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.
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.