OREM — The Brighton Bengals were more than ready to finally take the field in their season opener Friday afternoon.
After postponing two previously scheduled matches due to snow, the 2012 5A runners-up burst out of the gates, taking just 20 seconds to score their first goal of the season.
“We’ve been champing at the bit to get playing,” Brighton coach Russ Boyer said after the Bengals’ 1-0 victory at Mountain View. “It’s good to see some grass. We’ve already had to reschedule two games for snow and been indoors a lot, so these guys were excited to play — and it showed.”
The Bengals, who are the top-ranked team in 5A to start the season, did not even wait for their first possession to come to them. The Bruins had the kickoff, but Brighton immediately applied pressure to take control of the ball.
“Right off the kick we had a good start, good pressure,” Boyer said. “We had good pressure to win the ball and then took it to the endline and played it across, and it was a good finish.”
Junior midfielder J Jones had that good finish, finding the corner of the net to give Brighton the early edge.
Boyer was pleased with the fast start as well as how his team played over the long haul. Goalkeepers Braedon Hickey, a senior, and Conner Dearden, a junior, split time in the net and combined to hold Mountain View scoreless, dropping them to 1-1-0 on the season.
“We’ve got a long ways to go but we saw some really positive things today,” Boyer added. “Mountain View showed us a lot in their formation and their style of play that we really need to work on.”
The coach added that the Bruins, who were the 2012 4A runners-up and top-ranked 4A team heading into the season, are consistently on the Brighton schedule because they push his team to improve.
“We play these high-quality opponents in the preseason so we can figure out (what we need to work on) as we’re going along,” he said. “I think they’re a great team. We love playing them, and it’s a good matchup.”
The Bengals now turn their attention to their home opener against Bingham, a match which Boyer wants his team to be just as excited to play.
“I expected our guys to be excited to play. We’ve got a lot of things to improve on, but I liked the effort tonight.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org