SALT LAKE CITY — During much of Friday's Lone Peak-Highland game, Rams safety Bronson Olevao was flying around the field on defense, breaking up passes and making textbook tackles. But, with the Rams leading 7-3 midway through the fourth quarter, Olevao made the play of the night on offense.
With just under seven minutes remaining, Olevao caught a Trajan Benson pass over the middle, broke free of any potential tacklers, and took it to the house for a 66-yard touchdown that helped Highland improve to 3-1 with the 21-9 win.
“We don't throw very often so when we throw we need to make it hurt,” said Highland coach Brody Benson.
Benson added a 5-yard rushing touchdown late that upped the lead to 21-3. Lone Peak scored its only touchdown of the night as time expired when Mason Wake broke free for a 78-yard touchdown run.
“It wasn't a pretty game at all but sometimes ya gotta win ugly,” Benson said. “It was a fight and that's a great football team we beat tonight.”
Offense was sparse in this one but there were big plays all over the field. Highland took the opening kick and was forced to punt. When the Lone Peak returner muffed that punt, senior Sam Heckel dug out the ball back at the Knights' 8-yard line. One play later Highland's Matthew Lloyd scored, giving Highland a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, with Knights quarterback Braden Siri moving the chains, Lone Peak drove inside the Rams' 10-yard line. That drive was snuffed out when Ben Nielsen intercepted Siri at the 1-yard line off a deflected pass. Siri was intercepted again late in the second quarter, this time by Brennan Going.
But as the half drew near, and with Wake and Siri moving the chains, the Knights threatened with their second drive inside the Rams' 10. After two incomplete passes Lone Peak settled for a 24-yard field goal from Nate Ritchie to cut the lead to 7-3 at the half.
“Lone Peak is an explosive offense so we just wanted to be in a good position and fly around and make plays,” said Kautai Olevao, the Rams' defensive coordinator. “We needed to match their physicality and I think we did that.”
For Benson, Friday's win marked his 100th at Highland. Benson said it has been an awkward start to the football season with a canceled game, then a loss to a good Pine View squad and a blowout win over Hillcrest. With his daughter in his arms to celebrate the victory, Benson called it a phenomenal win for his squad.
“We've always stressed to be tougher in the fourth quarter than we were in the first. These guys train that way and tonight we showed it,” he said.
Highland opens Region 6 play at Murray and Benson said his squad will be ready.
“We needed to have a tough game to find out if we are a tough football team and I think we showed that we are just that tonight,” he said.
Lone Peak, 2-2, hosts Kearns next week.