High school football: East Leopards run through Bountiful Braves, 47-13
Ravell Call, Deseret News
BOUNTIFUL — The East Leopards put an exclamation mark on just how good they really are as they dominated a solid Bountiful team 47-13 on the road Friday.
The win gives East sole possession atop the Region 6 standings and keeps the Leopards undefeated on the season at 7-0 overall (4-0 region), while Bountiful falls to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in region play.
"This means so much to come here and win this game," said Ula Tulutau. "Bountiful is a good team."
Tulutau knocked out another 100-plus yard running game and scored all three of East's touchdowns in the third quarter to put the Leopards up 34-7. It was a much different scene from the first half that featured more defense and a scoreless first quarter.
East posted the first points of the game with 9:40 left in the second quarter off a 12-yard scamper by Niel Robbins, and quickly tacked on another touchdown less than two minutes later after a Bountiful fumble to take a 13-0 lead.
But the Braves buckled down and held the Leopards scoreless the remainder of the half despite their own offensive woes after starting quarterback Jordan Hayes was knocked out of the game.
The floodgates soon opened, however, with East outscoring the Braves 34-13 in the final half and Bountiful committing three more turnovers.
"At halftime my coaches said I had to pick up my feet because they were trying to tackle my legs," said Tulutau. "That really seemed to help and I just kept running."
The Braves struggled to bring the running back down as he scored from 63 yards out on the first drive of the second half, and then tacked on his second score from six yards out after another Braves' fumble. The second set of back-to-back scores seemed to be the dagger to the heart as East jumped its lead to 27-0.
Tulutau and his teammate, Isaac Valles, led the way with the quarterback Valles outrushing his running back in the first half, highlighted by a 30-yard touchdown.
"It's really because of Ula (Tulutau) that I was able to do that," said Valles. "The defense focuses on him and our other backs so I'm then able to sneak my small self through the holes."
Valles also threw the ball more, something East coach Brandon Matich said his team has been doing more and more each week to open up the offense.
Both Valles and Matich said the key for Friday was stopping the turnovers that have plagued them.
"We've worked really hard on taking care of the ball the last two weeks in practice," said Matich. "I think we're getting better at it. I'm not going to say we're going to be great at it, but we're going to keep working at it. It was nice tonight to be on the positive side of the turnover margin tonight."
As good as the offense was, the defense wasn't too shabby either, though it did lose its streak of only allowing one or no touchdowns in every game this season after giving up a second in the final minute.
"We are really good at getting everybody to the ball," said East's Korey Rush. "We don't rely on one person, we can all get to the ball and do things."