AMERICAN FORK — Zach Katoa and Riley Smith each rushed for two touchdowns as American Fork came from behind to surprise Riverton, 28-25, in the Cavemen’s homecoming game Friday night.
The Cavemen fell behind early as they gave up two touchdowns late in the first quarter. Cameron Christiansen put the Silverwolves on the scoreboard with a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:55 left in the quarter and then Keaton Kimball added another TD with 1:09 to go in the first — this time from 51 yards out.
Riverton unsuccessfully elected to go for the two-point conversion after both touchdowns, which left the Silverwolves with a 12-0 lead at the end of the quarter.
Jade Luker picked off a Connor Henderson pass for the Cavemen a minute into the second quarter. Add on 15 yards for a face-mask penalty, and American Fork had first-and-10 from the Riverton 18. Four plays later Katoa ran the ball into the end zone from the 4 to pull the Cavemen back to 12-7.
Just before halftime the Cavemen drove the ball from their own 28 to the 6 in less than two minutes. Riley Smith then scored with 1:10 left in the half to put American Fork ahead 14-12.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Paden Cayias had two gigantic running plays that drove Riverton from its own 20 to the end zone with 12 seconds left in the half. Another failed two-point conversion left Riverton with an 18-14 lead at the break.
The Cavemen came out in the second half with a little trickery as they successfully attempted an onside kick that gave them possession on the Riverton 40. A few plays later Katoa found the end zone again from the 8 to give American Fork the lead back, 21-18.
Riverton answered quickly again as Simeon Page scored on a 25-yard rushing touchdown. The drive was made possible in large part because of another 20-yard Cayias run that flipped the field position in the Silverwolves' favor. It was the final TD for Riverton and gave the Silverwolves a 25-21 lead with 7:32 remaining in the third.
The first play of the fourth quarter found American Fork punting. A big hit at midfield by the Cavemen forced a fumble on the kick return, however, and Hayden Bowden was able to recover the ball for American Fork. Two minutes later Smith was scoring the winning touchdown from 1 yard out.
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The Silverwolves had two more chances to score, but just couldn’t get it done. The first chance came during a six-minute drive that saw a touchdown run by Kimball from midfield called back for holding. Cayden Jones later moved the ball down inside the 10, but a dropped touchdown pass and an unsuccessful 29-yard field goal attempt left the Silverwolves empty-handed. There was a final desperate possession with a little less than two minutes remaining, but Riverton turned the ball over on downs at midfield.
The win gives American Fork a 3-1 record, which equals its win total from all of last year. Riverton falls to 3-1 in this first region game for both teams.
Drew Daniels is a Utah County native and has covered local sporting events for several news organizations including the Deseret News since 1988.