Cedar Hills – The sights and sounds of homecoming were everywhere at Lone Peak, such as tailgating, a children’s bounce house and, of course, the homecoming royalty.
But perhaps nothing was more prevalent in the Knights' win over the Panthers than the amount of penalty flags tossed between West High (0-5) and Lone Peak (3-2). Twenty flags were thrown for 165 penalty yards.
Lone Peak came out firing. On its first series, quarterback Baron Gajkowski completed a 66-yard pass to Austin MChesney to register the Knights' first points. A blocked point after attempt however left the score at 0-6, Lone Peak.
The game then turned into a series of back-and-forth possessions with neither team capitalizing when they had the ball. West clearly controlled possession of the game clock in the first half due to a weakened defensive team on the Lone Peak side. West drove the ball up Lone Peak’s middle continuously, yet West couldn’t find the end zone until the second quarter. Lone Peak, however, was able to score one more touchdown before the half.
“We couldn’t squeeze," Lone Peak head coach Tony McGeary said. "Our defensive ends and tackles didn’t squeeze tonight they ran the option and executed it pretty well.“
McGeary went on to explain that they had some key personnel out, consisting of two big tackles and their starting linebacker. He felt pretty good that they were able to keep them to only seven points in the first half but acknowledged the penalties had to be cleaned up in order for the team to reach its potential.
Lone Peak had a chance to put the game away early but with the penalties the team had accrued hurt as the first half ended.
West had difficulty competing after some questionable play calling and seeing a failed attempt at a 50-yard field goal fall short and then picked up and nearly returned for a touchdown by Lone Peak's Austin McChesney; it was called back after he stepped out of bounds. In addition, West saw fumbles and an interception before their night was through.
In the second half though, it was West who scored first on a 74-yard run by Lorenzo Vaafuti. While they continued to take a lot of time off the clock due to their extended offensive play, poor execution would only allow them to find the end zone one more time in the final part of the fourth quarter but Lone Peak had already reached their final score.
West head coach Keith Lopati Jr. found a silver lining despite losing the game, and was happy with the physicality of play and effort from his players.
“We can only go up from here," he said. "We’ve been to the lowest of the lows, it’s now time to go up."
Chriss Anderson is a writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle and can be followed on Twitter: @Chriss_Am_I