We came out and played well. I think all aspects of the game — special teams obviously was huge tonight. We took care of the ball and played hard and let things take its course. —Bob Stephens, Alta coach
TAYLORSVILLE — Rule No. 1: Don’t kick to Alta’s Mack Richards.
The do-it-all receiver reaffirmed his status as one of the deadliest return specialists in the state with a 95-yard touchdown on the opening kick and again on an 86-yard punt return as the fourth-seeded Hawks topped Taylorsville 49-21 Friday night.
“We came out and played well,” Alta coach Bob Stephens said. “I think all aspects of the game — special teams obviously was huge tonight. We took care of the ball and played hard and let things take its course.”
The punt return positioned Alta (5-5) comfortably with a 28-0 lead with three minutes gone in the second quarter. In addition to the returns, the Hawks scored on a 4-yard pass from quarterback Chipper Lucero to Logan Harrison and later on a 7-yard fumble recovery by Carter Heslop.
“We wanted to be balanced and really execute well,” Stephens said. “We did a good job at that.”
Stephens believed the special teams unit could produce gaudy numbers if Taylorsville (6-4) elected to kick to Richards.
“We thought we could get it on them,” Stephens explained. “We thought if we could just get him that seam then he was going to make some great things happen.”
The loss brings Taylorsville’s first-ever region championship season to a close. On the opening play in the second half, Tristinn Martinez found Amosa Wong on an 80-yard double pass to cut the score to 34-14, but Alta promptly responded with a methodical drive that ended with a 9-yard Lucero-Richards hookup.
“It’s been a magical season and it’s just going to get better,” Taylorsville coach Rod Wells said as he addressed the remaining crowd through the onfield microphone. “Stay with us; stay strong every one of you. Thank you for your support throughout the year and go Warriors. We’re just starting."
The Hawks will play Lone Peak in the quarterfinals in a rematch of the week two meeting. Alta won that game 35-17.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Stephens said.