RIVERTON — Riverton was held scoreless after a lightning delay Friday night, but managed to hold off a second-half Skyridge comeback attempt thanks to a pair of first-half defensive touchdowns which propelled its tough 24-21 victory.
"We're small, but we try to confuse you. We're going to try to hit you from all angles and make you throw on us." Riverton head coach Jody Morgan said. "It's scary, but we trust it because we train it all the time."
About seven minutes after the opening kickoff, Riverton senior linebacker Tristyn Hymas picked off a pass by Skyridge quarterback Jayden Clemons and returned it 24 yards to the Skyridge 3-yard line. That play set up junior running back Curtis Jackson’s 2-yard scamper to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:53 left in the first quarter.
Senior defensive back Hunter Williams one-upped his teammate four minutes later, snuffing out a third-down screen pass and scoring his team’s second touchdown of the night on a 50-yard interception return to make it 14-7.
Hymas picked off his second pass with 9:15 left in the half, returning it 45 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7. He ended with 70 return yards on the two interceptions.
"Tristyn is a big-time player," Morgan said. "If big-time schools aren't looking at him, they have a problem. He's probably one of the best players in the state who's not being talked about, to be honest with you."
After two second-half scores, the Falcons had a chance to force overtime in the final minutes, but senior kicker Connor Harris' 35-yard field goal attempt missed after a messy snap.
Riverton had 73 yards of total offense, compared to Skyridge's 417.
"Our offense needs to find some rhythm. It looks like we're very stagnant," Morgan said. "Our defense stepped up when they needed to."
Skyridge led early. Clemons connected with junior receiver Dylan Samuels for a 27-yard gain that took Skyridge to the opposing 30-yard line. That play set up Clemons’ 31-yard pass to senior receiver Nathan Upham a couple plays later to make it 7-0 Falcons three minutes into the contest.
With about six minutes left in the third quarter, Clemons scampered 20 yards on an option keeper, setting up senior running back Payton Ainsworth’s 3-yard run to make it 24-14.
Skyridge receivers came up big on the next drive. Clemons hit junior receiver Dylan Samuels for a 50-yard gain to get near midfield, then connected with senior receiver Nathan Upham for 47-yards to get inside the five-yard line.
Sophomore James Palmer scored on a 3-yard pass from Clemons to make it a three-point game with 11 minutes left.Comment on this story
"Skyridge is really good. They've got a lot of talent," Morgan said. "We just put everyone on notice."
Clemons had 249 yards and two touchdowns to go with his 59 rushing yards. Upham finished with 135 yards and a score, while Samuels totaled 85 yards.
Skyridge (0-1) will next face Lone Peak at home on Friday, while Riverton (1-0) hosts Corner Canyon. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.
"This win has everything to do with the players," Morgan said. "I make them do so much more than football, and I can tell you great players come from great parents."