SARATOGA SPRINGS — To say that a region win for Lehi was a long time in the making would be a gross understatement.
Lehi defeated Westlake on the road, 37-24, Friday night for the school's first region win since 2004. The Pioneers ran all over the Thunder en route to a victory that was convincing — and more importantly — promising for a program that has been in the doldrums for a very long time.
“This win is for the players and the work they’ve put in over the years,” said Lehi coach David Hastings. “It’s hasn’t been easy, and it won’t be easy for the rest of the year, but this was a move in the right direction for us. We beat a very good Westlake team, and yeah, it’s been a long time coming.”
Lehi was led by a pounding running attack that accounted for a little less than 400 yards. Junior Caden Calton led the way with 28 rushes for 289 yards and four touchdowns.
Calton exploded for a 43-yard touchdown run just two minutes into the game, and that proved to be just the beginning. He followed up that score with touchdown runs of 19, 57 and 65 yards.
“Caden was great tonight, but he’d be the first to give all the credit to his offensive line,” Hastings said. “It’s a team effort — it always is — and we had everyone playing at their best tonight.”
Westlake was able to trade punches until Lehi ended the half with an unusual play — a pass.
Quarterback Derik Beeston hit Deryke Terrell for a 22-yard touchdown pass that took the Thunder, and everyone else in attendance, completely by surprise. It was the first pass of the evening for the Pioneers and it worked like a charm.
“There’s nothing fancy with what we do on offense, but we’ll throw a little wrinkle in here and there,” Hastings said. “We need to get a little better, but tonight I thought we had some key plays that went for some big scores.”
Lehi took a 27-10 lead into the half, but Westlake wasn’t done. The Thunder figured some things out defensively and forced the Pioneers into three consecutive three-and-outs to start the second half. After the third stop Westlake capitalized with an eight-play scoring drive to cut the score to 27-17. Quarterback Gavin Williams capped off the drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Timothy Forsythe.
Lehi, and specifically Calton, responded immediately with his aforementioned 65-yard TD gallop on the very next possession.
Westlake did manage a late score to cut Lehi's lead to 37-24, but it was too little, too late.
“This was a big step for us as a program, but we’re hoping this is the start of many more good things,” Hastings said. “We’ve managed to take some good steps in the three years I’ve been here, but we’re determined to keep this thing going.”
With the win, Lehi improves to 3-1. The Pioneers will next take on Pleasant Grove at home.
With the loss, Westlake falls to 3-1. The Thunder will next take on American Fork at home.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BrandonCGurney
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company