KEARNS — The Kearns High football team came within eight-tenths of a second and a 41-yard field goal of starting its season with a victory.
Pleasant Grove kicker Trevor Ward apparently had other plans.
Ward scored the game's final six points as the Vikings stole the game, winning 13-10 in overtime.
Vikings coach Dale Sampson said he was proud of his team's two-minute offense, which showed it was ready for battle on opening day.
"To have them take the ball down field and kick that field goal is really a tribute to them," Sampson said. "Tying it up was key."
The Pleasant Grove shot at victory almost came up short.
Trailing 7-3 with 8:17 to play in regulation, the Cougars took the ball at their own 21. Kearns muscled the ball to the Vikings 49 with just over six minutes to play.
Kearns next committed a false start penalty, threw an incomplete pass and suffered a delay of game penalty before deciding on a gutsy call.
Quarterback Justin Summers faked a run to his left, the defense bit, and Summers found an open Peter Magala, running right. Magala beat out the defense and danced 46 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 Cougars lead with 2:32 to play.
Pleasant Grove took the ball at its 20. The Vikings took 14 plays to move the ball to the Kearns 24. With six seconds to play, the Vikings went for the win as quarterback Paul Hatch threw an incomplete pass to the end zone.
He looked to the scoreboard to see 0.8 seconds remaining, and Ward hit home the 41-yard game-tier as time expired.
In overtime, Kearns had the first possession. The Cougars took advantage of a pass interference call to move to the 9. But on second-and-goal from the 9, James Felila fumbled and Vikings defensive lineman Daniel Arias fell on the loose ball.
Pleasant Grove moved the ball to the 9 in five plays and Ward kicked a 26-yarder to give the Vikings the win.
Kearns coach Bill Cosper said he expected a better performance from his team.1 comment on this story
"It should never have been what it was," Cosper said. "We had eight returning starters. We should have been able to score more than 10 points. I'll take the blame for that."
While commending the Vikings, Cosper said he hopes this game taught his team something.
"We have to learn how to finish the game," Cosper said. "This is my sixth year and we still haven't learned how to do that. Hopefully this will be a learning experience for us. I'm just disappointed that we didn't win the game."
"It was one of those games where both sides had a chance," Sampson said. "It could have gone either way. I have a lot of respect for Kearns. We were just one field goal better."