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High School Football: Wasatch closes out season with loss to American Fork

Published: Saturday, Oct. 26 2013 10:00 a.m. MDT

Wasatch linebackers Tag Baxter, Hunter Pella, and Cade Cloward line-up behind the Wasps' strong defensive front. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave) Wasatch linebackers Tag Baxter, Hunter Pella, and Cade Cloward line-up behind the Wasps' strong defensive front. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave)

AMERICAN FORK — The Wasatch Wasps closed out their first Class 4A varsity football season Friday night with a 58-7 lopsided road loss to Class HA American Fork.

When the football schedule was being mapped out last spring, administrators at the Heber City school found themselves in a tough position. After placing all Wasatch's region games, the Wasps were left with an open date for the last week of the regular season.

Instead of having a bye week or playing a former Class 3A rival, which would have been tough to find as well, the Wasps agreed to a trip to American Fork to take on the Cavemen in their first-ever game with a Class 5A team

Wasatch head coach Steve Coburn and his staff were up for the challenge.

Wasatch sophomore quarterback Garrett Davis, right, who took the reigns as the starter at mid-season, launches a pass against an American Fork pass rusher Friday night. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave) Wasatch sophomore quarterback Garrett Davis, right, who took the reigns as the starter at mid-season, launches a pass against an American Fork pass rusher Friday night. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave)

Unfortunately, for the Wasps, it was the 10th week into the season, and they were a little battle-worn from their first year facing tougher Class 4A competition.

With several key players on the sidelines in street clothes, including senior quarterback Zack Reiss, receivers Kyler Cook and Carson Law, and two-way starting lineman Matt Wilson, the Wasps looked to only hold their own and play a competitive game, despite an underlying feeling of confidence that they could actually come out and win the contest.

After a first half of keeping it close, however, Wasatch eventually succumbed to the quicker skill position players of the home team.

The Wasps looked as though they came to play after taking the opening kick off and driving into American Fork territory. After a failed attempt stalled the Wasatch drive, the Wasps stripped Caveman tailback of the ball and recovered it on American Fork's first play from scrimmage.

Defensive back Zach Strong and linebacker Tag Baxter pull down a Cavemen ball carrier during the second quarter of Friday night's non-region game. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave) Defensive back Zach Strong and linebacker Tag Baxter pull down a Cavemen ball carrier during the second quarter of Friday night's non-region game. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave)

Later, Wasatch quarterback Garret Davis’ fourth-down pass attempt bounced off receiver Kayden Connor and into the hands of American Fork cornerback Jonah Trinneman, who returned it 71 yards for a touchdown.

The Cavemen added an offensive touchdown on their next drive to increase their lead to 14-0 on senior night after Hunter Johnson’s second successful extra-point kick.

In the second quarter, Wasatch had its opportunities to get into the end zone, but the Wasps could not connect on third down.

Penalties, too, hurt the Wasps. Flags on several key plays kept the Cavemen offense on the field.

Wasatch eventually recorded its only score of the night on a beautiful strike from Davis to Connor on a deep pass down the left sideline for a 74-yard score. Skyler Southam’s extra point made it 14-7.

Senior wide receiver Kayden Connor checks his position just before catching a 74-yard touchdown pass, his ninth TD reception of the season. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave) Senior wide receiver Kayden Connor checks his position just before catching a 74-yard touchdown pass, his ninth TD reception of the season. (Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave)

The Cavemen would answer. With time running out in the half American Fork scored on a one-yard touchdown run to increase its lead to 20-7 at the break.

In an otherwise manageable game, the second half brought frustration and contempt to the Wasp sideline. American Fork scored a touchdown on its opening drive to go up 27-7 early in the half.

With the Wasp offense unable to put together any time-consuming drives in the third quarter, a field goal and three touchdowns by the Cavemen poured salt in Wasatch's wounds.

At the end of the third period, Wasatch trailed 48-7 and had little life for the remainder of the contest. Hoping to get some valuable playing time for his reserves, Coburn went to a conservative running attack to eat up the clock in the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter, however, the Cavemen added a field goal and a touchdown.

Despite such a lopsided finish, the Wasps were proud of their effort, not just in this game, but during the entire campaign.

“We have nothing to hang our heads about this year," senior tailback Hunter Pella said. "I think we all know that we stuck together no matter what the situation was. I’m sad it over, but I'm proud of all our guys — of our team. We left it all out the field.”

Kenny Bristow is the staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and contributes to the Deseret News high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: kennywbristow@gmail.com. To contribute to DNews Preps for your area, enquire at 801.237.2143.

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