BOUNTIFUL — After falling behind 20-14 in the second overtime of Friday's Region 5 opener at Bountiful, Robbie Gunther's Box Elder Bees dug deep. After two short runs netted a first down at the 14, senior Bernard Pena scampered through a hole off the left side and shimmied his way into the end zone to tie the game at 20-20.
Sophomore kicker Keaton Lamb had missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt in the first overtime, but with the game on the line, he nailed the extra point as the Bees earned a 21-20 win while moving to 1-0 in region play.
“Our theme this week was mental toughness to be like rubber and take anything and adjust and be resilient,” Gunter said. “We made a lot of mistakes but just kept going and tonight is a true team win.”
While Bountiful was able to move the ball via the air, the Braves didn't put a score on the board until 28 seconds left in the half. Zack Riordan hit Brig Willard with a 5-yard touchdown pass that leveled the game at 7-7 at halftime.
What ensued was a great defensive battle for much of the third quarter but the Bees took a 14-7 lead with 6:43 remaining on a 31-yard bootleg from Buchanan.
The Braves, playing without starting quarterback Riordan who was injured in the third, got a lift from backup quarterback, Willard. The 6-foot-3, 190 lb. senior found Josh Welling for a 22-yard score using a terrific scrambling effort to evade tacklers before finding Welling in the right flat. That score at the 2:53 mark tied the game at 14-14 to force overtime.
Box Elder missed the field goal on its first possession and the Braves fumbled on their second snap to send the game to double-overtime.
Bountiful took its first lead of the night when Willard scored on a keeper, but the PAT failed giving Box Elder the opening they needed in the win.
“We got down last week and we learned how to keep our composure,” Buchanan said. “We all worked together, trusted each other and pulled through.”
A fired-up Box Elder team improved to (1-0, 4-1) heading into next week's home game against Viewmont.Comment on this story
“Both teams competed and did some good things,” Gunter said. “I love how our line is playing, all three running backs ran well and our defense played so hard and just wouldn't let Bountiful get anything going.
For Bountiful (0-1, 2-3) its obviously disappointed head coach Tyler Hughes talked about how hard his guys played.
“They battled and they did everything we asked of them we just didn't make enough plays down the stretch,” Hughes said. “They compete and work hard every day and so it is disappointing because they battled so hard to get back into it.”