Sean Barton, Skyler Farnes and the rest of the Wildcats team celebrated what Woods Cross teams hadn’t been able to do for the past 22 seasons: beat the Bountiful Braves football team.
The duo, in combination with a strong defensive effort, helped to guide the Wildcats through a torrential rain as Woods Cross shutout the Braves 14-0.
“Everybody knows how long it’s been,” said Barton, who rushed for 160 yards on 29 carries with both of the Wildcats’ touchdowns. “But we were able to put it all together and get it done tonight. We’re probably going to celebrate this for a long time.”
In the low-scoring affair, Barton’s two touchdowns came at the bookends of the game as he scored in the first and fourth quarters. Barton’s first score followed a short punt by the Braves, giving Woods Cross the ball in Bountiful territory. After two plays and a personal foul penalty by Bountiful had the Wildcats at the 10 yard line, Barton scampered through the Braves defense for his first touchdown.
The extra point was blocked, making the score 6-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The lead was enough for the Wildcats’ defense, who picked up a shutout last week over Clearfield, who held Bountiful from scoring in an entire game for the first time all season. In the first half, the Braves had the ball five times and crossed the 50-yard line twice. On both occasions the Wildcats forced the Braves to punt and the half ended with the Wildcats ahead 6-0.
“Our defense knew that we wanted to go into this game and punish their offense,” said Farnes, who threw for 82 yards in the game including a 2-point conversion toss to Filipo Mokofisi late in the game. “Our focus was to take away their run (game) and we were able to do that all game.”
The defense continued to stop Bountiful from scoring, even after the Braves travelled deep into Woods Cross territory several times in the second half. Woods Cross kept them from converting any of the opportunities into touchdowns, however, and eventually the Braves had Jordan Hayes leave the game due to injury.
With a chance to catch the Wildcats off-guard, Bountiful converted on a fourth-and-short situation that gave the Braves a first down in Wildcats’ territory. The Braves were forced to punt three plays later.
Woods Cross’ final scoring play happened with 4:24 remaining in the game. After a long drive that consumed a lot of play clock, Barton punched in his second touchdown of the game from four yards away. Farnes found Mokofisi for the two-point conversion and the Wildcats held Bountiful for the final four-plus minutes to seal the win.
“We saw what happened to our seniors when we were ninth-graders, and we didn’t want that to happen to us,” said Farnes. “We decided that we’d come together and do whatever it took.”
Combined with his passing numbers, Farnes also ran the ball 12 times for 50 yards. Jake Brown caught four passes for 71 yards. On defense, Thomas Giles led the way with eight tackles, and Alton Brown had six tackles. Deion Saamulu, Mokofisi and Jake Kocherhans each recorded a sack for the defense as well.
GAME NOTES: The Wildcats ended a 23-year drought of losing to Bountiful, and collected their third shutout of the season in the process. The win, combined with Highland’s loss to East, currently leaves Woods Cross, Bountiful and Highland in a three-way tie for second in Region 6. Bountiful could have had an early lead right from the kick-off as Ryan Curtis returned the ball for a touchdown, however, the score was negated by a penalty. Woods Cross and Bountiful each have a non-region game remaining and will play Wednesday night. The Wildcats will host Olympus and Bountiful will face Layton.