SALEM With Desert Hills facing its first loss in school history after a mistake-filled first half, coach Keith Cuthbertson kept things simple in the second.
The Thunder kept the ball on the ground almost exclusively, coming from behind for a 33-26 victory over Salem Hills on Friday night.
"The first half, things weren't in our favor and it showed," said Desert Hills running back Butch Hatch. "But it's the second half that counts. In the locker room, we were like 'We're going to get this done."'
Will Plumb racked up 81 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the second half for the Thunder (2-0), with Hatch and Elijah Johnson each adding fourth-quarter scoring runs.
"It's just tears of joy," Plumb said. "We won our first two games and made history."
After Salem Hills (0-1) pulled even at 26-26, Johnson's run proved to be the deciding score, as he barreled through the middle and ran untouched into the end zone on a 37-yard scamper.
But the Thunder almost didn't get there.
Desert Hills threw five interceptions in the first half, with four coming from backup quarterback Blake Brindley who replaced injured starter Chase Webster after an injury on the first series of the game. The Thunder managed 108 total yards in the first half, but 50 of them came on one play.
"When you lose your starting quarterback on the first series, it's an adjustment period for the kids," Cuthbertson said. "They're used to following a leader on the field all through camp and summer. ... Blake came out and handled the offense and led us to a comeback."
Meanwhile, in the first game in school history, Salem Hills got off to a good start behind its defense, which put the Skyhawks deep in Desert Hills territory three times in the first half.
But it was a different story in the second half, as the Thunder defense shut the Skyhawks down, recording three sacks, grabbing an interception and recovering a fumble, and Desert finally took its first lead with 7:07 left in the game.
With the Thunder trailing 20-6 in the first half, Desert Hills scored 27 points in the second half to remain undefeated.
"That's something we were really going for," Plumb said. "We heard that no other school in Utah had (won the first two games). It was something we really were looking forward to trying to achieve."
Gus Dewey had two touchdown receptions for Salem Hills, including the first score in school history, a 6-yard reception from quarterback Josh Adams.Phil Sorensen added a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown.