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Ryan Miller,

3-and-out: How Highland's offensive attack has brought the team together

By Ryan Miller and Sean Walker, | Posted - Aug. 24, 2019 at 7:17 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Last week, Highland junior running back Ben Boren didn’t get a single carry. Seven days later, on one of the first plays of the game, he was sprinting down the sideline en route to a 49-yard touchdown.

That’s just how it goes when you're part of the Rams’ triple-option offense.

There are no stars, no marquee names, no player that receives the bulk of the carries. Don’t take that to mean the Rams don’t have talent — far from it. It just means that every week a different player can be the one getting the big numbers.

And, if you ask the players, that’s exactly how they prefer it. The Ram rushers like celebrating each other’s successes just as much as their own.

“I enjoy watching my teammates run the ball,” Boren said following Highland’s convincing day 52-35 win over Pine View on Friday.

Good thing, too. Because there are a lot of them.

There’s senior Colton White, who busted out a 42-yard run on Friday. There’s senior Ousmane Doumbia, who rushed for two touchdowns. There’s senior Nephi Hosea, who ran for a 30-yard gain and added touchdown. There’s junior Joe Johnsen, who also found pay dirt.

Throw in the mix sophomore Ashton Olevao, QBs Hunter Lambert and Ashton Zwick, and Boren, of course, who had two long touchdown runs against the Panthers, and there’s a lot of guys causing headaches for opposing defenses.

“This offense is set up so we can get our best for runners on the field at the same time,” Highland coach Brody Benson said. “We have a lot of offensive weapons and we have a lot of guys who are unselfish; guys who're going out there and trying to make this team better.”

That might be the best thing about Highland’s triple-option attack: it necessitates the team be, well, a team. The players have to buy into the system and buy into the fact that they might not be getting the glory each and every week — or maybe ever. If a player is more worried about his own stats and his number of touches, he “doesn’t really last in this offense,” Benson said.

“You have to be unselfish,” Benson said. “You have to know that the ball is going to be spread around. That's the kind of guys that we have; they don't care who gets the recognition. They just want to go out and do their part.”

That mentality is what the Highland program is built on. The triple-option won’t work unless everyone is on the same page — from the rushers to the linemen to the receivers who spend most of their time blocking downfield to spring long runs. It takes everyone to pull it off.

“We have a lot of guys that can score and do well,” Boren said. “So I think having that, we all come together more.”

That’s just what Highland showed on Friday. Pine View had no answer for Highland’s rushing attack that produced six rushing touchdowns (from four different players) and at least seven runs of 20 yards or longer.

“On a week-to-week basis, somebody else could pop and have a big week,” Benson said.

That fact makes the team fun to coach — Benson gets to see different kids get awarded throughout the season — and it makes it fun to play in.

Every game could be your week. And sometimes, like Friday, it can be darn near everyone's.

And now, three more things we noticed in Week 2:

First down

A dog ran onto the field at Davis High, did his business, and spurred Viewmont to a road win

No, really, that’s what happened. Kind of. Read about how the Vikings picked up their first victory of the season with a lot of defense, a second-half safety, and a dog who couldn’t hold it any longer.

Second down

Spanish Fork spoils Cedar Valley’s opening

Cade Olsen helped the Dons pull away from a 7-7 halftime tie with three touchdowns in the first six minutes of the third quarter.

Olsen pulled in his second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard strike from Kaden Holt with 9:17 left in the third to pace a 28-0 third quarter.

Holt finished with three touchdown passes for the Dons, who improved to 1-1 on the season.

Jaxson Dastrup caught a pair of touchdown passes for the Aviators (0-2).

Third down

The streak was (almost) over

The Fighting Scots nearly three-year-long frustration appeared to be through.

Ben Lomond’s Thailen Pinkerton scored on a 24-yard run with 1:20 left to put the home team within 90 seconds of snapping the state’s longest active win streak.

Not today, Fighting Scots. Not today.

Jacob Negus threw his third touchdown pass with 17 seconds left to lift American Leadership Academy over Ben Lomond, 31-27 in Ogden and keep the streak alive (unfortunately).

ALA, which was led by Negus’ three touchdowns and a hat trick of receiving TDs from Marcus Kemp, improved to 2-0 with the win.

Ben Lomond hasn't won a game since Oct. 7, 2016. The losing steak now stands at 25.

Ryan Miller
Sean Walker

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