COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — With just a few ticks left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Brighton found itself on the Olympus 27-yard line trailing by a touchdown. After the defense had just made a massive third-down stop behind linebacker Lander Barton, the offense was quickly moving the chains as they sought out the game-tying touchdown.
On a third-and-10 situation, sophomore quarterback Jack Johnson scanned the field in search of an open receiver to try and keep the potential comeback drive alive. After waiting in the pocket and scrambling to the left, Johnson fired a bullet pass toward one of his receivers down the sideline, which initially seemed to be completed
However, after bouncing high off the receivers hands, Titans defensive back Sam Kernodle planted his feet in bounds as he outstretched his hands to bring down the interception and seal the game 35-28.
Following the game-winning interception, the Titans assumed victory formation and simply ran out the clock in what turned out to be a thriller and a closely contested football game.
The game was dramatic from the beginning as the Bengals marched down the field behind Johnson's aerial attacks on their very first possession. This included a beautifully floated ball to Nash Matheson in the corner of the end zone to cap off the drive and take an early 7-0 lead.
However, following the kickoff, the game experienced a nearly 90-minute weather delay as lightning struck multiple times in the surrounding area.
After the lengthy delay, Olympus responded with a touchdown behind the rushing efforts of Sam Seagle and Ryan Reynard. Notably, Reynard capped off the drive with an 18-yard touchdown run right up the middle as he exploded up the field, side stepped a defender and then dove into the end zone.
While the Titans put 6 points on the board, the kicker missed the PAT wide to the right and Olympus trailed Brighton 7-6 with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Following a few changes in possession, Johnson orchestrated another impressive drive that resulted in an another touchdown pass to Matheson to take a 14-6 lead with 1:06 left in the first.
While the momentum seemed to be with the Bengals, the Titans flipped the script and scored 22 unanswered points in the second quarter. Olympus demonstrated their versatility during the run and scored on the ground courtesy of Reynard and quarterback Seth Roberts, but also attacked through the air, including a 71-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Olsen.
"It was seven to nothing Brighton, but we went in for what was over an hour long lightning delay. We were able to regroup, used it to our advantage and then got into a groove offensively. We were just running our basic, basic stuff and I am very pleased with it. It was a lot of fun," Olympus head coach Aaron Whitehead said.
At the half, Olympus took a commanding 28-14 lead and had effectively blindsided Brighton.
After coming up empty on their first few drives the Bengals would look to their defense to keep them in the ball game. Notably, Sophomore Siale Ofa answered the call as the young defensive-back greatly anticipated a poor throw by Roberts and intercepted the football. This couldn't have come at a better time as just a few plays later, running back Mitchell Dolato would pound his way into the end zone and close the gap to just 7 points.
Olympus responded by driving the ball 90 yards on the ground behind running back Josh Peterson, who crosed the goal line for 6 points with only 5:58 remaining and a rejuvenated two-possession game.
But the Bengals refused to go away quietly and quickly marched down the field 77 yards, with Johnson finding Barton in the back of the end zone.
On the ensuing drive, the Brighton defense did their job and quickly forced a three-and-out and set the offense up beautifully on the Titans 37-yard line. But despite all it, the Titans defense made the biggest play of the night and intercepted Johnson for the fifth time and emerged victorious 35-28 in what was a closely contested and highly dramatic edition of Friday Night Lights.
"This is big for us," Whitehead said. "The injury bug is hitting us hard so this was a hard-fought win for us. This is a big one. To get a win against Brighton, to come in here, it's not an easy task. So I am just happy to get away with it."
With the victory, Olympus improves to 4-1 on the season and will face East on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. MT. Meanwhile, Brighton drops to 3-2 and will host Skyline Friday.