Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
OREM — There was a lot riding on Orem's final home game of the season, the most important of which was sole possession of second place in Region 8 going into the final game of the season. Both teams came into the game with identical 4-1 region records.
The Tigers controlled the Golden Eagles defensively and pressured them all game long offensively with a no-huddle offense that resulted in a 39-19 win Wednesday night.
"I thought we obviously played well to come out with a win in a game like this with playoff implications," said Orem coach Tyler Anderson. "Maple Mountain was 7-1. They're a good team. I thought our kids came out ready to play in the first half and were able to keep it going in the second half. We had a few miscues in the second half that we need to be sure and clean up, but I was pleased with the way we played tonight."
Orem's Taylor Camp led the Tigers with 19-of-27 passing for 295 yards and three touchdown passes. Tyler Valdez and Nolan Gray were Camp's main targets. They finished with 84 and 167 reception yards, respectively, with Valdez catching two touchdown passes and Gray the other. Sophomore James Wadsworth ground out the rushing game with 109 yards on 25 carries.
"Our offense is pretty potent if we have things running," said Anderson. "They ran the ball so we didn't get a whole lot of possessions. Our offense played well and our defense played a great game too. We scored a defensive touchdown there at the end that really sealed the deal."
That defensive touchdown was by Isaiah Fiso who intercepted Maple Mountain's KJ Hall in the waning minutes of the game and scored from 32 yards out.
Orem took the early lead after recovering a Maple Mountain fumble on the Eagles' first possession. Four plays later, Camp connected with Valdez for the 6-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles responded just before the end of the first quarter when Cole Casper got loose at midfield and scored on a 51-yard rushing play. The extra point by Tanner Dayton put Maple Mountain up 7-6.
There were several key defensive plays in the second quarter for the Tigers. The first one was a fourth-and-1 play where the Tigers held and forced the Golden Eagles to turn the ball over on downs. That led to a 6-yard touchdown run by Danny Balser that gave Orem the 12-7 lead.
Orem scored again with just under four minutes remaining in the half on a Camp to Valdez pass from 22 yards out to take an 18-7 lead.
Two minutes later, the Golden Eagles had another chance for a drive to narrow the lead before halftime, but Jeremiah Smith forced a fumble that was recovered by Alfeleti Tuuhetaufa at the Maple Mountain 20. Orem took advantage of the turnover with Camp running the ball into the end zone from the 3 with only 19 seconds remaining to give the Tigers a 25-7 lead at the half.
Maple Mountain's Jake Mafi did catch a 10-yard touchdown pass from KJ Hall early in the fourth quarter to narrow the lead to 25-13, but that was as close as they would get.
Defensively, the Tigers were led by Luke Steele, who had six tackles and six assisted tackles.
"We're headed the right way with some momentum going into the playoffs," said Anderson whose team improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the region. The Golden Eagles fell to 7-2 overall and 4-2 in region play.