Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave
Heber City – After last weekend’s home opening loss to Timpanogos High School, the Wasatch Wasps were anxious to redeem themselves. They did just that this Friday night with a convincing victory over the Mountain View Bruins 28-3.
The home team made no secret of its desire to come out and make an early statement with a big defensive stand that culminated with a blocked punt. Senior tackle Brendan Edler, followed up his first quarterback sack of the season and first of four on the night, by blocking and recovering the kick that put the Wasps 1st and 10 inside the Bruins’ 20 yard line.
But the Wasps’ offense couldn’t measure up to that right away and fumbled on its first play from scrimmage when quarterback Zack Reiss was forced out of the pocket and yanked to the turf forcing the ball loose.
The black and gold defense came to play on Friday night and again shut down the Mountain View offense.
Once Wasatch got the ball for a second drive, Reiss drove his team down the field on the shoulders of tailback Hunter Pella and the Wasp’s offensive line. At 3:30 in the 1st quarter, Pella punched in the Wasp’s first touchdown—and first of the season, from three yards out. Skyler Southam booted the extra point and Wasatch was up 7-0.
That was all the home team could muster in the first half, however, as Mountain View found a way to keep the ball despite the dominating Wasatch defense. The aggressive Wasps were penalized several times on two different 2nd quarter Bruin drives which enabled the visitor to keep their offense on the field.
The Bruins, eager to capitalize on the Wasatch mishaps, could not make anything stick except for a 48-yard field goal from Thomas Redford at 6:07 that made the score 7-3.
Wasatch used a different offensive personnel package in the second quarter, replacing Reiss and Pella with Garrett Davis and Jon Durrant, respectively. The switch seemed to ignite the Wasps as they moved the ball swiftly yet came away with no more first half points.
Wasatch Head Coach Steve Coburn liked what he saw with the change at a couple of his top skill positions.
“Jon (Durrant) is a perfect change-up from Hunter (Pella),” explained Coburn. “It’s a perfect 1-2 punch. Jon’s going to use his speed to get outside while Hunter will grind out the yards on the inside. But really, either one of them can make a big play at any time,” Coburn said.
Coburn was happy with the play of his starting quarterback, Reiss, but wanted to give his sophomore back-up, Davis some playing time. “Garrett’s young,” Coburn said. “But we need to see if he’s going to be ready for us if that opportunity comes. It wasn’t anything about Zack, we just wanted to get Davis some reps. I have no complaints about either of my qb’s tonight. They played great, I thought.”
The early going of the second half looked much like the second quarter of the game. Mountain View showed it’s last signs of being able to foil the Wasp defense about midway through the period when they converted a fourth and ten from the Wasp 36 yard line with a 28-yard pass play that put them in scoring position.
That only seemed to anger the Wasp front lines as they pressured Bruin quarterback Jaren Flaker repeatedly, sacking him twice for big losses. Mountain View tried to salvage the opportunity with a Redford 28-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide to the left.
Wasatch, sensing an opportunity to seize momentum of the game, worked its way swiftly in the opposite direction. Reiss found receivers Kyler Cook and Zach Purdy for first down pickups getting the home team to the 35-yard line. Reiss then found senior Kayden Conner on the right flat with a pass that the big tight end took into the end zone with just over a minute remaining in the third period.
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