AMERICAN FORK American Fork advanced to the 5A state semifinals with a 41-19 win over Hunter on Friday, but the game ended with an ugly scene when a bench-clearing brawl prompted officials to send both teams to the locker room.
With 1:59 remaining, the Cavemen's Robbie Lusk scored on a 4-yard touchdown run that ended any chances of a Hunter comeback. Right after the play, a scuffle broke out that quickly escalated into a full-scale fight with players and coaches rushing from the sidelines.
A lot of punches and kicks were thrown before police and administrators helped bring the situation under control. Once the field was cleared, the referees met with both coaches and decided to call the game. A video tape of the incident will be reviewed by the Utah High School Activities Association before a decision is made on any suspensions or disciplinary actions.
"It was a very unfortunate, ugly incident," said American Fork athletic director Chad Seely. "Now it's up to the people at the state office."
The fight marred what had been a well-fought game, with Hunter keeping the score close well into the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines had cut the lead to 21-19 on a third-quarter touchdown run by Muka Atiga before American Fork pulled away with three straight scores in the last 10 minutes.
Now the Cavemen will wait for word from the UHSAA as they prepare for next week's semifinal game against Layton.
"The official said that they wanted to see the film before they made any ejections," said American Fork coach Davis Knight. "It would be a shame to lose somebody, but you have to go by what the officials saw."
Knight said he had a good view of how the fight started but declined to comment further.
The Cavemen took control of the game early with a couple of big plays. Scott LeFrandt scored first, catching a short pass and sprinting down the sidelines for a 43-yard score.
Hunter answered with a touchdown pass from A.J. Tuineau to Harold Moleni, before an 11-yard touchdown catch by Jake Murphy put American Fork up 14-7.
A 2-yard run by Lusk and a pair of Hunter field goals made the halftime score 21-13.
After Atiga scored to bring the game within two points, the Cavemen put together a back-breaking 16-play, 74-yard drive that ended with Taylor Jones throwing a 24-yard TD pass to Murphy.
On Hunter's next possession LeFrandt intercepted a pass and returned it 71 yards to make the score 35-19.
The Cavemen will play Layton at 6 p.m. next Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.