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OREM — It is becoming clear that Orem High wideout Cole Payne is an offensive weapon that the Tigers will rely heavily on as they make a run for the Region 8 title this year.
Springville found out the hard way Friday night just how good Payne is. Payne scored two spectacular touchdowns three minutes apart in the fourth quarter to close the game 28-27. Both touchdowns were short-screen passes from sophomore backup quarterback Parker Overly, which Payne took and weaved his way in and out of traffic for 55 yards and 25 yards respectively.
"All I know is that we were down and I had to make most of what they (Springville) gave me. I had to make up for a subpar first-half permormance," said Payne.
In that first half, Springville's defense tighted up and held Orem to just over 100 yards offensively and by double-teaming Payne and keeping him to two receptions. One of those was a seven-yard TD reception to cut Springville's lead 15-7.
Offensively, the Red Devils clicked on all cylinders by taking a 15-0 lead behind the arm of senior quarterback Steve Bates. Bates capitalized on broken coverages by Orem's secondary by completing a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout McKay Murphy and a 73-yard bomb to Jaylon Miyasaki. After Orem's first score in the second quarter, Bates found Miyasaki wide open in endzone for a five-yard TD pass.
"Springville is not your typical 0-5 team. They are very good offensively with their quarterback and receivers," Orem coach Tyler Andersen said. "I told our team this week that we cannot overlook these guys because they are capable of beating anyone. But I am proud of our team for fighting back and showing that they have a lot of character."
Although Orem scored with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Andersen, who is known for his play-calling abilities, did something that even his players doubted at first. Andersen entertained the thought of going for two points and the win.
"I trust our players, and I had a lot of confindence in Parker (Overly), so I talked to coach Bob Steele (defensive coordinator) to see what he wanted to do. At first, we were going to kick the field goal and we decided not to, but they jumped outside and we took advantage of it," said Andersen.
"We knew that if we didn't make the extra points, we still had enough time to do something because our defense stepped it up with two straight three and outs," he added.
Knowing that his team and his coach put their trust in him, Overly calmly took the snap and zipped a pass to senior Joe Jensen to give the Tigers a 29-28.
"I didn't want to make any mistakes and the pressure was there. I just felt that I had to make that play because I didn't want to lose this game for us," said Overly.
Overly, who started because starter Tyler Camp was out with a concussion from last week's game against Salem Hills, completed 15-21 passes with 213 yards and three touchdown passes.
"Parker managed the game well, he did a great job out there," said Andersen.
"It was a controversial call because some of us wanted to just kick the extra point, but we trust coach Andersen's decisions and having him trust us like that is awesome," said senior runningback Kaleb Egbert.
Egbert started the third qarter with a bang as he rumbled from 39 yards out to cut Springville's lead 14-21.
With time on the clock, Springville behind backup qarterback Peyton Thorpe moved the ball into Tiger territory with a 38-yard pass completion to Miyasaki on fourth-down play. But any chance of a comeback was twarted by senior outside linebacker Brady Call who intercepted Thorpe's pass intended for Miyasaki down near the Tiger's five-yard line. With five seconds left in the game, Thorpe's desperation heave was intercepted by junior defensive back Jake Miller to seal Orem's victory.
The Tigers (4-2, 3-0) will host Timpview (4-2, 3-0) in the battle of the unbeatens in Region 8 play, while Springville (0-6) hosts Salem Hills (2-4).