LEHI The Spanish Fork Dons did a complete about-face on Tuesday.
All season long the Dons have been a fourth-quarter football team usually treading water for the first three quarters and saving the best for last. However, in thumping the Lone Peak Knights 38-14 in a 5A play-in game to determine the final seed from Region 4, the Dons did all of their damage early pretty much having the game on ice at the break with a 21-point second quarter and 31-point first half.
"I was real pleased to see that," Dons coach Matt Christensen said of his team's fast start. "That was something that we've been begging for all year, and it was a perfect time to do it."
Spanish Fork also got plenty of help early from Lone Peak miscues. Before the Knights had even run two plays from scrimmage they had turned the ball over deep in their own territory twice. They had three turnovers for the game, and all three resulted in Spanish Fork scores. The Dons had 10 points on the board before the Knights knew what hit them.
Lone Peak fumbled the ball away on its very first play. Two plays later, Spanish Fork quarterback Breck Lewis hit Jordunn Mattinson in the end zone for an 8-yard TD strike putting Spanish Fork up 7-0 only 36 seconds into the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Lone Peak coughed up the pigskin again giving Spanish Fork possession on the 29. This time the Dons stalled on the 6-yard line but still cashed in on Allen Measom's 24-yard field goal.
The Dons took over on their next possession on their own 45 and took nine plays to march down to the one. The big play was a 17-yard reception by Trevor Randolph on a fourth-and-five from the 25. Kade Christensen finished the drive off when he pounded in, with a great second effort after being stopped briefly in the backfield, from the 1-yard line on another fourth-down play.
A few minutes later, Matt Gardner intercepted a Lone Peak pass and returned it deep into Knights' territory. On third down and 10, Lewis avoided a sack and then stepped up and nailed Dallin Naulu from 24 yards out to put the Dons up 24-0.
Spanish Fork's first-half scoring continued with the Dons taking possession at midfield and scoring five plays later. On the drive, Lewis connected with Zac Clayton for a 27-yard reception and then finished it off on a 13-yard TD toss to Mattinson.
Lone Peak's only respectable first-half drive, which included a 26-yard pass from Tannon Pedersen to Travis Johnson on a fourth-and-six, still came up empty with a missed field goal from 34 yards on the final play before intermission. But the Knights finally did wake up when Jordan Lowry, on Lone Peak's second play of the second half, broke loose for a 56-yard TD scamper.
The Dons nullified that score four plays later, however, when Randolph burst through a hole and raced 61 yards for another touchdown. Late in the third the Knights scored again on a 15-yard TD pass to Lowry out of the backfield.Spanish Fork advances to face Layton on Saturday. The game will likely be at 2 p.m., but because of ACT testing it might be moved to 5 p.m.