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Prep football: With 7 interceptions, Bonneville overpowers Northridge for 34-16 home win

By Justin Giles - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Sep 22, 2023

WASHINGTON TERRACE — After a tough loss to Roy the previous week, Bonneville High football bounced back in a big way Friday night as four different Lakers picked off a total of seven Northridge passes en route to a 34-16 home victory.

With the win, Bonneville (4-3) improves to 3-1 in Region 5 play and sits in a tie for second place.

“I’m proud of our team and the way they responded tonight,” Bonneville head coach Jantz Afuvai said. “We lost a close game last week and so the biggest thing for us was to see how the team would respond, and we passed the test. Everyone played really well and it was great to see.”

Bonneville scored first using a trick play. Bryson Howell faked a run up the sideline before stopping just behind the line of scrimmage and threw a pass toward the end zone. A Northridge defender tipped the ball near the goal line and it landed right in the hands of Jaxon Johnson, who pushed his way into the end zone to give the Lakers a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

“We’ve had trick plays ready to go all year but, for whatever reason, we haven’t ran any until today and that’s probably why,” joked Afuvai. “We don’t like the tip drill, but Jaxon made a great play.”

“I was a little nervous because there was double coverage, but Jaxon came up clutch as always,” added senior Max Diaz. “That momentum helped carry us the rest of the way.”

Northridge (3-4, 1-3) answered right back as the Knights drove the field to tie the score when quarterback Porter Olsen found Jaxon Fresques over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown.

But that’s as close as the Knights would get as Bonneville scored the next 27 points to cruise to victory.

Bonneville went up 13-7 after a big punt return by Ashton Archuleta set up a 20-yard touchdown from Johnson to Mason Tanner, who found himself all alone in the corner of the end zone.

Then, with 20 seconds left in the second quarter, Northridge tried a couple of deep throws but the Lakers made them pay. Diaz took his first interception of the day to the house to give Bonneville a 20-7 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, a Bonneville drive stalled inside the Northridge 10-yard line with the Knights stuffing the run. But Northridge jumped offside not once, but twice with Bonneville lined up to kick a field goal. With the ball on the 2-yard line, the Lakers decided to go for it and Tanner scored the second of three touchdowns on the day.

“Mason is a guy that’s always going and he plays his heart out,” Afuvai said. “He’s a dynamic playmaker and so versatile. We are trying and find ways more ways to get him the ball because when we do, great things happen.”

Just a few minutes later, Tanner scored again thanks to an interception by Tifaga Havili who nearly had a pick-six; the senior was brought down at the Northridge 4-yard line. Tanner’s score gave Bonneville a commanding 34-7 lead with just a couple of minutes left in the third quarter.

Northridge started to mount a comeback. After getting a safety, the Knights recorded a touchdown when Olsen threw to Braxton Barber for a 1-yard score, then recovered an onside kick.

Once again, the Bonneville defense stood tall as Levi Olsen snagged a pass to give the Lakers their seventh interception of the game.

“Our coaches put in a great plan and the defensive line played amazing,” Diaz said. “They were causing a lot of pressure up front which helps us as a secondary to get those takeaways.”

Diaz had three interceptions, Levi Olsen had two and Keaton Fuit had one pick for the Lakers in what was a dominant defensive performance.

Jaxyn Hale got the lone takeaway for Northridge with an interception in the second quarter.

Up next for Bonneville is a road game against Clearfield. For Northridge, the Knights look to regroup as they host Woods Cross.


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