PAYSON Tooele used a rousing second-half rally, scoring 23 unanswered second-half points to post an important Region 7 prep football road victory over Payson.
Tooele trailed 14-0 until its troops rallied around Jordan Biorge's play and Tony Rose's injury to begin the second half. Biorge ripped off two gigantic runs and the Buffalo defense held Payson scoreless throughout the second half.
After the first quarter of play the score was locked at zero as neither offense could get within striking distance due to penalties, failed third-down conversions and good defensive play.
However, Payson exploded for two scores in the second as the Lions pounded the ball with a steady diet of bruising back Leroy Unga. He picked up a huge first down on fourth and one at his own 43, which proved to be the key play in the drive.
Three plays later, Misi Wolfgram hooked up with TE Alex Maynes for a 40-yard reception, which set up a Wolfgram end-around run for the first score.
Payson's defense then made a stand, and the Lions scored again on a nine-play, 51-yard drive. Unga plunged ahead for a two-yard score and the 2-point conversion was successful.
Tooele had no answer despite successful run plays by versatile offensive threat Trifon Goochis, who gained 70 yards on only seven carries. But the Lions held the 14-0 advantage at the break.
On the opening kickoff, a serious injury to a Buffalo player caused a 15-minute delay, after which the RB/LB Biorge seem to take over and boost his team in climbing its way back.
With 10:42 to play, Biorge took the hand-off and scored on a 62-yard TD scamper to pull within seven.
Then within a short span of three minutes, Biorge had another answer. He intercepted a pass at his own 14 and raced 86 yards down the sideline for another score to tie it up at 14-all.
The Buffaloes defense pulled together after Rose, a Tooele defensive tackle, went down, his broken leg injury seeming to spark his football team.
"That did get us going," said head coach Sam Elliot. "At halftime, we talked about being self-motivated to beat the guy across from you. That didn't sink home until Tony went down. The kids started saying, 'Let's do it for Tony!' "
A 14-yard TD run by Zac Clausing and a 28-yard field goal sealed the deal for Tooele.
Leroy Unga had a nice game for the Lions as he pounded out 108 yards on 21 rush attempts. Sophomore Monte Na'oupa also recorded 10 solo tackles and seven assisted for Payson.