COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — It was a game of missed opportunities for American Fork as Brighton was looking for vengeance after getting smashed by American Fork in the state tournament less than a year ago. Revenge is exactly what it got, beating the Cavemen 28-27 on Friday night.
The Bengals took the lead early and never looked back, getting on the board first thanks to Brighton's Sione Lund scoring off a 7-yard run to cap an 80-yard drive with four minutes left to go in the first.
But American Fork didn't just lie down, it fought and made Brighton fight for every yard. The Cavemen ended the half on a high note, getting the ball back with just over a minute left in the half, put together a 70-yard drive and ended it with Austin Griffiths catching a 4-yard pass in the back of the end zone to cut the Brighton lead to just six going into the half.
The Cavemen got the ball to start the half but quickly went three and out. American Fork was forced to punt and Fehoko returned the punt 75 yards for a Bengal touchdown. The Bengals finished the drive with Sione Lund running in a two-point conversion to earn Brighton a two-touchdown lead early in the second quarter.
The Cavemen came back the next possession with a drive of their own. After getting the ball at the 34-yard line, Nate Honey ran the ball 44 yards to get in the red zone, and three plays later Honey punched in a 4-yard touchdown to give American Fork a momentum boost.
Once Brighton had the ball again, it coughed it right up as the Cavemen defense dived on a fumble and had the ball at their own 33-yard line. Unfortunately for American Fork, that was short-lived as Brighton intercepted Tanner Smith on its first and only play of the drive.
This interception led to a 62-yard drive, capped off by Lund punching in another touchdown for the Bengals.
With under a minute to go in the third quarter, the Cavemen put together another quick drive and Smith hit Joe Price in the back of the end zone to bring American Fork within seven going into the fourth and final quarter.
The Cavemen defense came up big in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to sustain a win. They forced Brighton to punt with seven minutes left in the game, but Smith threw another interception. Lucky for the Cavemen, they took it right back after forcing Brighton to fumble and capitalized.
The senior quarterback made some plays down the stretch and threw a bomb to Scotty Hughes and the Cavemen were in scoring position. On fourth and inches, Smith made another huge play by running for the first down. Honey finished off the drive for the Cavemen by running three yards for his second touchdown of the game.
It looked like the Cavemen were going to tie the game with three minutes left. But looks can be deceiving. Jake Whitehead of American Fork hit the crossbar on the point after, and American Fork was down 27-28 heading into the final minutes of this grueling contest.
American Fork did get the ball back and almost converted a big play when Smith shook off his defender and threw a deep ball to Hughes. Hughes laid out, but the ball was just overthrown and two plays later, Smith was intercepted yet again and after the Cavemen fought hard, they went down in a monster fight.
Brighton's hot play was just too much for this Caveman team to handle, and the Bengals must be feeling happy after getting revenge for their tough loss last season. Both of these teams have a very good chance of seeing each other down the road, and if they do, everyone will want to keep their eyes on this matchup yet again.
Brighton (3-0) will be playing host to Cottonwood on Friday night, as American Fork (1-2) will be back on its home turf, playing against Westlake in their first region game of the season.
Sam Gillies is a junior at American Fork High School.