High school football: Pleasant Grove outscores Kearns in debut of new Viking coach
As the last seconds of the game ticked off the clock, Viking fans, players and new head coach Les Hamilton began to celebrate their first game of the year with a 52-25 win over the Kearns Cougars.
"This is not going to be your daddy's football," said Mike Ross, new wide receiver coach, before the game. "We're teaching these kids things that were new to college football just a few years ago. And the kids are adapting very well."
When asked the difference between last year and this year, Viking Junior Zac Dawe said, "We are more disciplined, in better shape and more prepared."
That preparation was evident in Friday's game
The first quarter had the Vikings up 14-7 on the strength of two passing touchdowns from Viking senior quarterback Mike Anderson to senior wide receiver Skyler Munson. The first for 29 yards and the second for 52 yards. Senior Trevor Ward kicked both PATs.
The Cougars got on the board with an 83-yard scamper from senior running back James Felila and the PAT from sophomore kicker Joseph Whiting.
The second quarter belonged to the Cougars. They scored 12 unanswered points on two plays. One from senior quarterback Jordan Floyd and the second from Felila, but both PATs failed.
The Vikings caused one turnover during the second quarter — an interception by junior DB Spencer Romney — but Pleasant Grove couldn't move the ball. A highlight for Viking fans happened when senior RB Colton Babb came into punt the ball 73 yards, putting the ball into the end zone for a touchback. At the half, the Cougars led by five, 19-14.
During the third quarter, new head coach Les Hamilton turned up the heat. His quarterback/wide receiver combo scored three times: Two touchdowns and one 2-point conversion.
With less than a minute left in the quarter, Kearns quarterback scored on a 1-yard push, but the PAT was missed again.
On the ensuing kickoff, with 39 seconds left in the quarter, Romney caught the ball on the 4-yard line and ran straight up the middle and sailed into the end zone for the first kickoff return PG has seen in years.
The stadium was near hysteria, on both sides, when a flag was thrown: It was holding against the Vikings back on the Viking 35-yard line.
With 14.7 seconds remaining in the quarter, the Viking offense took the field and Anderson took the snap. Everyone expected him to take a knee and end the quarter. Instead, he spotted senior wide receiver senior Kolby Nelson cutting across the field — alone.
Anderson tossed the pass and Nelson hauled it in and didn't stop until he crossed the goal line 65 yards down field. Ward hit the PAT and at the end of three, it was PG by 10, 35-25.
Pleasant Grove seemed to own the fourth. The team scored 17 more points with combined efforts from kicker Ward and two passing touchdowns from Anderson to Babb and Munson. Ward ended up scoring eight points between a field goal and five PATs.
"This is a complete team win," Hamilton said. "Our offense followed our game plan and our defense kept their offense in check."
Pleasant Grove ended with 31 carries for 116 yards and 15 of 28 passing for 362 yards, a total of 478 offensive yards.
Kearns had 43 carries for 288 yards and completed 12 of 27 passes for 137 yards. The team tallied 425 yards of total offense. Felila, on his own, had 33 carries for 272 yards and two touchdowns. And Floyd had two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown.
Pleasant Grove's Munson had nine catches for 198 yards and five touchdowns. Babb had 20 carries for 105 yards. Anderson threw 15 of 28 passes for 362 yards and six touchdowns.
"If we can (continue to) play like we played tonight, we may win a few games this year," said senior defensive back Tyler Chatterton as he walked off the field at game's end.