Syracuse snaps Bees' shutout streak

Published: Friday, Sept. 7 2012 10:35 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — Box Elder's impressive shutout streak came to a sudden stop.

Syracuse's impressive winning streak did not.

The Titans ran their record to 4-0 on Friday afternoon, when they rode a strong performance by senior quarterback Brock Anderson and an opportunistic defensive effort that feasted on six critical Box Elder turnovers to sting the Bees 31-14 at Weber State's Stewart Stadium.

Anderson completed 14-of-19 passes for 191 yards and two first-half touchdowns — a 21-yard strike to Diante Mitchell and a 6-yard toss to Kiwa Mo'o — against a stingy Box Elder defensive squad that hadn't been scored on all season before Friday's battle of unbeatens. Anderson spread it around among six different receivers, with Jake Garver grabbing four receptions for 72 yards.

Anderson, who also kicked a 32-yard field goal and was 4-for-4 on PATs, said one of the Titans' goals was to end the Bees' string of shutouts.

"All week, we knew they hadn't given up any points and we wanted come out and give 'em three games worth of points in one," he said. "It was a motivation for us, but we came into this like we do every other game. "It's fun coming out here and winning and going 4-0 in preseason. It's good to go into region on that note. We're rolling and feeling pretty good. We need to clean up some things like penalties, but we can fix that."

Mitchell picked off a pair of Box Elder passes — the Titans had four interceptions in all, plus two fumble recoveries — and he returned one of them 34 yards for Syracuse's final score with two minutes remaining to play.

"Our defense has always been pretty strong, and I believe that's where a lot of our energy comes from — our defense right there," Mitchell said. "We're all hyped up and, although we didn't get it tonight, every game we go for a shutout, every game. "It was really fun. We came out here and got another victory. We're taking it one step at a time and now we just go into region play. We're excited to play Davis in Week 1."

Mitchell, too, admitted that snapping the Bees' shutout streak was on the Titans' minds.

"That was one of the main things our offense focused on was, everybody kept talking about Box Elder's defense is really good and they haven't been scored on all year," he said. "We came out and we were gonna put up big points on them like we did tonight, and that was our goal going into the game."

The Bees' scoreless skein came to an end early on, and set the tone for the entire game when they mishandled a punt and Syracuse's Dillon Spencer came up with the loose ball at the Box Elder 5-yard line.

The Titans' Mason Woodward punched it into the end zone from there with 7:45 showing on the first-quarter clock for an early 7-0 lead.

"That really helped set the pace of the game," Anderson said.

Box Elder (3-1) roared right back, however, as McKay Parrish hauled in a pass from Shad Watson and fought his way all the way down to the Syracuse 5-yard line. Kyler Allen took it in from there for the touchdown, and Parrish's PAT tied it at 7-7 midway through the first period.

But on the first play of the second quarter, Anderson hit Mitchell for a 21-yard TD pass, and Anderson's 6-yard TD toss to Mo'o made it 21-7 at halftime.

Box Elder's Jayk Brooks blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt by Anderson early in the third period. But early in the fourth quarter, Syracuse's Kavika Fonua swiped a B.E. pass attempt and returned it to the Bees' 24. A Titan touchdown got called back by a holding penalty, and Anderson eventually connected on his 32-yard field goal to make it 24-3 with 7:13 to play.

The two teams traded fumbles until Mitchell stepped in front of a Watson pass and returned it all the way back for a touchdown that extended the Titans' lead to 31-7 with two minutes to go.

Box Elder refused to quit and made the final score more respectable when Watson found Parrish for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 7.6 seconds remaining.

"I'm really pleased," said Syracuse coach Russ Jones, "but we've just got a lot of work to still do. We had too many penalties, and those are things we've got to clean up. But those are fixable things.

"We knew about (Box Elder's shutout streak) because it's always in the papers, how they had shut out three teams. We try not to get caught up in that, to be honest with you. We just wanted to come out and just prepare our game for them. I don't let 'em get carried away with that, I really don't. It's all about fundamentals and basics and keeping us in line for the next ballgame.

"Brock did a really good job," Jones said. "He's really smart and headsy and knows where he's got to be and knows where the ball's gotta go in certain formations and defenses and coverages. And Diante had a heck of a game with two picks and returned one of them for a touchdown. Now it's all region games from here on out, and as long as we stay healthy, we'll be all right. Our kids are playing really good, and it's a great group of kids."

email: rhollis@desnews.com

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