That statement, however, was more for them than it was for the rest of the teams on Bountiful’s schedule as the Braves took down the Knights 31-21.
“That was a good statement for us,” said Braves coach Larry Wall. “We’re not trying to make a statement to the state or to the region, but to ourselves. We showed that we could play with anybody and that we weren’t intimidated.”
The Braves’ kept converting big plays during key moments in the game on offense, defense, and special teams against Lone Peak Friday night. Down seven points in the first quarter, Ryan Curtis returned a punt 48 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 7-7. Two minutes later the Braves scored again, this time on a 66 yard catch-and-run by receiver Tanner Redding on a perfectly placed pass by starting quarterback Trevor Lloyd.
After the Knights scored to tie the game at 14, Bountiful’s next two possessions each lasted 13 plays and ended in points as they took a 10-point halftime lead. The Braves’ first drive ended with a 21-yard field goal by Caleb Maynard, while the second ended with Lloyd finding Sam Merrill for a five-yard touchdown.
“I thought we had the momentum,” said Wall. “We were kind of in limbo, playing really soft, weren’t really sure where we were.”
Curtis’ touchdown, however, was just the spark the rest of the team needed as the game progressed, said Wall.
“It was huge,” he said. “It put us back on even terms and really got us going. (Curtis) did a great job. He’s a playmaker and does so many things for us.”
Bountiful’s defense continued to push back and get pressure on both Lone Peak quarterbacks Brayden Miles and Baron Gajkowski, stopping the Knights offense from scoring on seven straight possessions. A key defensive series for the Braves came when Lone Peak intercepted a pass from Lloyd and started in Bountiful’s territory. Three plays later, the Knights were sitting on the Bountiful 12 yard line.
An incompletion and back-to-back sacks by Bountiful senior Junior Hamilton forced Lone Peak to kick a field goal three plays later, which landed short of the goal posts.
“Junior played a great game,” said Wall. “I thought our defensive ends did a nice job of containing (the quarterback). That entire (defensive line) forced their quarterback to feel uncomfortable and that’s what we wanted.”
In the fourth quarter, however, Lone Peak got to within three points of tying the game after Miles found Talon Shumway for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Bountiful responded by going on a 15-play drive that lasted over seven minutes and was capped off by a Jakob Hunt three-yard scoring run with 3:01 remaining in the game. The Braves ran the ball on 12-of-15 plays and was aided by a fourth-down personal foul call when Lloyd was hit late scampering out of bounds. Two plays later, junior Jordan Hayes found Redding for a 20-yard gain that helped set up Hunt’s score.
GAME NOTES: Lloyd was 19-of-25 passing with 211 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He was injured during Bountiful’s final scoring drive, and Wall said after the game it appeared to be a knee injury. Hunt had 26 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown while Redding had seven catches for 138 yards and one touchdown. Merrill finished with seven catches for 49 yards and a touchdown reception. The Braves’ next game will be at Mountain View Friday night at 7 p.m.