were unable to capitalize on a few promising drives. Green Canyon did find paydirt on an explosive run by Gavin Christiansen in the first quarter. Christiansen racked up 131 yards on 21 carries.
“I thought we played well,” said GC head coach Craig Anhder, whose team got interceptions from Brody Hamann and Will Wheatley. “We moved the ball on them and held them a lot with our defense. Just two or three plays we don’t and we couldn’t finish some drives.
Sky View immediately answered with a 76-yard bomb from Garrett Zollinger to Davis Hall, who caught six passes for 119 yards and also picked off a pass on defense. Zollinger gave the hosts the lead for good with a scoring strike to Kimball Jackson at the 8:54 mark of the fourth quarter.
It was a great evening for Preston, notwithstanding the inclement weather. The Indians (5-2, 1-0) were balanced on offense, solid on special teams and outstanding on defense, and the end result was the program’s first shutout since a 35-0 victory over Ogden in 2016.
“Exciting night for the seniors in their last regular season game at home,” PHS head coach Eric Thorson said. “Great to get the win and now it’s time to look forward to reaching more goals this team has. Our defense played very focused and put our offense in great positions to score.”
Century (1-5, 0-1) was dominated by Ashton Madsen, who personally accounted for an astounding five turnovers for the Preston defense — one that absolutely stymied the visitors to the tune of four interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Madsen recovered two of those fumbles and picked off a trio of passes — one of which he returned 27 yards to the house. Davon Inglet also had an INT for the hosts.
Preston running backs Charles Iverson and Emery Thorson teamed up for 174 yards on 32 carries. Iverson scored on a short run, while teammate Tyler Lindhardt caught six passes for 139 yards and a pair of TDs. In addition to his contributions on offense, Emery Thorson pressured the Century quarterback into an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, giving the hosts a safety.
The Mustangs (2-7, 1-4) outscored the Bears (0-9, 0-5) 21-7 in the second half to earn a gratifying road victory. Mountain Crest got a long and a short scoring run from Preston Lofthouse, who also connected with Garrett Austin for a lengthy touchdown pass. Carson Olsen came through with Mountain Crest’s other TD on a short run.
Mountain Crest’s defense limited Bear River to one touchdown — a 15-yard pass in the third quarter. Bear River’s other trip to the end zone was courtesy of a 98-yard punt return by Wyatt Roberts in the second quarter.
The Mustangs held the Bears to 128 yards through the air and completely bottled up running back Alec Callister, who gashed Logan for 250 yards on the ground a few weeks ago. Callister had seven yards on four carries against Mountain Crest, which will travel to Maple Mountain for a Wednesday evening showdown.
Herald Journal sports editor Shawn Harrison contributed to this report