For the second time in as many seasons, the Ridgeline-Pine View showdown came down to the wire and, like they did a year ago, the Riverhawks earned a big win.
A clutch defensive stand in the red zone late in the fourth quarter was the difference as the Riverhawks held off the Panthers, 42-38, in a non-region football game Friday night at Westlake High School. Ridgeline also edged Pine View in the season opener for both teams last fall.
“Any time you have a win against a good, quality opponent like Pine View, you can find some good out of it, obviously,” Ridgeline head coach Travis Cox said. “Obviously, there is a lot that we can work on, but it’s always good to work on things after a win rather than a loss. But yeah, there’s a lot that we did at the end of that game that we can carry forward.”
Both teams traded touchdowns for two-and-a-half quarters before the Riverhawks scored 14 straight points to take a 35-21 lead with one minute remaining in the third quarter. The momentum was short-lived, though, because Pine View speedster Dominque Mckenzie returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards to the house.
Mckenzie also hauled in an 80-yard touchdown reception for the Panthers and finished with an impressive 211 yards on eight catches. Nevertheless, Ridgeline was able to put the clamps of Mckenzie and Pine View with the game in the balance.
“We played good defense when we had to, so that was really good to see,” Cox said.
It was a balanced offensive effort for the Riverhawks, who had six different players find paydirt. Ridgeline quarterback Kaden Cox tossed a trio of TDs — to three different targets — and Jaden Harris accounted for a pair of scores.
Jovesa Damuni (74 yards), Harris (66) and Evan Webb (33) scored on passes from Kaden Cox, who plunged his way into the end zone from 1 yard out in the second quarter. Harris also had a 2-yard TD run, and Noah White a 4-yard scoring run.
“That will be the key to our season,” coach Cox said of the balance. “I think we called a game where we really tried to figure out where we had some mismatches and we found them, and the kids executed great. Our guys made some plays, so it was key. We struggled a bit in the first half running the ball, and it was nice to get that going in the second half.”
Coach Cox was also very pleased with the performance of his veteran offensive line.
“I don’t think we gave up a sack all night,” he said. “A lot of good things happen when the O-line plays well.”
WOLVES 42, BUFFALOES 13
Green Canyon took the lead for good with a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half, and never looked back en route to blowing out Tooele on the road. The Wolves scored the final 35 points of the game.
“I think the biggest adjustment (we made) was just to settle down and take a deep breath,” GC head coach Craig Anhder said. “Our kids wanted to play hard, they wanted to play well and I think they were forcing things at first. And, you know, Tooele, give them some credit. They came out with a little trickery at first and they got us, and they got a big touchdown run. And our kids, we just kept playing and battling, and we felt like we could get things rolling, but it just took longer than we thought.”
Tooele burned Green Canyon on an 80-yard double pass on the first play from scrimmage, and again on a 58-yard pass on the opening play of the second quarter. Otherwise, it was a banner night for the Green Canyon defense.
“Our defense scored 16 points tonight,” Anhder said. “... Our defense, besides two plays, just really shut them down.”
It’s the first time the Wolves have scored twice defensively in a game in program history. Jake Lundin scooped up a fumble and returned it 18 yards to paydirt with 58 seconds remaining in the opening half, and Mason Anderson punctuated the win with a 96-yard pick-six late in the fourth quarter.
Green Canyon also recorded a safety thanks to back-to-back huge plays by sophomore defensive end Cordell Coats, who also caused the fumble Lundin brought back for a TD. Coats finished with a pair of sacks, while McKade Hellstern and Jackson Landon had one apiece. Jaxon Curtis paced a balanced defensive effort with five tackles — four of the solo variety.
Lundin completed 19 of 24 passes for 184 yards and a pair of TDs — a 6-yarder to tight end Kyle Baker and a 3-yarder to Jacob Regen. Regen led the Wolves in receptions (six) and receiving yards (90).
Landon Peterson rushed for 56 yards and two TDs on 14 carries. Peterson scored from 4 and 6 yards out, and Lundin chipped in with 53 yards on the ground.
“It was just a fun night,” Anhder said. “It was fun to be out playing football and really that’s the best thing that happened tonight is two teams got to play football. We didn’t get turned down because of COVID and it was great to see young men just enjoying life. Yes, it was special to win, but it was better to see everyone play.”
SKYHAWKS 34, MUSTANGS 8
A rough start proved to be too much for Mountain Crest to overcome at home against a good Salem Hills program. The Skyhawks, who went 11-2 a year ago and advanced to the 5A semifinals, amassed all 34 of their points in the opening half — 17 in each quarter.
Elijah Jackson got the Mustangs on the board with a 3-yard scoring run with 2:34 remaining in the fourth quarter. Mountain Crest signal caller Zeb Bensen converted on the ensuing two-point conversion when he scampered into the end zone.
“Yeah, we really can’t put ourselves into a hole like that in the first quarter, but I was proud of (my team) in the second half,” MC head coach Jason Lee said. “So that was one positive for the game is our guys didn’t quit and just roll over. They came out and fought.”
Another encouraging thing for the Mustangs as they blocked two kicks — one by Ty Wells.