I thought we had a great game plan coming into this game, and I thought our kids responded well. To score every possession, that’s pretty impressive. —Highland coach Brody Benson
Highland played as efficient of a first half offensively as a coach could ever dream of in Friday’s 61-24 thumping of Wasatch in the first round of the 5A playoffs.
The Rams scored every time they touched the ball in the first half, including Ousmane Doubmia returning a kickoff 98 yards on the last play of the first half for the cozy 40-17 lead.
“I thought we had a great game plan coming into this game, and I thought our kids responded well. To score every possession, that’s pretty impressive,” said Highland coach Brody Benson, whose team scored 33 points in the second quarter.
Big plays were the norm for Highland.
In addition to recovering an onside kick that caught Wasatch completely by surprise in the second quarter, it also scored on a 76-yard TD reception with 57 seconds remaining in the half that came two plays after an interception halted a Wasatch drive.
Highland put it on cruise control in the second half to advance to the 5A quarterfinals, where it will face top-ranked Corner Canyon next Friday.
Highland finished with 504 yards of total offense, with quarterback Cole Peterson spreading it around for 171 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to rushing for two touchdowns.
“We did a good job up front controlling the ball. A lot of times it looked like we had them outmanned, and I thought we did a good job,” said Benson.
Early on, it looked like Highland might be in for a dogfight against the third seed from Region 8.
Wasatch opened the game with a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive that Brock Cloward capped with a 10-yard TD pass to Daymon Vargas for a 7-0 lead.
After Highland answered back with a quick score on a Siope Tenifa 4-yard plunge, Wasatch again marched downfield on a 15-play drive that ended with a Zach Davis 22-yard field goal with three seconds left in the first quarter for the 10-7 lead.
By the time Wasatch scored again 11 minutes later, Highland had already put the game out of reach.
Cole Peterson scored on a 1-yard TD with 8:07 left in the second, and after a Wasatch punt, Treyton Keyes scored from 19 yards out for a 21-10 lead with 4:21 remaining.
The nail for Wasatch came on the ensuing onside kick, which Doubmia recovered.
“In watching film, we said if they were going to give us that, they have one guy that would creep in and if they gave it we could call it from the side, and my guys did a great job of not giving it away No. 1, but then being dialed in and picking up on the call from the sideline,” said Benson.
Peterson scored on his second rushing TD of the game four plays later to push the lead to 28-10.
Highland added more TDs in the final 57 seconds of the half on a Keyes 76-yard TD reception and then Doubmia’s big kick return.
In between, Wasatch cut the deficit to 34-17 on a Kaden Baxter 1-yard TD reception right before the half, but the momentum was very short-lived.