American Fork took little time in crossing Pleasant Grove's goal line, preparing the Vikings to be passed over and run through several times during this Region 4 game, 42-21.
The opening ceremony for this game was impressive as both teams lined up to carry the nation's largest American flag, named Betsy, onto the playing field. Betsy is owned by a group known as "Follow the Flag." It was put on display between the cliffs of Grove Creek Canyon in Pleasant Grove during the Fourth of July. With the colors of both of the teams' uniforms, red, white and blue, and having Betsy cover nearly the whole field, it was an impressive sight. The timing was good also as it was in memory of those who died in Las Vegas at the country concert Sunday.
The only thing Pleasant Grove won in this game was the opening coin toss. The Vikings deferred to receive the ball in the second half. American Fork said OK and within three and a half minutes, the Cavemen scored their first of three passing touchdowns for the game.
On Pleasant Grove's first possession of the game, the first play was a passing attempt that was intercepted. On the ensuing play, the Vikings intercepted American Fork's pass. Five plays later, Viking quarterback Jake Jensen hooked up with wide receiver Dane Christiansen for Pleasant Grove's first touchdown. For the next three minutes, the game was tied 7-7. That's where the Vikings remained until the fourth quarter. Jensen scored on a short rushing touchdown and hit Christiansen for a second passing touchdown, which was their final score of the game.
The Cavemen scored on three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. American Fork's last score, with 3:23 to go in the third period, happened when an American Fork defender blocked a Viking punt and recovered the ball in the end zone.
"We had some problems in the first half with penalties," American Fork's coach said. "We have to work through them. Our defense came out hard the second half and helped us get back in the game again. Our offense plays well as a team, but we've got to keep getting better."
In this rivalry, American Fork has the edge in football, going back at least 80 years. The Cavemen have won 50 games to Pleasant Grove's 31. Maxpreps chose this game as one of its National Rivalry Games of the Week and handed the trophy to the Cavemen at the end of the game.
American Fork scored twice in each of the first three quarters. As the final quarter began, the mercy rule was put into effect so the clock would not stop except to move the chains or other official timeouts.
Some of the game stats were close, with American Fork tallying 57 plays and 18 first downs while Pleasant Grove had 52 plays and 13 first downs. The Cavemen were flagged eight times for 59 penalty yards while the Vikings were penalized 113 yards on 11 penalties.
Jensen completed 12 of 22 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns for Pleasant Grove, and the Vikings carried the ball 30 times for 86 yards, totaling 302 yards of offense. American Fork's starting quarterback, senior Bronson Barron, completed 14 of 19 passing attempts for 182 yards, and the Cavemen carried the ball 29 times for 152 rushing yards and a total of 334 yards of offense.
Pleasant Grove now has a 1-2 region record, facing its next region game Thursday against the Lone Peak Knights. American Fork now has a 2-1 region record and will face Bingham High School next Friday.
Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and reports on Pleasant Grove High School varsity sports for Deseret Connect.