WEST JORDAN Copper Hills moved to 3-0 on the season and had both its offense and defense humming along in high gear in a 33-10 win over Hillcrest on Friday.
It's the best start the Grizzlies have had to a season in several years, and they left no room for dramatics. Copper Hills took control of the game from its first possession and led comfortably throughout.
The games will get a little tougher when region play starts, but for now coach Art Erickson is satisfied that his team is moving in the right direction.
"We're just getting better," Erickson said. "We're improving. We're growing up. We've got some young kids playing well."
At times especially in the first half it looked like Copper Hills' offense could move the ball at will against Hillcrest. But, it was the defense that ultimately made the game lopsided.
The Huskies never got a sustained drive going, and they were held to 90 yards of total offense for the game. A third of that yardage came in the fourth quarter.
"The defense played extremely well," Erickson said.
On the offensive side, the Grizzlies stuck with a shotgun, four-receiver set for most of the game. That stretched out Hillcrest's defense and left some big holes in the secondary. Passing lanes were open all night. And, when the Huskies tried to drop more men back into coverage, there were a lot of gaps for Copper Hills' running backs to sneak through.
The Grizzlies scored first on an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Quarterback Josh Soter kept the ball on a QB sweep and dove into the end zone, making the score 7-0.
On Copper Hills' next drive, Brian Bell ran the ball in from 13 yards out.
Hillcrest's one first-half highlight came on the ensuing kickoff. Anthony Biven returned the kick 58 yards, and the good field position led to a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Kolby Koplin for a touchdown.
That was as close as the Huskies would get, and a 12-yard pass from Soter to Chandler Allen made the halftime score 20-7.
Chandler was also on the receiving end of the night's longest play. Midway through the third quarter, Soter was flushed out of the pocket and avoided a heavy rush before finding the junior wide receiver all alone downfield. Chandler turned and ran the 65-yard touchdown pass into the end zone untouched.
A Hillcrest field goal and another Soter touchdown pass a 14-yard swing route to Chandler Johnson capped off the scoring.
There were some sloppy penalties and turnovers, but the Grizzlies are already looking to clean things up for next week.
"We start working on 4-0," Erickson said. "It's fun for these kids. They're having fun and just trying to get better. We're just trying to put our team in a position to go and win region games."