BOUNTIFUL — It might have felt like a hot August night, but Friday's Bountiful-Lone Peak football game had the emotion of a championship contest.
The two teams could easily end up playing for it all in their respective divisions in a few months. But in the season opener it was the Braves who outlasted the Knights, 31-21.
"We showed we could play with anybody. We weren't intimidated," said Bountiful coach Larry Wall.
Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary, on the other hand, felt like this one got away.
"In the first half, we gave up too many points," he said. "And then we made a bonehead play at the end. We'll learn from it, and come back."
It was a team effort for the Braves. Quarterback Trevor Lloyd passed for 247 yards and two touchdowns, Ryan Curtis returned a punt 45 yards for a score, and Sam Merrill and Tanner Redding had several big catches. However, the game wasn't decided until the final minutes.
Lone Peak's defense smothered Bountiful for much of the second half and Talon Shumway's acrobatic 22-yard touchdown catch cut the Braves' lead to 24-21 with 10:19 left.
Bountiful took over and Lloyd engineered a drive that seemed to fall short when he was wrestled out-of-bounds on a fourth-down play at the Lone Peak 19. The officials, however, ruled he was hit late and handed the Knights a 15-yard penalty.
Lloyd injured his knee on the play and never returned.
Wall said his status probably won't be known until next week. Junior Jordan Hayes came into the game and, on his second play, connected with Redding on a 20-yard pass.
That led to a 4-yard run by Jakob Hunt that put the game away.
"That was a big play,"?said Wall. "That kept our drive going and gave us momentum."
It should be noted that even the Lone Peak bench didn't object to the foul. The Knights' loss ended a streak of 14 consecutive wins, which included last season's 5A crown.
Lone Peak didn't waste any time trying to recapture last season's magic. Senior quarterback Braden Miles connected on five straight passes on the opening drive and the Knights scored just 1:17 into the game. Miles ended up throwing for 282 yards and was not intercepted. He played for most of the time, except for a stretch in the third quarter when the Knights' offense seemed to bog down. Baron Gajkowski, a former Jordan High player, led the offense for three drives. Gajkowski was a much bigger running threat, but Bountiful kept him from any big gains.
Junior Hamilton was the Braves' big playmaker on defense.
He and Merrill anchored the defense. Merrill had a pass interception and averaged almost 40 yards as the team's punter.
"It was a good game for us," said Wall. "We've played Lone Peak almost every year for quite a while now and they're always tough. This was a good indicator for what kind of team we are."?