WEST JORDAN — At times during warmups, Riverton quarterback Dayne McDonald will occasionally throw a wounded duck pass to his receivers.
“It worries me a bit,” jokes Riverton coach Jody Morgan.
Errant throws come with the territory for McDonald, who hadn’t played football the past eight years until some friends talked him into coming out and playing his senior season.
Even though he might not wow anyone with his mechanics from the pocket, he’s a gamer and he reiterated that again on Thursday night in leading Riverton to the dominant 38-7 win over West Jordan in the Region 3 opener.
McDonald passed for 103 yards and three touchdowns and then rushed for 97 yards and two more scores as Riverton scored 38 unanswered points after trailing 7-0 early.
“There’s a reason why he’s the point guard of our basketball team and there’s a reason why he’s the starting quarterback of our team. He’s a gamer,” said Morgan, whose team improved to 3-2 on the season with the win.
Its defense was the catalyst to the big region win. West Jordan came into the game averaging over 31 points a game but Riverton bottled up that potent attack in liming the Jaguars to just 239 yards of total offense and just one TD.
“We put a lot of pressure on people. We’re not very big up front but we’re fast so we try and use that to our capability. We trust in our secondary to kind of be put in some bad situations. We do give up big plays at times, but you’re going to have to get the ball off quick against us,” said Morgan.
Riverton’s defense gave up a few of those big plays in the opening two possessions, one of which gave West Jordan the lead 7-0 lead as Oakley Kopp hit David Moctezuma on a 26-yard TD pass in the corner of the end zone. One play earlier Kopp connected with Kalleb Klenk for 23 yards.
Kopp was 3 of 4 for 90 yards in those opening two possessions, but the success didn’t last. Over the rest of the first half, Riverton’s defense helped limit him to just 7 of 16 for 38 yards and he finished the game with just 152 passing yards and two interceptions.
West Jordan’s offense only had nine first downs after taking the 7-0 lead, two of which came from penalties.
Riverton’s offense, meanwhile, started a bit slower than West Jordan but eventually found its groove and pulled away by halftime.
After falling behind early Riverton scored on four of five possessions to build a 24-7 halftime lead. McDonald accounted for all three TDs.
The first put the Silverwolves ahead 10-7 as he scrambled 22 yards and then leaped over the goal line with 11:25 left in the second quarter.
On Riverton's final two drives of the half, Mcdonald hooked up with wide receiver Carter Miller on an 18-yard TD pass and then a 26-yard TD pass with 1:03 remaining in the half to push the lead to 24-7.Comment on this story
“I hadn’t got him a touchdown yet, and I told him before the game I’m going to get you some today, region starts today. He’s a tall kid so I knew if I could toss it up there he could get it,” said McDonald.
McDonald helped seal the win late in the fourth quarter as he tossed a 20-yard TD pass to Ayden Sluka and ran another one in from 25 yards.
“This game was huge for us, we started region and we want the region title. We to bring to Riverton, it’s been a while,” said McDonald.
Riverton’s only region title was a co-region championship back in 2013.