AMERICAN FORK — Sometimes, sports is about getting a second (or even third) chance. On Friday night, Cottonwood kicker Jose Perez came through on his, splitting the uprights on a 19-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to lift the Colts to a 22-21 victory over American Fork.
"I had faith in him," Cottonwood coach Josh Lyman said. "After he missed the extra point, I looked at him and said, 'Be ready. You'll get another chance.'"
Not only did Perez – who has been kicking for only a year – miss the Colts' first extra point, he misfired on a 33-yard field goal attempt on his team's next possession. But with Cottonwood (3-1) trailing by two in the waning moments, he stepped up and connected.
In a game of big plays, one of the night's biggest was wiped away. On the first play from scrimmage, Cottonwood running back Gabe Hosea swept right and flashed past the line of scrimmage and the American Fork secondary 74 yards into the end zone. But the play was walked back because of a hold on the Colts.
Tyler Belliston had a huge play of his own up his sleeve, scampering for a 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put the Cavemen up.
After the two teams traded touchdowns, American Fork (3-1) did its best to put the game away by going up two scores after Tyler Brimhall found a wide open Dallyn Holland for a 78-yard scoring reception.
But less than three minutes later, Sione Moli caught an 18-yard touchdown from Bateman, and after American Fork failed to move the chains, the Colts got the ball back just a minute later.
Cottonwood fashioned a 10-play, 48-yard drive, getting all the way to the ½-yard line before the American Fork defense pushed Hosea back two yards, setting up the game-winning field goal.
Brimhall's last-chance pass with six seconds left was picked off by Cottonwood linebacker Luke Latteier and time ran out.
Lyman praised American Fork after the game.
"(They) were definitely deserving of this game," he said. "They are a tough team that played well tonight."
The Colts pounded the ball on the ground, handing Hosea 38 carries. The junior finished with 142 yards and the touchdown.
"We challenged our (offensive) line at halftime, and they really responded and gave (Hosea) some room to run," Lyman said.
Bateman was 21-of-33 passing for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lotulelei had nine receptions for 82 yards and a score.