BRIGHAM CITY After starting the season with nine straight losses, Ben Lomond had to beat its rival and down the defending 3A football champions in a four-day span just to earn a playoff spot.
Hardly a problem for the Scots, who are suddenly the hottest team in the state.
Shay Kaleikini did a dang good cannon ball impression Tuesday, bursting through the line of scrimmage and Bear River's secondary while helping Ben Lomond explode onto the 3A playoff scene with a 49-19 blowout of the Bears in the Region 11 play-in game.
Kaleikini, a 6-1, 240-pound junior, punished Bear River defenders, making them miss and/or roughing them up en route to 248 yards and three touchdowns on 31 bone-crushing carries.
That helped the Scots, now 2-9, earn a shot at Region 8 champion Juan Diego (7-3) this Saturday in Draper.
"It's a huge deal. We've been trying to get things rolling," said first-year Ben Lomond coach Jeff Kilts. "Finally we're healthy and the guys are just playing their hearts out."
The combination of Kaleikini and quarterback Chase Moore along with great blocking up front proved to be way too much for the banged-up Bears to handle. Ben Lomond jumped ahead 23-0 after one quarter and built a 49-7 third-quarter lead. It was sweet revenge for the Scots, who lost to Bear River 26-24 earlier this season when they missed a last-second chip-shot field goal.
In just his second start back from an injury not coincidentally another lopsided victory, 35-14 over Ogden last Friday Moore added three touchdown passes.
"It was great. It was good to win and get in the playoffs," said Kaleikini, who also had a safety and a sack on defense. "We're ready for Juan Diego. We're set. If we play like today, Juan Diego's done."The loss ended a frustrating 1-10 season for Bear River, the preseason No. 1 team which had won three of the four previous 3A titles. Coming into this game, the program had suffered 34 different injuries throughout the season. The Bears' sideline resembled an infirmary Tuesday, with key players in braces, splints and even a wheelchair.