RIVERTON — Springville entered its Friday night matchup against Riverton with an unblemished 3-0 record, but the Silverwolves were no cake walk for the Red Devils, who held on to a narrow 23-21 victory.
The first quarter was a stalemate as both sides struggled to run the ball against the opposition's defensive line. Red Devils head coach Willy Child is known for sticking with his rushing attack, so the Silverwolves packed the box with eight all night long; and the Silverwolves struggled to generate runs against the front four of the Red Devils, which is led by future BYU Cougar Dallin Johnson.
Both teams still had opportunities to score in the first quarter, but a fumble by the Silverwolves inside the Red Devils' 30-yard line and a blocked Springville field goal attempt by Riverton corner Lincoln Whiting put an end to any hopes of points on the board.
Springville put together an end to the scoring drought to start the second quarter when quarterback Ryder Burton found tight end Walker Deede all alone on a play-action pass for a 60-yard touchdown with 10:25 left to go in the quarter.
But the grudge match resumed after the touchdown, with the only other points of the first half coming from Red Devils kicker Zack Antonino, who drilled a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give his team a 10-0 lead at the half.
Silverwolves quarterback Jake Meyers and running back Sau Tafisi jumpstarted its offense when Meyers connected with Tafisi on the second play of the second half for what would become a 65-yard touchdown after Tafisi shook two defenders on his way to the end zone.
The Red Devils responded quickly with a long drive, but it stalled inside the red zone when Whiting had a huge pass breakup in the end zone mid-way through the third quarter.
The Silverwolves then put together a long drive that cumulated in a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Tafisi on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Riverton their first lead of the night, 14-10.
After a quiet third quarter, Burton and senior running back Seth Rigtrup got to work and led the Red Devils on a 73-yard drive that culminated in a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cole Clement with just over eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter. With the score, Springville retook the lead, but Whiting blocked his second kick of the game.
Clement continued to make his presence known in the fourth and picked off a pass from Meyers inside the Silverwolves 30-yard line. The Red Devils capitalized on this field position and Rigtrup found the end zone on a 3-yard run to give his team a 23-14 lead with 4:50 left to play.
Meyers bounced back from the turnover and rallied his squad for a touchdown drive, with Josh Jacobson making a catch in the end zone to make it a 2-point game with 2:27 to go. But the Red Devils secured the win on the ensuing drive with a first down.
"I'm proud of our guys and the way they overcame adversity," Child said. "Our defense played great, came up with some big turnovers and Clement was outstanding."
Clement made huge plays on both sides of the ball, and there's a reason Burton trusts his big tight end whenever he's in a pickle. "He's a dog and he has absolutely no fear, so I always trust him in those big moments," Burton said.
Springville moves to 4-0 on the season and will return home to host Spanish Fork Friday. Riverton now sits at 2-2 and will head south to take on Pleasant Grove.