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Riverton holds on late to upset Mountain Ridge

Mountain Ridge players celebrates after a touchdown during the third quarter of a high school football game against Wasatch High on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Wasatch High School in Heber. Mountain Ridge won 40-30.

Mountain Ridge players celebrates after a touchdown during the third quarter of a high school football game against Wasatch High on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Wasatch High School in Heber. Mountain Ridge won 40-30. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

HERRIMAN — In a matchup that featured two of the top teams from Region 3, it was Riverton that came out on top over Mountain Ridge to claim a 24-21 win Friday night.

Mountain Ridge climbed to an impressive 7-1 record in only their third year as a school — a drastic improvement from their 0-11 record their first season — but the old guard stood in the way.

In a wild game that included multiple roughing the punter penalties, blocked kicks and enough pass inference calls to fill an NFL Sunday, it all came down to fourth-and-7 just outside of the Silverwolves' 30-yard line. Sentinels quarterback Ayden Helm decided to keep the ball on am option play, but was swiftly met by a pack of Silverwolves well short of the first down. Riverton held on to the upset win.

"Our guys just kept fighting," Riverton head coach Jody Morgan said. "Our defense really got after it, and we just toughed it out all game long. I couldn't be prouder of these guys."

"It was a good, hard-fought win and we were able to come out on top because we worked together as a team," Silverwolves running back Sau Tafisi, who ran hard all night long and forced a bevy of missed tackles and extended multiple drives, said.

Morgan said he was impressed by quarterbacks Jake Myers and Colby Barton, who both played large stretches of the game.

"There is no ego in our quarterback room, and I'd like to say there's no ego on our team," Morgan said. "Were all we got but were all we need, so you can't have egos you have to extinguish them."

The heavy rain fall on the night led to sloppy play from both teams, who struggled to move the ball through the air.

Helm and the Sentinels struck first when the junior quarterback kept it on the option play and ran untouched for a 48-yard touchdown with 2:28 reaming in the first quarter.

The second quarter was dominated by the Silverwolves and was led by Myers and Tafisi, who helped the offense rattle off 17 straight points to take a 17-7 lead at the half.

"I feel like I prepared really well this week and my coaches really helped me out by breaking down the film," Myers said.

Even though Mountain Ridge trailed by double digits at the halftime break and lost their star running back and linebacker Cade Uluave to injury, the Sentinels did not quit. Many of the starters on the Sentinels' roster had played since the program's winless first season — and a lot had changed since those early days.

This newfound maturity helped the Sentinels put themselves in position to get back into the game. With 6:33 in the third quarter, Helm threw a pass that looked destined to be intercepted, but the bounced off a defenders' hands and into the arms of Sentinels receiver Ethan Garn, who ran it in for a 40-yard touchdown. On the Silverwolves' first play after the score, a high snap gave Mountain Ridge a safety and allowed them to close the gap even more, trailing 17-15 with 6:27 to go in the third.

In need of a score, Riverton turned to Barton, who rewarded his team by finding Josh Jacobson in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 24-15 with a little over a minute remaining in the third.

On the ensuing position, Helm connected with his go-to receiver, the 6-foot-4 Jordan Day, on a 10-yard touchdown pass, closing the gap by 3 points with just under 12 minutes to play in regulation.

The rest of the fourth quarter was a defensive battle, with the Silverwolves making the final stop to come out on top.

Riverton ends the regular season at Bingham for a chance at the Region 3 crown. Mountain Ridge will host Herriman for their senior night to close out their regular season.

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