HIGHLAND — Despite leading nearly the entire game, Lone Peak found itself suddenly behind Riverton, 28-27, and in danger of ending its season with only three minutes remaining.
It was at that point quarterback Chase Hansen hoisted the Knights on his shoulders and carried them to a 33-28 victory in the quarterfinals of the 5A playoffs.
Hansen scrambled 64 yards on the first play from scrimmage after falling behind. Two plays later he dove over the goal line from four yards out to reclaim the lead and ultimately win it for the Knights.
Lone Peaks' defense immediately responded by stopping the Silverwolves on four straight passing plays and kept them from advancing the football when they needed to most.
"Chase Hansen led us down and just did a fantastic job. He didn't get rattled," said Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary.
Only five minutes before, Lone Peak had led the Silverwolves 27-14 after Talon Shumway had run it in from 17 yards out. The touchdown was setup by a 59-yard pass completion from Hansen to Chris Nielson.
Riverton responded with a decisive drive that chewed up 80 yards and over six minutes and resulted in a six-yard touchdown run by Eric Thoreson that pulled the Silverwolves to within six at 27-21. Tua Laei had 32 of his game-high 211 yards rushing on the drive.
The ensuing kickoff could have been the deciding factor in the game were it not for Hansen's heroics. Nielson took a huge hit on the kickoff and fumbled the ball to Riverton's Tyler Larson at the Lone Peak 26. Riverton converted on a fourth-and-three at the 18, and it scored on fourth-and-one from the six on a run by Skyler Fullmer to put the Silverwolves ahead 28-27 and set up Hansen's stunning, game saving runs.
"The turnover on the kickoff return was huge," said McGeary. "A senior did it and, bless his heart, he was trying to do the best he can, but I can't say enough about the resilience of coming back and getting our offense in great scoring position and the big plays that we made offensively."
In the first half, Lone Peak took the early lead on its first possession. They drove 68 yards in just over three minutes before Hansen scored on a 22-yard run.
Riverton tied the game at 7-7 when Laei broke lose up the middle on a fourth-and-3 play on the Lone Peak 44. That was one of two long runs for Laei.
Just before halftime Hansen capped another long, 80-yard drive with a 10 yard run to give the Knights a 14-7 lead.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter with Hansen connected with Cameron Deere from seven yards out and then Laei got loose for an 89-yard touchdown run to pull within six at 20-14.
The Knights improve to 11-1 on the season with a nine-game winning streak while the Silverwolves fell to 10-2 with their only losses coming to Lone Peak and Bingham.