HYRUM — Westlake handed Mountain Crest an early exit from the 4A state playoffs 23-14 Friday afternoon.
Down two scores late in the game, Mountain Crest quarterback Eddy Hall connected with senior wideout Braden Fuller for a 90-yard touchdown pass to bring the Westlake lead down to 21-14.
The Mustangs forced a punt on the following drive, but Westlake quarterback and punter Joshua Sorensen pinned the ball on the 1-foot line. A Mustang penalty on the next play resulted in a safety and put the game out of reach at 23-14.
"I never want to give an offense like (Mountain Crest) the ball back," Westlake head coach Jason Walker said. "We got lucky. Our guys were bringing pressure all day and they got the holding penalty. That helped up out with that safety."
Westlake opened the scoring in the first quarter. Mustang junior returner Fiamafili Laulu Pututau muffed a punt and senior defensive back Jeff Collier jumped on the loose ball to retain possession for the Thunder.
The Mountain Crest miscue set up an eventual 1-yard touchdown run by Daniel Nugent to put the Thunder up early, 7-0 with 6:50 left to play in the first quarter.
Then in the second quarter, Westlake forced a Mountain Crest fourth down, but Hall ran a fake all the way to the Thunder 29-yard line. Several plays later, senior Joseph Carlson evened the score on a 3-yard touchdown run with 6:32 to go in the half.
"It feels so good," Sorensen said of the win. "It's a team effort. We've been working hard. They're a good team and we just came together as one and we got it done."
Sorenson took over the game in the third quarter with a pair of deep touchdown passes. With 6:26 to go in the quarter, he connected with senior receiver Spencer Brown to go up 14-7.
"He's battled hard all year and he keeps getting better and better," Westlake head coach Jason Walker said of his quarterback. "Quarterback's not his natural position, so that's something we've asked him to pick up this year and he's done a good job. Hats off to him."
Sorensen's second touchdown pass came just under six minutes later on a 61-yard bomb to senior Austin Morgan to give Westlake the two-score lead.
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Sorensen helped the Thunder gain 274 total offensive yards.
"Our guys did a great job of film study this week and I think that was the difference," Walker said. "I thought they executed great today."
Mountain Crest head coach Mark Wootton said his team won't look back with regrets.
"Most of these kids on this team were able to play in the state championship game," Wootton said. "They wanted to get back there about as bad as everybody else."
Westlake will next face the winner of the Timpview and Woods Cross game.