PARK CITY Rarely does an opening kickoff offer a true glimpse of how a football game will play out. For Lone Peak, however, the initial kick to Park City felt a little like seeing a teaser trailer of a movie. It defined in the span of a couple minutes the nature of the whole game.
A five-yard false start penalty forced the Knights to kick a second time. Then when the ball sailed into Erik Walker's hands at the one, Walker coughed up the ball after a short return. Kade Andrus was there to jump on it.
"I was just hoping that ball would come out," Andrus said. "I was just hoping to get a fumble and get on that thing."
It marked the beginning of a mistake-filled night of defensive domination for Lone Peak, who blanked the Miners 23-0.
The Knights had 16 penalties several of which killed early drives. But they also didn't allow Park City to do much of anything. The Miners gained only 45 yards of offense by halftime and finished with 166 total for the game.
That defensive effort was best personified by a goal-line stand on the first play of the fourth quarter. With Park City needing only a yard to produce its first points of the game and pare down a 13-0 deficit, Lone Peak stopped the Miners at the one-inch line on fourth down.
From there, the offense did the rest. Andrus, who ran for 168 yards on 31 carries, broke off a 48-yard dash to get the Knights to midfield. Then Tannon Pedersen completed a pair of long passes ending with a 29-yard touchdown toss to Chandler Allphin on a corner route to make it 20-0 and put things out of reach.
"That goal-line stand really set the tone," Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary said. "We had planned to go down and score. I told the boys we're going to go 99 yards and score and we did."
Getting the initial fumble recovery on the opening kickoff helped set a good tone too. The Knights started their first drive with the ball at the Miner 19-yard line. It took only five plays for Andrus to push through the line for a 3-yard touchdown and 7-0 Lone Peak lead.
Efforts at building on that advantage in the first half proved fruitless. On their first drive of the second quarter, the Knights drove deep into the red zone, only to come away empty handed when Alex Molinario intercepted Pedersen at the Park City 3-yard line. The next drive ended in identical fashion when Pedersen tossed the ball right into Molinario's hands again.
Lone Peak finally padded the lead on its first drive after halftime when Quade Chappuis swept down the sideline 11 yards for the Knights' second touchdown.
McGeary felt thrilled to see his defense shutout an opponent that averaged 42.7 points in its first three contests. But he admitted things would have turned out better if the team could have avoided piling up penalties like kids trick-or-treating for Halloween candy."We haven't committed that many penalties all year," McGeary said. "I'm not going to blame anyone but ourselves."
E-MAIL: [email protected]