PLEASANT GROVE — Both teams in Friday night's Brighton-Pleasant Grove Region 4 grind-it-out matchup implemented the same game plan. In the end, it was the Bengals who executed it just a little bit better.
"We knew it was going to be a very physical, tough-it-out sort of game," Brighton coach Ryan Bullett said after his team's 21-14 victory. "I'm just so excited that we made the plays when we needed them tonight."
In a well-played, disciplined game for both teams, points were at a premium for most of the night. After a scoreless first quarter, the teams traded touchdowns.
The Vikings then put together an impressive 11-play, 74-yard drive that spanned 2:46 and culminated with just 42 seconds left in the second quarter.
Vikings quarterback Zach Christensen was poised throughout the scoring drive, totaling 5-of-6 on passes for 76 yards. It was capped by a 32-yard touchdown catch by McKay Hartzell.
Pleasant Grove's offense again came through under pressure in the third quarter when, while facing third-and-22 after a holding penalty, Christensen found Jason West for a 27-yard reception that vaulted the Vikings into the lead.
But after putting up such a stiff defense against Brighton's offensive efforts all game long, Newell found a weakness, and all it took was one play to sting the Vikings for the rest of the night.
Newell's offensive line opened up a hole in the middle and the quarterback turned on the burners for a 78-yard touchdown burst just three minutes into the final quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
"We just ran a quarterback draw up the middle," Bullett said. "We've probably only run that about 10 times all year. It was the right play call and we caught them (Pleasant Grove) at the right time. For the rest of the game, it seemed like they were making the right defensive calls on us."
That seemed to deflate the Vikings, and after a three-and-out, the Bengals struck again for the final nail in the coffin. Following a 28-yard pass play to Zach Wertz, 6-foot-4 sophomore running back Uaea Mesina rumbled 15 yards into the end zone for the winning score.
With five minutes remaining, Pleasant Grove couldn't muster a game-tying drive, and ultimately fell short on 4th-and-five with three minutes left.
"This was a really big win for us," Bullett said, as his team improved to 5-3, 2-2 in Region 4, while Pleasant Grove dropped to 3-5 overall, 2-2 in region play. "I feel like we've got something going. We've got confidence, a passion for playing and some good team chemistry."
Newell finished the game 9-for-13 with 138 yards and a touchdown. On the ground he tallied 110 yards and a score on 11 carries. Wertz had 52 yards on just a pair of receptions.