High school football: Dominant defense leads Woods Cross past Bountiful
BOUNTIFUL — All week Woods Cross heard about how last year’s victory over rival Bountiful was a fluke, and that there was no way it could do it again. Wrong.
The Wildcats came out and played dominant defense on Friday night, and then did just enough offensively to spoil Bountiful’s homecoming with a 22-14 victory.
“We played awesome defense. I can’t say enough about our guys defensively. They’re the heart and soul of our team. We just battled,” said Woods Cross coach Justin Spencer.
With the victory, Woods Cross improved to 2-1 in Region 6 and is still very much alive in the region race. A couple of big plays helped make it all possible.
The Wildcats scored on an 80-yard touchdown pass on their first offensive play and then on a 96-yard kick return shortly before the half — big plays that helped offset a tough night offensively.
Realistically though, those big plays were all the Wildcats needed.
Woods Cross’ defense limited Bountiful to just 175 yards of total offense, and then got two big stops in the fourth quarter after the Braves trimmed the lead to 22-14 late in the third.
The victory was Woods Cross’ second straight over Bountiful after enduring a 23-year losing streak, a very satisfying triumph after hearing naysayers all week.
The defense set the tone early for Woods Cross, sacking Bountiful’s quarterback on the third play from scrimmage to force a three-and-out.
On the Wildcats' first play from scrimmage, Clay Kidman hit Xequille Harry on an 80-yard touchdown pass for the early 7-0 lead. Spencer said the idea wasn’t necessarily to go for a home-run play right off the bat, but rather help Kidman settle into the game by letting him throw a pass he’s comfortable with.
Kidman lofted the ball perfectly down the right sideline to Harry, who never had to break his stride after beating Bountiful’s defensive back.
After another quick series by Bountiful, Woods Cross took over at midfield and put together a 10-play drive — its most impressive of the game — to take a 15-0 lead as Luke Jowers scored on a two-yard run and then connected with a receiver on the two-point conversion.
Late in the half, Bountiful finally put a drive together to cut the deficit to 15-6 after the missed extra point, but Woods Cross’ Brandon Kinsey responded by returning the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and the 22-6 halftime lead.
The kick return was Kinsey’s second of the season after he returned a kickoff 99 yards against Viewmont.
Bountiful trimmed the lead to 22-14 with 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter on Houston Heimuli’s second rushing touchdown of the game, but that was as close as the Braves would get.