High School Football: Wasatch guts out first Region 8 win at Provo
PROVO On a soggy Friday the 13th, Wasatch High traveled down the canyon to pay a visit to new region partner, Provo High.
After two and half hours of gut-wrenching football, it was the Wasps coming out victorious with a 17-14 spoiling of the Bulldog’s Homecoming.
In a game that looked like the visitor was going to dominate right off the bus turned into a nail-biter as the Wasps had to use defensive stand after defensive stand to hold off the hungry Bulldogs.
Wasatch kicked off to start the game, which began under clear skies after a mighty rain had fallen just hours before. On the third play from scrimmage, Wasatch’ Carson Lawintercepted a Provo pass giving the Wasps first and ten from the Bulldog’s 14-yard line.
With less than a minute expired, Wasatch senior quarterback Zack Reiss zipped a pass to tight end Kayden Connor on its first play and the Wasps were on the board. Skyler Southam added the extra point making it 7-0.
Provo could get nothing going on its second series and was forced to punt putting Wasatch inside their own 20. Sensing the chance to go for the kill, the Wasps’ went deep. Reiss again found Connor on the right sideline and the big receiver broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown.
The play was nullified, however, on a holding penalty downfield.
“The block happened right in front of me—I saw it,” Connor said. “It was perfect. I don’t know what the ref saw.”
Despite being only half way through the first quarter, that play being taken off the board by the officials set a tone for the game Wasatch would have a hard time recovering from.
Provo was able to work its way deep into Wasatch territory and eventually down to the one-yard line. But on the next play, Wasp linebacker, Tag Baxter, would rush through the middle and sack the unprotected Provo QB forcing him to fumble. Baxter scooped up the loose ball and rumbled towards midfield before being dragged down at his team's own 40-yard line.
Wasatch took control of the ball and started a drive that eventually stalled at the Bulldog 17-yard line. The Wasps couldn’t find the end zone, but added three points on a Southam 34-yard field goal with 2:10 remaining in the first frame.
Provo, behind quarterback, Viliami Iongi, began to find a little rhythm and put together a time consuming drive that ate up over half of the second quarter. Provo would not miss this opportunity, however, once reaching the one-yard line. Iongi took the ball over the goal line on a sneak and after kicker Jonah Higgenbothamadded the PAT, the Bulldogs had moved to within three points, 10-7.
During that drive, both teams were penalized repeatedly, Wasatch was flagged five times during that plodding march down the field and 13 times in the game for a total of 104 yards.
“Penalties? That’s just life,” Wasatch head coach Steve Coburn said. “I don’t like them, and yes there was too many being called out there from those guys. I just wish a few would go our way sometimes.”
Wasatch showed offensive life in the remaining minutes of the first half moving the ball into Provo territory and into the red zone. After a couple of misfires into the end zone, Reiss, hit receiver Ben Hill on a slant up the middle with 51 seconds left. After Southam’s kick, Wasatch took a 17-7 lead.
The Bulldogs tried for a last minute score pushing the ball into Wasp territory, but Nick Piscitelli intercepted an Iongi pass to stop the threat.
The second half was a true defensive battle. Wasatch, receiving the kick-off to the third quarter and hoping to come out strong fell flat with a three and out.
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