PLEASANT GROVE — It wasn't the prettiest game you'll see, but the Vikings will take it. The 13-0 win over Hunter may define what Pleasant Grove is this year.
"We're a smash-mouth type of football team," said PG lineman Brandon Fanaika. "We're a team that is going to win games in the trenches. In the second half, we started to open up those trenches and pull away."
Most of the first half could well be defined as a three-and-out fest as both defensive proved to dominate play.
Midway through the second quarter, the Pleasant Grove coaching staff opened up their playbook. Quarterback Paul Hatch started throwing the ball around, getting his team down to the 12-yard line with a 35-yard throw to senior Nate Sampson.
The drive was capped off with a 12-yard touchdown run by Cooper Caldwell.
Shortly after that Hunter was able to drive it down to the 1-inch line after a blocked punt. After a fumbled snap on 3rd and goal just inches from the end zone, Sampson was able to hurry Hunter quarterback Jairo Tarver into a failed fourth down attempt.
"We had a nice couple of goal line stands," said Pleasant Grove coach Dale Sampson. "We struggled a bit all night to get our feet under us and get our execution down, but I'll take a 14-0 victory. That's a nice thing to have for sure."
The Viking's final score came late in the fourth quarter on a completion of 35-yard pass from Hatch to senior wide receiver Skyler Munson.
The game featured two of the best linemen in the state with PG's Brandon Fanaika and Hunter defensive end Moses Folauhola.
Fanaika has nine Division I scholarship offers. Folauhola, meanwhile, took the first offer thrown his way by the University of Utah.
"Moses (Folauhola) is a beast," Fanaika said. "We watched film on him all week and prepared for him as best we could. He's so quick around the edges, and he's definitely one of the best linemen that I've gone against."
Fanaika saw a lot of work on both sides of the football playing guard on offensive and nose tackle on defense.9 comments on this story
"It's a bit tiring, but I love it," he said. "I just love to play football, and I love this type of a game. Both sides were really slugging it out, and I love that. Hunter has some great players up front, and I think I got better as a player tonight going against them."
Fanaika had a hectic summer sifting through all of his offers. Now that the season has started, however, he's just concentrating on finishing out strong as a Viking.
"It's all about the team and making this team the best it can be," he said.
"I'll think about recruiting when this season is over. We have a lot of great players, and I think we can go far this year."