I love this team so much because they play with that emotion, especially against Granger. This is a great rivalry. And Granger played good. —Hunter head coach Scott Henderson
WEST VALLEY CITY — Trevon Johnson has always preferred basketball to football.
But after a career-best performance that included rushing for 219 yards and scoring four touchdowns, the Hunter senior might need to re-think his commitment to hoops.
"I might have to switch over," said the running back with a grin after helping the Wolverines to a 34-14 win over rival Granger Friday night in front of a packed house. "Basketball is my sport; I just like it better. But football comes natural."
Not a lot looked natural offensively in the first half of Friday's contest. Both teams played well defensively but couldn't seem to get their offenses firing as neither scored in the first half.
The second half couldn't have been more different.
Hunter began the third quarter with a six-play scoring drive capped by Johnson's first touchdown — a 14-yard run — for the first score of game. Three plays later, Granger fumbled and Hunter's Tia Tia recovered the ball at the Granger 26-yard-line.
Another six-play drive ended with a 1-yard run by quarterback Shaun Scanlan to give Hunter a 14-0 lead.
Granger's Tani Lehauli put the Lancers on the scoreboard with a 95-yard kickoff return on the next play of the game. The Lancers' only other score came when Magdi Hakim scooped up a ball stripped from a Hunter running back and ran it 45 yards for a touchdown.
But Granger's defense would find it impossible to stop Johnson, who scored on the next two drives with a 50-yard run and a 37-yard run.
The difference in the second half, said Johnson, was that he decided to follow his coach's advice.
"He told me to run hard and trust my blocks," he said. "I was hesitating. I thought I could beat them on the outside, that I was faster and could outrun them."
Once he trusted his teammates to open holes for him, he was nearly unstoppable.
Hunter head coach Scott Henderson said he didn't say anything special at halftime, but he believed much of the first-half issues stemmed from too much emotion.
"We were just kind of not doing the right things," said Henderson. "We kept going the wrong way; running the plays the wrong way. ... This is a big rivalry and the kids were just hyped up, and it took us a while to get calmed down.
"They play with so much emotion; I love this team so much because they play with that emotion, especially against Granger. This is a great rivalry. And Granger played good."
Senior offensive lineman Willie Peterson said the start was a little frustrating, but the team was determined to change the energy of the game.
"We came out with a whole new fire in us in that second half," he said. "We were a different team out there; we felt it."
Henderson was proud of the fight his team showed in every aspect of the game. He acknowledged he's lucky to have the depth he does, especially at running back.
"I'm so blessed to have the depth at running back, the depth at line, and defensively, these kids just love it" Henderson said. "They love to hit and take care of business."
The homecoming win, said Johnson, was more than just another victory.
"It's a huge game to us," he said. "We came into this wanting to show that Hunter football is back."