High school football: Wasatch can’t keep up with Springville in homecoming defeat

Published: Saturday, Sept. 28 2013 2:15 p.m. MDT

Red Devil quarterback Dylan Slavens escapes a collapsing pocket early in the action of Springville's 41-22 victory at Wasatch.

Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave

It was homecoming for the Wasatch Wasps, their first ever competing in 4A, and the Red Devils of Springville High were the guests for the evening.

The Red Devils crashed the Wasps' party with a strong effort, taking the game 41-22.

The game was the first in Wright-Tree Stadium in three weeks as Wasatch was coming off its longest road test of its new Region 8 campaign. The Wasps have been doing well and playing hard en route to stealing a few wins along the way from the larger and faster teams in 4A.

This only held up so long Friday night, however, as Springville received the opening kick-off and quickly scored on its second play from scrimmage on an 80-yard scamper by tailback Jessi Noll. The extra point kick was missed, and the Red Devils were up 6-0.

The Wasps started sophomore Garrett Davis at quarterback for the first time this season due to a couple of broken ribs suffered by senior Zack Reiss. And although the sophomore had seen plenty of reps this year, splitting time with Reiss, he could not get his offense on the board in the first half.

Following a punt after their first three plays, the Wasps surrendered another touchdown to the Red Devils on a pass from quarterback Dylan Slavens to Garrett Clark. The effective drive that showed little resistance from the home defense was capped by a two-point conversion to bring the score to 14-0 at the five-minute mark of the first quarter.

With the air quickly leaking from the black and gold homecoming balloons, junior Carson Law ignited the crowd with an ensuing 80-yard kick-off return for a touchdown. The extra point was good by Wasatch and the score was suddenly 14-7.

Springville tightened its belts on the next drive and again showed its supremacy in size and speed, shoving Wasatch backwards and scoring again on another Slavens-to-Clark hook-up. Kicker Cordon Farris converted the point after, and it was 21-7 with 2:46 left in the first quarter.

What seemed like a long night ahead for the home crowd, who bundled up and sipped hot chocolate in the bitter cold, became a fan-fest for those who love defense.

Wasatch started to show a little offensive life in the second quarter but could not score. Its defense, which has become its signature this year, suddenly rose to the challenge and began hassling Slavens, who up to this point was untouched.

After consecutive sacks by linebacker Tag Baxter and tackle Jace Wright, the Red Devils were forced to punt for the first time in the game.

After trading possessions once more with both teams finding it tough to move the ball, Wasatch punter Ben Hill booted the ball deep inside Springville territory, where the Wasps were able to down it, pinning the visitors on their own 2-yard line.

Two plays later, senior tackle Brendan Edler made his way into the Springville backfield and wrapped up the ball carrier in the end zone for a safety with less than two-minutes remaining in the half. The Wasps ran out of time before capitalizing on getting the ball back and the teams went to the locker room with the score 21-9.

During the homecoming ceremonies at the half, the Wasatch cheerleaders performed and did something they had not been able to do in eight years — add stunting to their halftime show.

Having its stunting rights suspended due to an injury eight years ago, the Wasp cheer team had not been allowed even limited stunting. That was removed this year as new cheer coach, Trisha Cheal, lobbied to have the sanction lifted.

“It’s really a great night for us and for our program,” said Cheal. “I’m happy for the girls and for our students who get to enjoy it. After eight years it really is big.”

When the teams took the field for the second half, it almost looked like a rerun of the first.