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High school football: Lone Peak's defense shuts down Braves

Published: Friday, Aug. 20 2010 11:53 p.m. MDT

BOUNTIFUL — Exacting revenge became Lone Peak's No. 1 goal as the Knights prepared to face Bountiful in another season opener.

It did not sit well with Lone Peak to deal with memories of losing badly to the Braves on their home field a year ago. Everything that could go wrong in that game went wrong for the Knights.

They did not want a rerun of those memories this fall.

"We were extremely motivated after they came to our turf and really put a pounding on us," junior linebacker Austin Cloward said.

For Lone Peak, revenge was a dish best served defensively. The Knights held Bountiful to just 41 yards total offense in the first half and made some big defensive plays to withstand a late rally and escape with a 10-7 victory Friday night.

Field position favored Lone Peak throughout the first half, and the Knights moved the ball at will on the Braves. Lone Peak reached the red zone on three of its first four possessions.

Cashing those yards into points was a tougher matter. The Knights reached the Bountiful 9-yard line on their first possession, but a fumbled snap on third down led to Lone Peak settling for a 35-yard field goal from Josh Edwards and a 3-0 lead.

The Knights made another successful drive on their next possession but, once again, cost themselves with another fumble on the end of a would-be first-down run. This time, Jordan Parkinson recovered it at the Braves 6-yard line.

Lone Peak made up for that mistake on its final possession of the first half when it cashed in a short Bountiful punt with a six-play, 42-yard drive that ended in a 10-yard touchdown run by Chris Nielson and a 10-0 lead with 1:15 left before halftime.

Those first-half miscues cost some momentum, but Knights coach Tony McGeary was much more flustered by how flat the offense was after halftime.

Lone Peak mustered just 51 yards in the second half — compared to 187 in the first half — and repeatedly put the defense in tough spots.

"We were three-and-out too many times in the second half and kept our defense on the field way too long," McGeary said. "It's good work for them, but we've got to help them out offensively by keeping the drives alive and moving the ball and the chains."

Wear and tear on the defense showed when Dillon Salazar caught a short pass, got behind a couple of defensive backs and raced 86 yards for a touchdown that made it 10-7 with 5:37 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Knight offense gave the ball right back after consecutive fumbles forced Lone Peak to punt with 3:14 left. But the defense stepped up to the plate again. With Bountiful facing 3rd-and-5 from the Knight 43, and 2:10 to go, Cloward shot through the gap and sacked Cam Zollinger. The Braves quarterback lost eight yards on the play, and Lone Peak had effectively killed Bountiful's last drive.

The Braves turned the ball over on downs a play later.

"That was the game breaker right there," McGeary said. "Our defense won the game right there with that play."

Lone Peak continued the trend in this series of the visiting team claiming victory. It marked the fifth straight season in which the home team lost the game.

The Knights also feel some satisfaction from proving their defense can be as tough as any other top defensive team — including Bountiful.

Although the Braves did total 201 yards of offense by game's end, much of it came on the team's lone fourth-quarter scoring drive.

Bountiful managed just six first downs for the entire game and did not even move into Lone Peak territory for the first time until late in the third quarter.

"It was outstanding," Cloward said. "All of our players stepped up, and it was just a great effort by the whole defense."

EMAIL: jcoon@desnews.com

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