Amy Donaldson
Sione Molisi
I was trying to be patient the whole game because Herriman played tough. I finally broke through for that big play and the touchdown. —East RB Sione Molisi

SALT LAKE CITY — East’s football team had its hands full Friday night with an upset-minded Herriman pulling out all the stops. The Mustangs impressed throughout the game, taking a 10-7 lead into the final three minutes.

But it takes only one play to shift the momentum, and that’s exactly what happened after East’s Sione Molisi broke through the middle for a 77-yard run. The burst left East at the Mustangs’ 13-yard line. Herriman didn’t roll over at any point, making the Leopards fight tooth and nail like they had to all night, for every yard. But the Mustangs' hearts were eventually broken on fourth down as Molisi crashed into the end zone to give East the winning score (14-10) with 40 seconds left to play.

“I was trying to be patient the whole game because Herriman played tough,” said Molisi. “I finally broke through for that big play and the touchdown.”

East coach Brandon Matich said his team thought about kicking the field goal on fourth down because they’ve got a great kicker in Martin Flores, but his offensive line said they wanted to go for the win. It was putting a lot of faith in the offensive line, something Matich has done all season, considering the group had been handled by Herriman’s defense most of the night.

“On film, Herriman is the most talented team we have played all year,” said Matich. “Defensively they have great players, they’re aggressive, fast and strong. We had to convince our kids to not be fooled by their record and they saw that talent first-hand tonight. Herriman played a great game.”

Matich wasn’t happy throughout most of the outing with his team’s play and let them know it. His pep talks were a big reason for East’s push in the second half said Molisi as the team tried to fight through the deficits.

As happy as East was to walk away with the 14-10 victory over its region foe, Herriman was equally disappointed.

The crushing loss was evident on coach Dustin Pearce’s face after the two teams shook hands. The coach credited his guys for playing their butts off the entire game against a great team in East.

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The night proved to be a defensive battle as Herriman held East scoreless in the first half, while taking a 7-0 lead after Maeakafa Leakehe’s 24-yard touchdown run and Steven Blanco’s PAT in the second quarter.

The Leopards finally marked up the scoreboard in the third quarter with Molisi’s first touchdown of the game from one-yard out to knot things up at 7-7.

Herriman took back the lead with 6:57 left to play when Blanco converted a 38-yard field goal. The two teams exchanged punts after that before East’s winning drive.