OGDEN —Undefeated powerhouses Box Elder and Syracuse high schools met Friday night on Weber State University’s Stewart Field ready to trade blows and continue their winning streaks.
Both the Bees and the Titans came prepared to do battle, and within the first seven minutes of play the two teams had traded touchdowns and were flexing their muscles, waiting for their opponent to flinch.
Syracuse scored first after a poorly placed Box Elder punt, but the Bees answered back immediately with QB Shad Watson’s long-bomb pass to even things up.
Despite some fourth-quarter heroics on Box Elder’s part, in the end, the victor’s spoils went to the Titans, 31-14.
In the first quarter, the game saw Syracuse methodically marching down field with carries by Mason Woodward, Jake Garver, and Wyatt German. Woodward carried the ball into the end zone on a 5-yard run and with QB Brock Anderson’s extra point made the score 7-0.
Box Elder retaliated with its own touchdown drive with a 5-yard carry by Kyler Allen, followed by McKay Parrish’s kick.
The Titans poured on the steam down field but were unable to advance into scoring position, falling victim to a hard hitting QB sack by the Bees’ Jayk Brooks, to end the first quarter.
Two Titan touchdowns in the first and last few seconds of the second quarter set the pace for the rest of the evening’s contest. Seven seconds had ticked off the clock for the second Titan TD of the game as Diante Mitchell hauled in a 20-yard pass from Anderson and carried it into the endzone. Kiwa Mo’o added another Syracuse touchdown with only 45 seconds left on the second quarter clock.
Successful kicks by Brock Anderson brought the score at halftime to 21-7.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of our kids making big plays for us right now,” said Syracuse offensive coordinator Jared Martin. “It seems like if one player is struggling, another player steps up to assist and do what’s needed to keep the momentum going. Jake Garver has been big for us today on offense with some key third-down conversions. Defensively, we’ve had several different kids swarming to the ball with timely interceptions.”
Third-quarter penalties early in the period slowed down the Bees but didn’t dampen their determination as Jake Tolman blocked a Titan fourth-down kick.
Minutes later a bobbled Box Elder pass found the Bees in their own fourth-down dilemma. Titan Diante Mitchell intercepted a long pass and Syracuse gained possession at the 38-yard line. Back-to-back penalty calls on the Titans finished their offensive drive and ended the third quarter the way it started, with the score still 21-7.
Penalties began heaping on the Titans’ plate at the start of the final period, but Box Elder could not capitalize on the advantage. An interception by Titan Kavika Fonua drove the ball to the 24-yard line, but subsequent penalties reversed their progress.
A QB sack by Bees’ Rasten Yeates backed-up the Titans even further, but Syracuse was within field-goal range and they scored on a 25-yard kick by Anderson to raise the score to 24-7.
Another penalty was levied against Syracuse, but was offset moments later with a pass interception by Myles Naisbett, and the momentum shifted again to Syracuse as its offense marched down field.
Yet another Titan team foul, and a fumble recovered by Box Elder on the 22-yard line, made it look as if Syracuse was done for the evening. But fate is fickle, and the Titans were once again on top with a pass interception by Mitchell and a 30-yard dash into the end zone. Anderson’s kick raised the score to 31-7.
With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the match should have been over for Box Elder, but, the Bees were not ready or willing to throw in the towel. Their offense began a drive that did not stop until they had scored the final touchdown of the game with only 7.6 seconds remaining on the clock.
In the loss, the Bees gave up points for the first time this season.
“We have a great deal of respect for Box Elder,” Martin said. “It’s evident they have a quality program and their kids play hard. Even when the outcome of the game had been decided, they still drove the ball and put points on the board. Any time you can best a program like that, it’s a big win for our players.”
The Titans emerged from the battlefield undefeated (4-0), having added a notch on their hilt and stomping the Bees winning streak. They face Davis (3-1) Friday in regular Region 1 play.
“Brock Anderson had a great night with 14-of-19 completed passes for 191 yards, and two touchdown. He could play just about any position on the team,” Martin said. “There was a lot of individual effort on the line tonight, but more importantly, everybody has stepped up throughout the entire preseason. We’re solid as a team going into Region 1 play. We’ll have a tough opponent right out of the gate in Davis. They’re well coached, and we’ve developed quite a rivalry in recent years.”