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LEHI — Pleasant Grove running back Colton Babb gave the Lehi Pioneers a taste of their own medicine Friday night by rushing for 261 yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings snapped a three-game losing streak with a 31-13 victory over the Pioneers.
“I think we found ourselves out there this evening,” Pleasant Grove coach Dale Sampson said. “It’s hard to create a real game situation in practice, but we had a good week. I’m glad Mr. Babb was able to break away a couple of times and score for us, but you have to have some big linemen step up and create those holes for our running backs to use. It is a great team win and I am happy for them.”
In their first five games, the Pioneers averaged 425 yards rushing per game.
Lehi senior running back Zane Munger, the state’s top rusher, and junior Folo Ulikivaiola, who is fourth, entered the game averaging 179 yards and 135 yards per game, respectively, and have helped their team win impressive games over Timpanogos and Payson.
On this occasion, however, Pleasant Grove’s defense came prepared and held Lehi’s potent offense to just 250 yards rushing on 37 carries, and only 256 yards total offense for the game.
“We knew that Lehi is a running team and we had to buckle down big time through the second half in order to shut them down,” said Pleasant Grove defensive lineman Brandon Fanaika.
Pleasant Grove received the opening kick-off and marched downfield, and junior Trevor Ward capped the drive with a 33-yard field goal.
Not to be denied, Ulikivaiola broke through a hole and skirted 68 yards for a touchdown and was also successful running a two-point conversion and Lehi jumped ahead 8-3.
On the first play of the second quarter, Pleasant Grove senior quarterback Paul Hatch scored from a yard out on a keeper and the Vikings retook the lead at 10-8 with 11:30 left in the half.
Midway through the quarter Lehi senior kicker Garrett Bayles booted an 18-yard field goal, giving the Pioneers the 11-10 lead at the half.
The Pioneers received the ball to open the second half and eight plays later punted and the Viking receiver mishandled the ball near the goal line. On a controversial call, the officials awarded Lehi a safety.
Following an interception by senior Tano Tuaitanu, Babb raced 80 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings the lead for good at 17-13.
Running through holes created by the Viking’s offensive line, Babb broke out two more times, scoring on both carries.
Behind Babb, the Pleasant Grove tallied 340 total offensive yards.
Pleasant Grove (3-3, 1-0) hosts Riverton (2-4, 0-1) Sept. 30, while Lehi (2-4, 0-1) travels to American Fork (3-3, 0-1) for a region contest with the Cavemen.
Kent Allen covers Pleasant Grove High School Varsity sports and is a contributor through Deseret Connect and can be reached at email@example.com.