LAYTON — It may not get much run on a statewide level, but, up in Northern Utah, the Northridge-Layton rivalry is really something special.
Frantic finishes, overtime tussles and wild, game-changing plays are the norm when these two Davis County rivals meet.
Friday night's renewal was certainly no different.
The Knights' Dayan Lake stretched the ball into the end zone for a two-point conversion in overtime, lifting Northridge to a dramatic 29-28 victory over the Lancers in the two teams' tense Region 1 finale.
"It's just like last year and the year before," Lake said of the two neighboring schools' intense rivalry. "Davy Adams was a great running back for us and scored on the same play to win it for us last year. Coach (Erik Thompson) asked if I could get it in there and I said, 'Yes,' and I just got there and reached out there and did it for my team.
"It was close — I had to reach out there (for the decisive two-point conversion). I'm so glad (they went for two). My heart's still pounding.
"It doesn't matter how good either team is. It always comes down to the last minute," said Lake, a junior running back and BYU commit. "We all know each other because we played each other in little league, so we know how each other plays and we go all out. I love these (Layton) guys. These are my brothers. I always hang out with them in the summer. Even now, I hang out with them, even though it's football season and I still love 'em."
With the win, Northridge (4-2 Region 1, 4-5 overall) nabs a third-place league finish and will face Riverton in the first round of next week's 5A state playoffs.
Layton (3-3, 4-6) finishes fourth with the heartbreaking defeat and will also play a first-round 5A playoff game on the road next week.
The Lancers held a 21-14 lead and were driving into Northridge territory late in the fourth quarter when Lake came up with the latest big-time play by a big-time player. He picked off a Layton pass attempt and returned it 73 yards for the game-tying touchdown with 2:03 remaining to play, as Robert Crawford's PAT knotted the score at 21 and eventually sent things into overtime.
"I saw (the Layton quarterback) roll out and Coach said he didn't want me to get deep," Lake said of his critical pick-off play. "He didn't want me to push up; I just tried to stay back and did my job. He just tried to throw it away and I knew he was gonna throw it away so I just stood there and got that pick and kept running."
Layton, getting the first OT possession at the 25-yard line, quickly struck first when workhorse running back Davis Marriott broke off a 21-yard rushing burst. Two plays later, Marriott slashed into the end zone for the touchdown — his third TD on this cool, crisp night — and Christian Cook's PAT gave the Lancers a 28-21 lead.
Then it was Northridge's turn, and the Knights didn't waste any time, either. Lake had an 8-yard run, and then Ben Jackson's pass to sure-handed Jace Colby carried the Knights all the way to the 1. Jackson scored from there, and Northridge lined up for the apparent game-tying PAT kick.
But, just as Crawford kicked the ball, Layton's defense was whistled for encroachment on the line, moving the ball half the distance to the goal line. After a timeout, Northridge coach Thompson made the gritty call to go for two, and Lake swept around the left side of the line and was able to reach the ball over the goal line for the gritty, game-winning conversion.
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