BOUNTIFUL Homecoming for the Bountiful Braves was a welcome event this year with full stands, fireworks at halftime, and a 17-0 win against the Bonneville Lakers in region 5 play.
"We wanted to be sure to win homecoming this year. We also got the shutout, which is a goal of ours every week," said Bountiful running back Mike Fabrizio, who tallied 138 rushing yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Bountiful's defense was especially strong this game, sending a message that Bonneville would have to work for every yard by forcing the Lakers to go three and out on their first two drives. The Bonneville defense, however, played the Braves equally strong, forcing the Braves' Joe Lake to punt twice it also had an interception.
It wasn't until time was running low in the second quarter that either team was able to break the stalemate, but on Bountiful's fourth drive, it pounded the ball 80 yards, capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Drew Miner to Fabrizio with only 1:46 left.
Despite going into the break with the lead, the Braves were "disappointed with how things were going," Fabrizio said. This disappointment did not last, however, and Bountiful came out of the locker room with incredible intensity. Tyler Farr took the opening kickoff to the Lakers' 36 and things continued from there.
"The big kick return fired us up and changed the momentum of the game," said coach Larry Wall.
Eight plays later Mitch Johnson punched in a 1-yard run to put his team up 14-0. The game looked like it could get ugly after that as Bountiful's defense only allowed one yard and forced another punt. The Lakers, however, would not go away so easily. They buckled down on defense and only allowed 3 more points on a 25-yard Lake field goal.
While Bonneville's defense was able to contain the Braves, its offense continued to struggle and couldn't get much going. By the end of the night, Bountiful had forced five turnovers and only allowed 141 total yards.
"I'm really proud of these kids," said Wall. "Even with all the distractions of homecoming they were able to come out and play great football."
Unfortunately, for everyone involved, there was a glaring black spot on what was a clean and well-played game by both sides. With less than one minute to play and Bountiful lined up in formation to down the ball and end the game, Laker linebacker Brach Nelson jumped over the offensive line and smashed quarterback Drew Miner before the snap. Fortunately there were no injuries, but it almost incited a bench-clearing brawl, with many Braves rushing to the aid of their quarterback. Nelson was immediately ejected.
With the win, Bountiful now moves to 3-1, and 1-0 in region play. It will face off against Box Elder next week. Bonneville falls to 1-3 and will look to redeem itself and be a strong contender in region 5, hosting Mountain Crest next week.