AMERICAN FORK – A standing-room-only crowd earned a treat Friday night as American Fork topped Orem, 35-17, with a stellar defensive performance.
The final score is not indicative of how lopsided the win was for American Fork.
Orem did get out to an early 7-3 lead in the first quarter, but the Cavemen went on scoring spree and took a commanding 32-10 lead at the end of the half.
American Fork took the lead for good when running back Zach Katoa scored from 11 yards out, and that touchdown put the Cavemen up 10-7. Orem made a key defensive play to try to get back in this game by forcing Katoa to fumble on American Fork's next drive, but that would be short-lived.
On the Tigers' very next offensive play, defensive back American Fork's Coleson Worley picked off the first of three Orem passes for the game.
Worley was not done, however. He also plays wide receiver and caught a 48-yard touchdown strike from Tanner Smith to give American Fork a 16-7 lead.
The Cavemen defensive line was a force all night and applied seemingly endless pressure. Defensive tackles Riley Phillips and Nathan Honey led the way for American Fork. Phillips notched a pair of sacks, and Honey was all over the place with two sacks, a safety and a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Orem nearly made this a game in the second half when the Tigers scored the only points in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tucker Camp, which was set up by a 20-yard pass on the previous play. The TD made it 32-17 and gave Orem some much-needed momentum.
American Fork began to collapse when it allowed a pair of sacks and then on third down Orem knocked down a pass attempt to force a punt. The Cavemen pinned the Tigers to the their own 4-yard line, but Orem responded when Camp connected with Chase Herrmann on a 50-yard pass to put Orem in American Fork territory.
An American Fork facemask penalty moved Orem to the Cavemen 32 yard-line and put the Tigers in a position to make this a one-score game. Everything changed when Dallan Fraughton sealed the win for the Cavemen when he not only sacked Camp, but he also forced and recovered the fumble to give American Fork the ball back with 9:29 left in the game.
The Cavemen tacked on a 28-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter for the last points of the game.
Both teams begin region play next week with American Fork going on the road to face Riverton, while Orem travels to face Murray.