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Prep football: Late TD gives Bountiful 14-13 win over Box Elder, leg up in Region 5 race

By Patrick Carr - Prep Sports Reporter | Sep 23, 2022

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BOUNTIFUL — Football coaches will stress to their teams to take the season one game at a time.

But Bountiful High junior Brigham Morrison knew exactly how much Friday’s top-of-Region-5 showdown with Box Elder meant.

That’s why he celebrated as wildly as he did when the clock hit zero on Bountiful’s 14-13 win over the Bees.

It was Morrison’s 37-yard, catch-and-run touchdown that tied the game with 2:28 left and Ben Smith’s extra point that ultimately secured the Redhawks’ win.

“I just had to make a play. I don’t usually go on offense, I’m a defensive player. I just went in and knew I had to make a play,” Morrison said.

Bountiful (5-2, 3-0 Region 5) is now one game clear in the region and can put a hand on the region trophy with a win next week.

The quest for a repeat Region 5 title, which Bountiful hasn’t done since going back-to-back in 2001 and 2002, is in the Redhawks’ hands, or perhaps wings.

Box Elder (5-2, 2-1) needs to go 2-0 to close and needs either Viewmont or Northridge to knock off Bountiful in the next two weeks to have any shot at the region crown.

To win Friday, the Bees needed to control the time of possession. They did just that with a patient, battering ground game behind Dax Sumko and Easton White. Bountiful just made stops in the end zone.

So instead of possibly having somewhere between 16-21 points, the Bees had 13. A late 13-7 Box Elder lead, cushioned by Cole Mortensen’s second field goal of the night, wasn’t enough in the end.

Bountiful running back Corbin Cottle returned this week from a collarbone injury, played the first half and then had his uniform off for the final drive. Backup Kenobi Doctolero ran for 16 yards to get the Redhawks across midfield.

After a penalty backed them up to the 37-yard line, quarterback Owen Geilman flipped a screen pass to Morrison, a junior linebacker and Bountiful’s leading tackler on defense.

On offense, he’d caught six passes for 27 yards prior to Friday. But it was then that he had the 37-yard, game-tying score where he evaded multiple defenders and was pushed into the end zone by a Box Elder defender.

Smith’s ensuing, and game-winning, extra point was on the money. Smith then broke up a fourth-down pass on Box Elder’s subsequent drive to give the Redhawks the chance to kneel out the game.

“We’ll reboot and get better, we’ll work through this,” Box Elder coach Robbie Gunter said. “I think our football team saw some things that they can do better and I know we feel like we can fix some mistakes.”

The phrase “3 yards and a cloud of dust” had a literal meaning on Bountiful’s drought-stricken grass field with two run-heavy teams. Or, as one onlooker put it, it might’ve looked like a rodeo with all the dust flying around.

Bountiful went on a long drive to open the game, fueled by some good runs from Cottle. Smith’s field goal lined out to the end zone like a baseball and the drive yielded zero points.

The Redhawks had a short field the next time their offense took the field. BE defensive back Andrew Clifford made a great play to break up Faletau Satuala’s touchdown grab, but Bountiful got into the end zone with a 32-yard keeper by quarterback Owen Geilman a couple plays later.

Box Elder has leaned a lot on Sumko in the running game this year and the Bees called his number five times on their first drive.

He ran 22 yards, broke two tackles and got tackled at the goal line, but not before a touchdown to tie the game 7-7. It finished a 12-play, 82-yard drive that knocked Bountiful’s defense back a bit.

“We’re a very aggressive team, so we’re flowing. They scored a touchdown on a counter, so the second half, we knew we had to play patient, flow to the ball and make tackles,” Morrison said.

And the Redhawks’ defense barely got a break because BE’s AJ Bushnell picked off Geilman on Bountiful’s next offensive play to give the Bees great field position.

Box Elder then had two touchdown runs called back on penalties and eventually took a 10-7 halftime lead through Mortensen’s first field goal.

Another long, pounding Box Elder drive across the third and fourth quarters resulted in another Mortensen field goal to go up 13-7, but it was a missed chance as BE had the ball at the 1-yard line at one point.

All the while, the Bees’ defense had held firm until the one Morrison play. Not only did that give Bountiful the inside track to the Region 5 title, it was also the Redhawks’ fourth straight, all by single digits (16-14, 14-7, 23-14, 14-13).

Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.

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