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Prep football: West’s late TD run puts Layton over Fremont 24-21

By Chad Pritchett - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Sep 10, 2021

LAYTON – COVID-19 got the best of the Silverwolves and the Lancers a season ago as a 14-day Layton quarantine forced the Oct. 2, 2020, matchup to be canceled.

Ultimately, any disappointment about the scrapped region contest paled in comparison to the news a few weeks later that a Fremont quarantine would require it to face the wrenching reality of forfeiting its opening-round home playoff game with Copper Hills. Just like that, the Silverwolves’ season was over.

Fast forward nearly a year later and Friday night’s showdown between Fremont and Layton figured to be an early-season litmus test for each squad.

Indeed it was, and the hiatus was worth the wait.

Despite Fremont’s dominance in the series — Layton had only won once since 2008 — both teams came in with 3-1 records this season. Both lost on opening night before reeling off three straight wins.

After giving up the lead for the first time deep into the fourth quarter Friday, Layton clawed it back on a 26-yard Elias West touchdown run with 1:31 to play for its fourth consecutive victory in a 24-21 decision to top Fremont.

“Our mentality was (to) keep our heads up,” West said about Fremont taking the lead. “I think one thing with Layton is the mentality. Everybody always had their heads down every time we lost or we were down a score. So we just kept our heads up and we had that killer mentality.”

Early on, the teams exchanged a trio of punts before a weather squall forced a nearly hour-long lightning delay with 2:28 to play in the first quarter of the scoreless game.

Shortly after the unscheduled break in action, the tempo picked up in what was a relatively dull game to that point.

Layton’s Elias Parkinson intercepted a Cannon Koford pass downfield to give the Lancers possession at the 7:40 mark of the second. A bad snap and a sack put the Lancers into a third-and-29 situation from their own 44. However, Garrett Gifford found Tyler Wensel for a completion well short of the first down sticks, but the junior outmaneuvered the Silverwolf defense and turned the pass play into a 56-yard touchdown.

Fourteen seconds later the score was tied at 7-7. Fremont’s Kyler Kotter got a running start and took the ensuing kickoff at the 13 and outraced the Layton special teams group for an 87-yard touchdown.

The pyrotechnics continued as moments later, Gifford put the Lancers back on top again by hitting Nicolas Sanders in stride streaking down the middle of the field. The 77-yard scoring toss put Layton back up by a touchdown.

The only points of the third quarter came courtesy of a 19-yard Porter Hansen field goal which pushed Layton’s lead to 17-7.

Fremont picked up its first offensive points of the night as Kotter capped a drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter that was set up by a 50-yard Bodie Ray scamper.

Following a Layton punt, the Silverwolves scored the second of their back-to-back touchdowns. Starting from its own 8, Koford and Kotter guided Fremont down the field, picking up chunks of yardage along the way before Koford hit Hayden Hall for a 12-yard touchdown with 4:10 left to put the Silverwolves on top for the first time.

Gifford then completed a pair of 20-plus yard passes on the eventual winning drive to set up West’s go-ahead score.

“Our game plan is always to run it,” said West, who finished with well north of 100 yards on the ground. “We have a really hard-working line; I can’t thank my linemen enough. Our linemen have been putting in that work. It all pays off and it’s showing now. And our receivers always come up clutch with those big catches like in the Davis game. ”

The rolling Fremont offense did have a final chance to take the lead, but a Jaron McMillan interception near midfield in the waning seconds sealed the victory for a Layton.

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