HEBER CITY — The Wasatch High School varsity football team wasn’t looking to change things up so early in the season, especially after it seemed to begin clicking on all cylinders after a win last week.
That is exactly what the Wasps had to do Friday when starting quarterback Garrett Davis was unable to play due to a severe quad contusion.
It took a couple of shaky quarters, but Wasatch eventually found the adjustments to its liking and ran away from the visiting Ogden Tigers, 33-13.
“We had to pretty much change everything offensively,” said head coach Steve Coburn. “We were a little off kilter in the first half, but our coaches made adjustments and our defense didn’t give them anything.”
The same cannot be said for the Tigers' defense that had to contend with a hard-running Spencer Heywood. The senior tailback put his team on his shoulders and bulled his way for over 200 yards and three touchdowns while possibly creating folk-hero status for himself amongst the Wasatch faithful. The packed house at Wright-Tree Stadium was chanting his name by the third quarter.
The Wasps, who were forced to go with junior back-up QB David McKay, started off quick enough by scoring on a 22-yard field goal by Skyler Southam after their first drive to take an early 3-0 lead.
Ogden, which was having a difficult time finding any rhythm on offense in the first quarter, turned the ball over on downs on a couple of occasions, and Wasatch linebacker Jake Davis also recorded an interception.
Wasatch could not take advantage, however, missing on several opportunities to increase its lead.
Instead, the Tigers put together a long drive early in the second quarter that resulted in a touchdown. On 4th-and-31 from the Wasatch 40-yard line, Ogden quarterback Cameron Mortensen connected with receiver Parker Lowry for a long pass giving the visitors the lead. The extra point by Johnny Alcaraz was good and Ogden was in business leading 7-3.
Wasatch called the number of the tailback on every play but one on its next drive and Heywood rewarded the Wasps with a 1-yard plunge just before the end of the second quarter. After Southam’s extra point, it was 10-7 Wasps.
Wasatch received the second-half kickoff with one thing in mind: Feed the ball to its hot running back and take control of the game.
Behind Heywood, the Wasps marched steadily down field, but an interception inside the 30 killed the drive.
After an Ogden punt, Wasatch put the game plan squarely on the shoulders of Heywood and its dominating offensive line and drove 80 yards and scored on a Heywood 7-yard run. The PAT attempt failed, but Wasatch had found its groove and increased its lead to 16-7.
The Wasp defense got tougher as the game wore on with linemen Jace Wright, Jake McNaughton and Payton Mair repeatedly hurrying Mortensen into throws and stifling any chance the Tigers had to get a running game going.
Heywood scored his third touchdown of the night with just over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run. Southam’s PAT made it 23-7.
Wasatch added a 25-yard field goal a minutes later, giving the Wasps a commanding 26-7 advantage.
Ogden’s next attempt at getting some points was thwarted by an interception from defensive back Zach Strong giving the Wasps the ball at the Tigers' 30.
At this point, Heywood had amassed 213 yards with three scores and was given the rest of the night off.
On its final drive of the game, Wasatch used reserve runners Jaden Hills and Kaden Trowbridge, along with McKay filling in under center, to work behind the Wasp line, and the youngsters did not disappoint in continuing the dominating ground performance.
With two minutes remaining, Hills found paydirt for his first career varsity touchdown on a 2-yard run. The extra point made it 33-7 and closed the book on the Wasp offense.
Ogden running back Keith Freeman made his way into the end zone for the Tigers for a last-second touchdown closing the score at 33-13.
“I couldn’t have made any of that tonight without my offensive line,” said Heywood. “I knew we were going to run the ball a lot tonight, so I just tried to keep it going. Once we got on a roll, it started to really flow, but I credit our O-line. I’m going to have to take those guys out for breakfast in the morning.”
Heywood’s three touchdowns give him five on the season and a reason for the Wasps to believe they might have a solid running game going.
Davis is expected to be back for next week’s home contest against Provo in the region opener, but McKay will be ready if his number is called again.
“I just found out for sure I was in (Friday) morning,” McKay said. “We prepared for this during practice this week and I got most of the reps in, so I felt ready to go. We started off a little slow, but once I settled down it started to get fun. I’m just glad we got a great team win tonight.”
Wasatch runs over Ogden
Wasatch running back Spencer Heywood scores his second touchdown of the night against Ogden in the Wasp's 33-13 win at home.
Kenny Bristow is the sports editor and staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and contributes to the Deseret News high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: [email protected]. and/or follow him on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.