BOUNTIFUL — The Bountiful Braves gave coach Larry Wall a win to kick off his 30th season at the helm Friday night.
Led by their offensive line, the Braves overpowered Lone Peak in the second half en route to a 28-21 win after trailing by seven points at halftime.
“It’s always a good thing to start the season off with a positive note, and the real positive is we can still get a lot better,” said Wall. “But I’m proud of the way we fought back.”
The Braves and Knights both showed some first-game jitters and each had turnovers. But the Braves were able to power through and outscored Lone Peak 21-7 over the final two quarters.
Houston Heimuli kick-started the third quarter for the Braves with his second touchdown of the game — this one from 3 yards out — to cut Lone Peak's lead to a point, 14-13. Bountiful failed to tie the game as the extra point snap was bobbled.
Heimuli racked up 128 yards in the game, but the senior sprained his ankle on the third-quarter score, and yielded most of the future carries to Kaden Simmonds. Simmonds, who had fumbled earlier in the game, bounced back with scores from 1 and 3 yards out. The latter effort came after Mitch Halverson recovered a Lone Peak fumble.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot with the turnovers,” said Lone Peak coach Mike Mower. “But I have to hand it to Bountiful because they were fundamentally sound and that fullback trap Coach Wall’s been running for years was working for them.”
After Bountiful went up on the Knights 28-14 in the fourth quarter, Lone Peak added a touchdown when Caden Humphrey took the ensuing kickoff 93 yards downfield. Lone Peak added the extra point to cut Bountiful's lead to 28-21 with 57 seconds left, but couldn’t recover the onside kick.
“We’ve been working hard on conditioning and I think we were able to wear them down in the second half,” said Wall.
“Our offensive line has a lot of experience and I wasn’t surprised with their great effort tonight. They did what we needed, when we had to have it. Houston was a warrior to keep pressing and Kaden bounced back from the fumble.”
The win capped off an emotional week for the Braves and captain Brad Quick. The Bountiful player attended his father Bill’s funeral earlier in the day, and was surrounded by his teammates after the game as they dedicated the win to the elder Quick.
Coach Wall hugged his captain at the game’s conclusion, and said he was proud of the way his team came together and that he expects even more positives from them as the season continues..
Parker Richards led Lone Peak with two touchdowns.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company