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High school football: Bountiful tops Spanish Fork using defense, Teau Satuala

Published: Friday, Aug. 27 2010 11:10 p.m. MDT

Bountiful's Teau Satuala tries to break a tackle from Spanish Fork's Sean Leifson.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

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SPANISH FORK — When Bountiful football coach Larry Wall needed someone to spark the Braves' stagnant offense Friday night, someone who could grind out some yardage and get a few first downs, he surprisingly turned to one of his defensive stars — junior middle linebacker Teau Satuala.

Satuala, who didn't have one carry in the first half as the Braves fell behind 7-0 to the Spanish Fork Dons, ran 14 times in the second half for 95 yards.

Those are by no means jaw-dropping numbers. But considering the Braves had only 71 total yards in the first half, and 27 of those came on a fake punt, Satuala's second-half power allowed Bountiful to gain some timely first downs and control the clock. More importantly, he helped the Braves grind out a 10-7 comeback win.

"I was looking for something to add some life to our game, and I thought he really turned out to be the difference," Wall said.

Actually, credit for the Braves' win can go to several places. The defense stopped Spanish Fork from scoring on three red-zone possessions, including two first-and-goal situations. The leg of Jason Holmes, who kicked a go-ahead, 45-yard field goal in the third quarter, turned out to be the difference in the game. A very timely pass that caught the Dons off guard and resulted in Bountiful's only touchdown also was crucial. Finally, the Dons helped out the Braves out by shooting themselves in the foot several times.

"We just didn't execute," Spanish Fork coach Matt Christensen said. "We had chances to score and didn't do the things we needed to do to get the ball in the end zone. We just made way too many mistakes."

The Dons threatened early when quarterback Hayden Nielsen hit Travis Still tiptoeing down the left sideline for a 73-yard gain to Bountiful's 3-yard line before they ended up having to settle for a 27-yard field-goal attempt that barely got off the ground.

"I really have to give our defense some credit," Wall said. "It would have been real easy for us just to give in and let them score right there, but we battled and didn't give in."

On Spanish Fork's next possession, Nielsen found Still down the left side again, this time for a 31-yard TD strike. In the 80-yard drive, Nielsen was 5 of 5 for 78 yards.

It appeared the Dons were going to tack on more when Bountiful punter Cam Zollinger bobbled a long snap in the rain and was sacked on the 12-yard line by PJ Inoke.

The Braves, however, sacked Nielsen for a 14-yard loss and then forced three consecutive incomplete passes. But Bountiful couldn't get anything going on offense.

The Braves caught a break on their first drive of the second half when the Dons chased Zollinger out of bounds for what would have been a fourth-and-5 situation, but a late hit gave Bountiful a first down. Two plays later, on a perfectly executed play-action, Zollinger faked a handoff up the middle and hit Tyler Poppe over the middle for a 13-yard TD to tie it.

On Bountiful's next possession, after a 38-yard run by Satuala put the Braves inside Dons territory, Holmes drilled a 45-yarder through the uprights for a 10-7 lead.

"I think we were right at his limit, but he came through," Wall said of his reliable kicker.

Spanish Fork, early in the fourth, advanced down to Bountiful's 7-yard line and was threatening to regain the lead. But two stuffed runs and a sack forced the Dons into a fourth-and-goal from the 9, and the Dons failed to convert once again.

"Our defense came up really big for us tonight," Wall said.

e-mail: jimr@desnews.com

SPANISH FORK — When Bountiful football coach Larry Wall needed someone to spark the Braves' stagnant offense Friday night, someone who could grind out some yardage and get a few first downs, he surprisingly turned to one of his defensive stars — junior middle linebacker Teau Satuala.

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