HERRIMAN — As Sawyer Heaton trotted toward the Desert Hills bench following his second goal in the span of four minutes, he had a response that would have made Michael Jordan proud.
With a conspicuous smile, he slightly raised his shoulders in a shrug.
It was just one of those days. For Heaton — and for the Thunder.
“I don’t know; that just came to me,” Heaton said of his reaction.
And the Desert Hills junior wasn’t done yet. Heaton finished with a hat trick to lead Desert Hill past Mountain Crest 5-1 in the 3A semifinals Friday at Herriman High school.
Heaton’s first goal came just under 11 minutes into the game when he volleyed a waist-high ball into the net to get the Thunder going. And, well, they never really stopped.
“One of our main things coming into this game was coming out strong,” Heaton said. “We know that this team (Mountain Crest), they are winning on pure heart. We knew we had to come out strong.”
Four minutes after his first goal, Heaton found the net again with a strike from the left side. Then, with 13 minutes remaining in the first half, Garrett Lewis headed in a cross to give the defending 4A champions a 3-0 lead.
Mountain Crest’s lone goal came on a free kick from just outside the box that Chase Oakley was able to deflect into the net. But that wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with Desert Hills on Friday.
“We lost 12 seniors last year, but we five or six guys that had some quality time,” Desert Hills head coach Benji Nelson said.
Heaton was among those.
Heaton’s brother, Walker, was one of the heroes of last year’s state title team. Walker scored two goals in the final to help the Thunder to their first state championship. One year later, it’s Sawyer doing the heavy lifting.
Sawyer Heaton finished off his hat trick with an early second-half goal — and he even sent a fourth one into the net, but it was called back.
“We got the win, that’s all that matters,” said Heaton.
In the second minute of the game, Ben Simister hit a long free kick that forced Mountain Crest keeper Jadyn McBride to push the ball over the crossbar. That wasn’t the only such long-range attack that nearly found its way into the net. Or a short one for that matter.
“We anticipated that with the group that we had coming up, we probably would be better than last year’s team,” Nelson said.
It’d be hard to argue after seeing the Thunder in action on Friday. And with one more win, they can match what that year’s squad did.
Sky View 1, Mountain View 0
HERRIMAN — Sky View had to hold its collective breath.
The Bobcats were three seconds away from a semifinal win; three seconds from playing in Rio Tinto and fulfilling childhood dreams; three seconds from playing for a championship.
But it wasn’t going to be easy final ticks.
The clock was stopped and Mountain View’s Jondre Davila was readying for a free kick from just outside the box.
“I’ve seen film on No. 10 (Davilla),” Sky View coach Jorge Cruz said. “I know that he’s put a lot of balls in from that distance. I was nervous.”
He wasn’t the only one.
The Sky View sideline went eerily silent as Davilla positioned himself behind the ball. But the silence didn’t last long. Davilla’s shot soared into the hands of Sky View keeper Malik Horman sending the Bobcats into bedlam.
Sky View survived with a 1-0 win over the Bruins in the 4A semifinals at Herriman High School Friday evening. The Bobcats will face Desert Hills in Saturday’s final.
It might not be a game that will be remembered for its beauty. There were poor passes, wasted possession, miscommunication and even one straight up whiff. But for Sky View, one swift strike made the result absolutely beautiful.
With nearly 20 minutes remaining, Jake Johnson sent a low, powerful strike from just inside the penalty box into the back of the net to break the scoreless deadlock.
“I saw the ball come to my feet, I took the shot, it went in,” Johnson said. “It was a good time to go in.”
And the heroic performance came after Johnson has spent time this season nursing a knee injury and missing a couple of weeks.
“I’m glad he stepped up in this game,” Cruz said. “He was phenomenal. He was stopping everything, the accuracy on his passes was amazing. He was the difference in this game.”