It’s incredible for the guys. None of them have experienced that. This is a great achievement. —Skyridge head coach Jon Lehman on his team advancing to the 5A semifinals
LEHI — When the clock finally ran out at Skyridge High School Friday night, the Falcons had a 45-43 lead on the Jordan Beetdiggers in a 5A quarterfinal contest.
If there had been any more time, who knows what might have happened? The teams combined for 980 offensive yards and had everything, including an occasional taste of defense that provided excitement all the way to the end.
Most importantly, though, it resulted in Skyridge going to the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium to play in the semifinals.
“It’s incredible for the guys,” said Skyridge coach Jon Lehman, whose team improved to 11-1 overall. “None of them have experienced that. This is a great achievement.”
The Falcons, only a second-year school, will play undefeated Corner Canyon in an 11 a.m. game next Thursday. Jordan finished with a 7-5 record, but coach Kaleo Teriipaia wasn’t dissastisfied.
“These guys are all fighters,” Kaleo Teriipaia said. “That’s the kind of guys we have here. They play their hearts out and never give up.”
Led by senior quarterback Crew Wakley, the Beetdiggers jumped to a 10-0 lead, and Wakley’s 32-yard touchdown run gave them a 30-28 advantage at intermission.
Skyridge, which whipped Skyline 55-0 last week in its playoff opener, finally was able to show some of that defense in the third quarter. The Falcons stopped Jordan on one drive, then Blayden Togiai intercepted Wakley, stopping another and setting up a 20-yard field goal by Connor Harris that ended up being the difference.
“We really didn’t do anything different,” said Lehman. “We just changed up our personnel, then we got a few plays on offense and got some tempo and moved the ball.”
Wakley finished his impressive Jordan career by completing 14 of 30 passes for 156 yards and rushed for 117 more. Teo said Wakley was taken out of game in the fourth quarter with concussion symptoms, but his replacement, junior Christian Bruderer, entered the game and engineered two touchdown drives that set up the exciting end. The first one culminated on a 46-yard scoring pass to Jake Shaver, and then Shaver moved Jordan to within 45-43 with a great effort on a 2-yard touchdown run.
On the ensuing two-point conversion try, however, Shaver was stopped short of the goal line by a host of Falcon defenders, and Nathan Upham ended Jordan’s last chance by recovering the onside kick.
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise, Idaho, and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high-school sports articles for the Deseret News.