NORTH LOGAN — Green Canyon’s three-headed rushing attack rolled over Tooele in its non-region football season opener Friday night, which the Wolves won 28-7.
The Wolves tallied 240 rushing yards on the night with two scores on the ground. Senior running back Brennan Dean accounted for 111 of that mileage, along with one of the rushing TDs. Quarterback Jake Lundin added 71 yards on the ground, plus a trip across the end zone and Dustin Gasaway ran for 68 yards himself.
All three carried the ball at least 10 times (Dean led the trio with 20) for a total of 44 attempts on an average of 5.5 per run.
“If you want to be good, you have to run the ball,” GC head coach Craig Anhder said. “Those guys were running hard, they were making plays, they were making guys miss. That’s a big part of being a successful team.”
Despite GC’s eventual dominance, it took the better part of the first quarter for the Wolves or Buffaloes to warm up on offense. The rust of the offseason showed as both sides fumbled the ball away on their respective first possessions.
Green Canyon linebacker Carter White forced the ball from Nukuluve Helu’s hands, which the Wolves recovered. Following that, Tooele’s Adrien Lovato strip-sacked Lundin and the Buffaloes fell on top of it.
Like the Wolves, Tooele couldn’t capitalize on their created turnover, but Green Canyon was able to put together the first competent drive of the game after the ensuing punt by the Buffaloes. Starting on their own 18, the Wolves drove the distance to draw first blood with 3:43 left in the first quarter on a 2-yard scamper by Lundin.
In the second quarter, GC had scoring drives of 80 and 70 yards. The first featured Dean running for 20 yards on three early carries, then Lundin threw the team home with a 25-yard strike to McKay Yorgason and an 18-yard loft to sophomore tight end Kyle Baker for the touchdown.
The latter TD drive of the second quarter came courtesy of a great defensive stand, which gave the Wolves a shot at a two-minute drill. A drill the team worked to near perfection. Lundin had a 29-yard run on the drive, which later set up his 14-yard touchdown connection with Yorgason.
Passing was hardly prevalent for either team (up until Tooele had to late in the game), but when the Wolves did pass, Lundin came through. The junior, who lined up primarily at wide receiver last year, completed 12 of 18 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He spread the ball around, connecting with five receivers — four WRs had at least two catches — led by Yorgason’s 58 yards on three receptions, including the second-quarter touchdown.
“I was so pleased with Lundin,” Anhder said. “He just wants to be there for his buddies, he’s a team player, he’s just wants this team to be successful and I loved to see that he could help with that success tonight.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Green Canyon orchestrated chaos in the Buffaloes’ backfield. White, Kayson Krebs and Jacob Regen combined for eight tackles for loss. They also held the Buffaloes’ run game to 3.1 yards per carry, significant considering the visitors ran the ball 35 times compared to 29 passes.
Stymieing Tooele’s run game was no easy task to prepare for. Their star running back, Helu, is a BYU commit standing 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds to call his own. Last year, Helu averaged 8.5 yards per rush, totaling 941 yards and 16 touchdowns on 111 carries. Helu carried the ball 28 times on Friday for 91 yards (3.3 per attempt) and zero touchdowns.
“We came into (the game), wanting to go after (Helu), make sure he didn’t get the ball as often,” Krebs said. “We shut him down tonight.”
“I’m so proud of them,” Anhder said of his defense. “They played hard. Those veteran linebackers stepped in and really led the team. Our D-line was in the backfield all night long. (Tooele) have a great quarterback, they have a great running back and we contained them. They made plays, they got yards, but we kept them in wraps and that was our goal, and (our players) did a fabulous job.”
Green Canyon has now won its season opener in back-to-back seasons. They will travel to face Bonneville next Friday. The Lakers lost their first game 27-21 to Hunter.