Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave
Friday night lights turned into Wednesday night highlights for the Spanish Fork Dons as they beat Region 8 newcomer Wasatch, 48-28, in front of a cheerful home crowd on Senior Night.
In a game that had postseason implications for both clubs, defense was tossed out the window in the second half and the contest quickly became an offensive coordinator’s dream.
The Dons, on this night, did not look like a team clinging to a postseason berth. They ran the ball with ease — mostly highlight reel runs by quarterback Jason Money, and ate up chunks of the clock as they wore down the visiting team’s defense.
Big plays were the order of the night for both teams as five of the 11 touchdowns scored between the two were of 30 yards or more. Money scored on runs of 78 and 39 yards and teammate Brandon Norris ran one in from the 31-yard line.
However, when Wasatch was able to find the end zone, the home team answered, usually with a backbreaking drive that took away any momentum the Wasps could muster.
Wasatch received the opening kick-off and immediately began marching down the field. When the drive stalled at the Dons' 27, Wasp place-kicker Skyler Southam missed a 44-yard field goal.
Spanish Fork’s first play from scrimmage sent a message to the opposing team when Money took off on a 50-yard gain. Three plays later, Taylor Noles ran the ball in from five yards out and it was 7-0 after the PAT.
The Wasps had consecutive three-and-outs, with the latter putting the Dons deep in their own territory at the 13. But Money and crew went to work on the defense running and passing at will. They pushed the visitor backwards until an 18-yard run by Money and the extra point kick early in the second quarter made it 14-0.
The home team went for the kill with an on-side kick it recovered, sending the Wasatch defense back on the field. But the Wasps remained stout and managed to keep the Dons off the scoreboard.
With three minutes left in the half, Davis, who was beginning to get a feel for the Dons' rush, escaped the pocket, rolled to his left and found Connor for their first touchdown of the game. Southam’s PAT made it 14-7.
Spanish Fork tried to put more points on the board before the half. What looked like a sure touchdown drive was thwarted by a huge Wasatch defensive stand at the 4-yard line to close out the half.
The home team received the second-half kick-off and quickly took advantage of a Wasatch defense that was not at its best on this night.
On the second play from scrimmage, Money took off through and around the Wasp defenders, delighting the crowd, for a 78-yard touchdown run. The PAT by Jade Nielsen made the score 21-7.
Wasatch, attempting to strike back quickly, went to the air on the first play, but the pass by Davis was intercepted between two Wasp receivers. Less than two minutes later, already inside Wasp territory, Money hit receiver Joe Anderson for a 12-yard touchdown. The extra point was good, and Wasatch was in a 28-7 hole with 8:37 still remaining in the third quarter.
The visiting team would not surrender, though. With its leading rusher this season, tailback Hunter Pella, on the sideline with an elbow injury, head coach Steve Coburn kept the ball in the air. This series, Davis repeatedly found Connor in open space that the big receiver was able to turn into good gains.
With 1:34 left in the third quarter, Connor snared a Davis pass for a 33-yard score and the Wasps had life, closing the gap to 28-14.
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