HERRIMAN — The Herriman Mustangs took the approach that many thoroughbred horses apply Tuesday night in the 4A play-in game against Springville.
They didn't take long to get out of the gates.
The Mustangs galloped to 23 first quarter points and scored on the first play of the second quarter to put the game well out of reach and eventually advanced to the first round, 44-22.
"I think we had a great short week of preparation and all of the credit goes to our assistant coaches," Mustangs coach Larry Wilson said. "They did a phenomenal (job) in preparation for these kids — had them ready to play. Springville is a senior team, with a lot of experience and injuries and adversity this year."
The win marks the second consecutive season the Mustangs have earned a berth in the state playoffs after making the first round last season in its inaugural year.
Herriman, however, now has the daunting task of preparing for top-ranked and unbeaten Logan on a short week.
"We just go back and start working tonight. We'll get our kids well prepared," Wilson said. "We have a coaching staff that puts in the time. We've got a huge challenge. There's no question that Logan is a great football team. For us to go up there on a short week is going to be huge, but that's what sports are all about."
On the first drive of the game, Herriman (8-3) embarked on a seven-play drive that covered 59 yards and culminated with a 29-yard scamper by Francis Bernard.
The ensuing possession, quarterback Tueni Lupeamanu broke loose on a delayed draw for 62 yards to the Springville three-yard line. The following play, Bernard plunged in for his second of three scores on the night to put Herriman up 15-0.
The rushing success became the story of the night. Herriman's offensive line was able to open up huge holes for the backfield as the Mustangs piled up 256 yards on the ground in the first half alone.22 comments on this story
"Really impressed," said Wilson of his line's play. "We struggled and had to make some changes during the year with some injuries and kind of took a step back for a couple of games. The last couple of games we're starting get that chemistry and continuity with the offensive line. I'm very, very pleased with it."
Herriman's Thad Hay hauled in an errant pass on the following Springville drive to give the Mustangs the ball close to midfield.
Six plays later, Lupeamanu floated a 24-yard pass over two defenders in the corner of the end zone to Gabe Ruflin and within the first three drives, Herriman already had established a 23-0 lead.