SALT LAKE CITY — Among the many standouts in Lone Peak’s 29-0 6A semifinal win over Pleasant Grove — played Thursday afternoon at Rice-Eccles Stadium — including Kobe Freeman, Nate Ritchie, Brock McChesney and Cade Baker, none stood out more than defensive end Michael Daley.
That was for good reason.
“Michael is unbelievable. That is why he is going to BYU,” Lone Peak head coach Bart Brockbank said. “He just makes plays. It isn’t coaching, it is just straight him.”
Daley’s instincts and playmaking ability have been on display all season long — heading into Thursday’s game, Daley had registered 56 tackles and a team-high 18 sacks — and they were on display early and often during the Knight’s runaway victory.
The senior recorded nine tackles against the Vikings, including three and a half tackles for a loss, as well as two and a half sacks.
Those stats don’t tell the complete story, either. Daley’s near constant pressure on Pleasant Grove quarterback Jake Jensen helped lead to a 17 for 39 passing performance by the Viking’s signal caller.
He wasn’t alone, either.
Oborn finished with three tackles, Mili as well. Finlayson added two tackles, including one and a half tackles for a loss, while Wood had one.
Together, the group controlled the line of scrimmage and with it Pleasant Grove’s two stars, Jensen and running back Dayne Christiansen.
“We had a great game plan coming into this week, a plan to shut them down,” Daley said. “The talk coming into this week was that they had Jake (Jensen) back, they’d have their starter back and be able to roll down on us — Jensen missed the region game between the Knights and the Vikings, played on October 12th, with an injury. “I thought we did a really good job stepping up and executed well enough to shut them out, obviously.”
More than just the game plan, it was effort that powered the Knights defensive front.
“It is just effort,” Daley said. “Our defensive coordinator, Ryan Denney, really drills it into our heads that effort is huge in football. Running plays down from behind, giving 100 percent every single play. If you have guys doing that every single play good things are going to come.”
Good things happened often for Lone Peak, which sacked Jensen a total of five times.Comment on this story
Nowhere was 100 percent effort more clear, however, than on the multiple Jensen throws that were either tipped or batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Daley had the highlight, as his second quarter tip led to a Keegan Nitta interception.
“It is just ball awareness,” he said. “You just see Jake’s eyes and you’ll see him look at the guy, step back and try and make a play. It is more like instinct.”
Instinct, effort, playmaking ability — it was all on display for the Knights.
“Great defense,” Brockbank said. “Jake is such a great quarterback and Dayne... to shut those guys out is pretty impressive.”