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Focused Springville bounces back to hand Provo first loss of season

Springville and Provo play a high school football game at Provo, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Region 9 play.

Springville and Provo play a high school football game at Provo, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Region 9 play. (Sean Walker, KSL.com)


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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

PROVO — One week after taking their first loss of the season in a surprise setback to rival Spanish Fork, Springville's football team looked like a different team.

And that was just in the days leading up to their road kick at Provo.

Ryder Burton threw for three touchdowns and Cole Clement had a touchdown and an interception as Springville smothered Provo 34-14 to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the year.

"After that loss last week, we were really fired up. The most focused week of practice we've ever had," Clement said. "We just got into that rhythm, and once we got into rhythm, we were impossible to stop.

"That's the most focused we've ever been as a team, and it really, really benefited us."

With the win, the Red Devils improved to 5-1 overall with their first win in Region 9 play (1-1) — and perhaps more importantly, restored any confidence that may have been lost from last Friday's 36-28 loss to the Dons.

"That was a tough loss, and for us to rebound and come to work on Monday was what we needed. Our kids really responded," Springville coach Willy Child said. "Their focus was there, starting Monday, being still sick about the loss. But they knew we had to get back to work to beat a good Provo team.

"We know that's how our region is. Everybody can beat anybody else, so our kids woke up and realized we've got to go to work."

With Provo's loss and Cedar Valley's comeback win over Timpanogos on a late 2-point conversion, no unbeaten teams remain in 5A. The consensus top two teams in the classification — four-time defending champion Orem and Timpview — both rolled in their respective Region 8 openers to improve to 4-2 overall.

Springville's offense wasn't much to write home about early, but the Devils' defense more than made up for it. The visitors forced three first-half turnovers, including Clement's 21-yard interception in the first quarter that set up a four-turnover first half.

When Burton connected with Seth Rigtrup on an 8-yard screen pass for a touchdown to go up 13-0 with 1:18 left in the half, Springville's confidence soared.

"It's what we do; when our offense isn't doing so well, our defense always steps up," Clement said. "We just hold on until our offense can pick it up, because we know they always do."

Jaden Toki opened the third quarter with a 56-yard interception of his own, and Springville flipped the defensive play into Burton's 39-yard touchdown to Bradey Mortensen.

The Bulldogs pulled one back with 4:18 left in the third, when Jace Welsch found Feitagi Lesa for a 13-yard score that pulled the home team within 20-7.

But that would be as close as they'd get after Burton capped off the third with an 11-yard strike to Clement to go up 27-7.

"All the games we've won, it's been like that early," Child said. "It's sometimes taken our offense a while to get going, but our defense set the tone. That was huge for us, and it helped our offense relax a bit and start hitting the open guys."

Tevita Valeti added an 11-yard fourth-quarter touchdown for Springville to finish the scoring.

Welsch broke free for a 52-yard scoring sprint with 2:00 left for the Bulldogs (5-1, 1-1 Region 9).

Springville hits the road again next week at Wasatch before finishing the regular season with back-to-back home games against Maple Mountain and Salem Hills.

Provo hosts Spanish Fork Friday in a big region contest for both teams after the Dons' 29-0 shutout of Salem Hills.

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