SANDY The Layton Lancers, whose home opener was spoiled in a tough loss to Cottonwood last week, sought to make up for it by keeping the Jordan Beetdiggers winless on their new home turf.
After a 21-point fourth quarter blew open what had been a tight game, the Lancers head back north with a 35-14 win over the Diggers.
Layton, still without star running back LaVaughn Jackson, has a substantial replacement in senior Karl Williams, who dragged the defense around for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Camren Applegate threw for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and ran for another, and the Lancers' defense kept the Diggers off-kilter late by applying serious pressure from the front four.
"That happened to us last week; we got worn down in the fourth quarter," Layton coach Jim Batchelor said. "We focused all week long on starting fast, finishing strong and making sure we weren't going to fade again. I think our kids stepped up, and I didn't see fatigue on any of them."
After three quarters of back-and-forth movement between the two teams, Layton's defense pressed Jordan quarterback Alex Hart, who was only able to complete 1-of-7 tosses in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Applegate and the Lancers picked up business after a quiet third quarter. The senior found Cory Bartley and Kimble Jensen for scores on consecutive drives, putting the game out of reach even for the explosive Jordan offense.
Layton went to the 6-1, 215-pound Williams early and often, and he responded with runs of 22, 12 and 9 yards on their opening drive before scoring on a three-yard dive for a 7-0 lead.
Jordan countered with Hart, who completed six of eight tosses, the final a well-executed screen pass to running back Ty Spillman to knot the score at 7-7.
On the Lancers' ensuing possession, Applegate's passes to Thomas Bryson and Josh Johnson for 17 and 37 yards, respectively, moved the Lancers down the field. Williams punctuated the drive with a short burst up the middle from the one.
Jordan then tied the game at 14-14 with a Dillon Hill touchdown. The Diggers had a chance to score again with the ball deep in Layton territory and less than a minute remaining in the half, but a holding penalty followed by a 22-yard loss on a botched snap pulled them out of striking range. Kicker Garrett Blaisdell missed a 42-yard attempt as time expired.
Despite a big win last week at Massillon, Ohio, Jordan remains winless on its new turf, and hasn't won at its stadium in nearly two years (the team played "home" games at various Salt Lake City stadiums while the turf was being installed last season.) But for Batchelor, his team responded to its own adversity in the right manner.
"We could've tanked it. It's been a while since we've beat Jordan," Batchelor said. "I thought out kids did a great job. It's a great group of kids that play hard and don't quit. I'm very proud of them."