HIGHLAND — Lone Peak quarterback Chase Hansen provided all the scoring his team needed by keeping the ball on the ground. But he also took to the air in the Knights' 30-8 win over Syracuse in the opening round of the 5A state playoffs Friday.
Hansen ran the ball 11 times and capitalized on two of them for touchdowns — both in the first quarter — and finished with 27 yards. He threw for 212 yards on 18-of-25 passing and had a touchdown and two interceptions.
"It's good to get the win, because we knew (Syracuse) is a very good team," Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary said. "I've got to give them a lot of credit, because there were some moments that momentum seemed to start to shift."
Undoubtedly those "moments" McGeary was referring to were the opening minutes of the second half. After Hansen's four-yard and five-yard touchdown runs in the opening quarter and a 25-yard field goal by Josh Edwards in the second quarter, that 16-0 lead looked like it was going to evaporate quickly.
Syracuse's Alex Vanderloo picked off Hansen's pass to end Lone Peak's first possession of the second half, and the interception gave the Titans a short field.
Four plays later, quarterback Tyler Jacobsen ran into the end zone from 14 yards out after it appeared he was initially stopped at the line of scrimmage.
Quickly getting the ball back, Syracuse (6-4) was looking to potentially tie the score when Jacobsen threw an interception of his own to the Knights' Chris Nielson in the end zone.
After a scoreless third quarter that featured another Hansen interception, Lone Peak (10-1) settled down and pitched a shutout in the final period.
"He got a little greedy there for a little bit," McGeary said in reference to Hansen's miscues. "We just needed to keep going underneath and not go for the home run."
In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Talon Shumway had a 24-yard touchdown run, and Hansen connected with tight end Zach Newman for a 5-yard score late in the game. Newman earlier had an interception.
McGeary was proud of how the Knights' defense stood up in the victory.
"The defense played well," he said. "(Syracuse) is awfully big up front, and we tried to take away the edges, so the middle was open a little. You've got to choose which one you'll take away, because you can't take both away."
Shumway ended with nine carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. Cameron Deere had four catches for 45 yards.