5A high school football: Lone Peak Knights don't quit in return to semifinals
Ben Brewer, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Lone Peak made a habit of fighting back from deficits and pulling out close wins this season, but in the end Jordan proved too much during the 5A state football semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The Knights fought back after falling behind 15-0 early, but great quarterback play from super sophomore Austin Kafentzis and a monster Beetdigger offensive line proved too much.
Despite falling short, Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary held his head high along with his assistants and players following the game.
"As much as we got out of these kids — I'm just so proud of them and all the effort they put in," said McGeary. "They believed in what we were doing and we gave them everything we got and they gave us everything they got and we got all the way (to the semifinals) … we're very hopeful for the future."
Lone Peak overcame a lot this year to get back to Rice-Eccles Stadium, starting with having to replace 5A MVP Chase Hansen. Junior quarterback Baron Gajkowski stepped in admirably — providing a lot of the dual-threat play that Hansen did a season ago.
Its defense also had to overcome the loss of not one but two defensive coordinators during the season. Former BYU great and Outland trophy winner Jason Buck finished out as the defensive coordinator, and the team responded.
Although the defense allowed 35 points to Jordan, that total proved to be tied for the high-powered Beetdiggers' second-lowest output of the season, but it was 21 points too many. Fronted by a massive offensive line, Jordan finished with 469 yards and limited Lone Peak's scoring opportunities with time-consuming long drives.
"That's a monster offensive line, and they're coached so well," said McGeary. "They played a great game and just got it done. That's a great team right there — there's no shame in losing to a team like that. They were the better team."
Lone Peak also proved to be a good team despite the loss — a team that is quickly establishing itself as one of the state's premier programs. Following the loss, coaches encouraged their players to hold their heads up for what they'd accomplished this season and in their careers.
"Our kids showed a lot of heart and didn't have any quit in them," said McGeary. "We got shell-shocked at first, but we came back, got a couple of scores and took some pressure off our defense. Our defense played better in the second half and only gave up one touchdown, but unfortunately we didn't have quite enough to fight back all the way."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: BrandonCGurney
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