High school football: Salem Hills rolls over Juab to stay unbeaten
The Brothers Grimm, may have been two brothers who became famous for writing magical fairytales such as Cinderella and Snow White. Fridy night in Salem, “The Brothers Grimm” took on a whole new meaning for the Juab Wasps as brothers Gunnar and Porter Gustin connected for three touchdowns making it a very “grim” night for the Juab football team who lost to the red hot Skyhawks of Salem Hills 41-21 in what Porter Gustin described as a “very rough game”. The win elevates the Skyhawks record to an impressive 3-0 start on the year and they don’t look to be cooling off anytime soon.
Led by quarterback Porter Gustin, who finished the night with over 300 passing yards on 12 of 24 attempts, 1 interception, and 3 TDs, along with 100 yards on the ground with one rushing TD, the Skyhawks came out with guns blazing. They scored on their first possession on a 60-yard strike from Porter Gustin to Gunnar Gustin putting the Skyhawks up 7-0. Just minutes later Salem Hills struck again with a long bomb from one Gustin to the other once again, ending the quarter at 14-0 for Salem Hills. Meanwhile, Juab coming off a 2-0 start to the season, struggled to get something going offensively and did not register a first down until 1:38 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw a momentum shift and it was all Juab, executing their trademark read-option offense with precision. With 9:36 left in the second quarter the Wasps punched one in on a short run and then managed to do it again from the 5-yard line at the 4:44 mark to tie the ballgame at 14 going into halftime.
The Wasps continued to carry the momentum after halftime until the Skyhawks crossed the goal line on a 5-yard carry by Isaac Parrish halfway through the 3rd, giving Salem Hills the 21-14 edge. But it didn’t last long, just minutes later Juab evened the score again at 21 with another rushing touchdown.
Salem Hills finally took the lead for good when Gunnar Gustin caught his third and final touchdown pass of the night with 1:25 left in the third quarter to make it 28-21 for the Skyhawks. The Wasps were threatening to score again with less than a minute to go in the third quarter, which would have tied the game at 28. But their efforts were thwarted by a spectacular play by Salem’s Tim Fleming who caused a fumble, scooped up the ball, and scrambled into the end zone for a touchdown increasing Salem Hills lead to 14.
With tensions mounting and tempers flaring, the fourth quarter was marked by penalties for big losses on both sides of the ball as it became a brutal, in-the-trenches, defensive slog. Possession went back and forth until 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter when Salem Hills sealed the deal with yet another spectacular play by Fleming who again stripped the ball, causing a fumble. That led to the final touchdown of the night when Porter Gustin scrambled out of the pocket and sprinted 15 yards into the end zone making the final score 41-21.
It made for the perfect ending to a fairytale night of fantastic football written by “The Brothers Gustin” and their great supporting cast of receivers in Ammon Fifita and Zac Zobell who both came up big tonight for the Skyhawks offense. Additionally the tenacious and steady Skyhawk defense made several crucial stops that ultimately proved too much for the Juab offense to overcome.
“When we went into halftime tied at 14 I told the team that they had a choice. If they played as hard as they did in the first quarter we would win this game and cherish this night for a long time to come," said head coach Joel Higginson.
"If they did not come out fighting with all they had the second half, we would lose the game and they'd always regret it. They obviously made the decision to give it all they had. Now they have something to cherish. I couldn’t be more proud of these boys.”