AMERICAN FORK The Cavemen's best and only defense was it's offense Friday night. American Fork outscored visiting Mount Miguel 54-34 as both teams combined for more than 800 total yards. The Cavemen took advantage of their speed on offense, running all over the Matadors for 231 yards and eight touchdowns. Evan and Ethan Wright combined for almost 200 total yards, and tailback Nathanial Olsen had 11 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
"We knew coming into the season that we were going to get a lot of production out of our backs," American Fork coach Davis Knight said. "You just cross your fingers and hope they all stay healthy."
Knight hopes his backfield will be even more productive with the addition of Jory Hansen in his team's region opener next week against Spanish Fork. The senior running back watched his team's last pre-season game from the sidelines with an ankle injury, but Knight expects Hansen to be at full strength by next Friday.
"With Jory back that gives a us a pretty solid core with how well our full backs and offensive line is playing right now," Knight said.
While American Fork quarterback Jordan Lusk and a loaded backfield dominated offensively, their defensive teammates had a long night. Matador running back Derall Hunter carried the ball 20 times for 161 yards and four touchdowns, including a 62-yard gallop into the end zone late in the third quarter that cut American Fork's lead to 13.
But the Cavemen defense was able to come up with big plays in big moments, picking off the Matador quarterbacks four times, ending Mount Miguel scoring drives and setting up opportunities for the American Fork offense.
The Cavemen never trailed after opening a 13-7 lead when Evan Wright out ran the Matador defense for 92-yard kickoff return. Mount Miguel drew even by the end of the first quarter on a 22-yard pass to Felix Deleon, but an American Fork offensive explosion during the second quarter gave the Cavemen a 34-20 halftime lead.
Still leading by two touchdowns late in the third, American Fork put together a methodical 12-play, 70-yard drive deep into Matador territory and big passes from Lusk to Cade Zordock and Cole Peterson. But with just under a minute left on the clock, Olsen made perhaps his only mistake of the night, fumbling in the red zone and giving Mount Miguel a chance to cut the Cavemen's lead to a touchdown.
Three plays later, senior corner Kyle Purvis bailed his teammate, intercepting Matador quarterback De'jay Nolen. Olsen put the game out of reach with a three-yard touchdown run on the ensuing possession.
American Fork's defense will have to come up with similar big plays next week to slow down Spanish Fork's spread offense. Knight already anticipates making lots of defensive adjustments adjustments in the coming week.
"We've made good progress in this five-game stretch," Knight said. "But I don't think will be getting much sleep around here this week."