Once we settled down, it was all good. It felt good for all of us who experienced what happened a couple of years ago. —Lone Peak quarterback Brock Jones
HERRIMAN — For two years, the Lone Peak Knights have struggled with what might have been, after losing the 2015 5A state championship game to the Herriman Mustangs.
On Friday night, the remaining survivors of that game earned their revenge as Brock Jones threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns and Nate Ritchie kicked a pair of field goals as the Knights recovered from a slow start to take a 26-13 non-region victory in the season opener for both schools.
“Once we settled down, it was all good,” said Jones, whose 7-yard touchdown pass to Cody Collins with four seconds left finally sealed the win.
“It felt good for all of us who experienced what happened a couple of years ago.”
Back then, Lone Peak was the clear favorite. This time, the outcome was in doubt for much of the game. Herriman took advantage of two fumbles by the Knights, including one in the end zone, to stay ahead or within close range. Lone Peak led 7-6 at halftime.
The Mustangs’ inconsistent offense relied on the passing arm of 6-foot-8 quarterback Blake Freeland and the dazzling running skills of Tavish Darger. Herriman struck quickly with its two scores, but never showed the ability to make long, offensive drives, something coach Dustin Pearce will likely address this week as his team prepares for a trip to play Helix High in Southern California and then takes on Utah powerhouse Bingham.
Freeland threw a screen pass that Meakafa Leakehe turned into an 80-yard touchdown pass to give the Mustangs an early lead and Darger ran 54 yards for a score in the third quarter as Herriman tried to keep up with Jones’ developing passing skills.
Jones, however, just kept getting more confident with each drive. He had one scoring pass nullified by a penalty but came back to throw another to Kobe Freeman to give the Knights a 20-13 lead with 7:21 left and Herriman couldn’t answer again — and Jones did with his final throw.
The win was the first for new coach Bart Brockbank, whose team plays at Dixie next week. Brockbank was quick to give his players the credit.
“We started slow, but once he (Jones) settled in and started reading the defense, he did a lot better and everyone came around.”