WASHINGTON TERRACE — Last week’s 14-9 home loss to Viewmont appeared to be a stunning blow to Farmington High.
Or, the way Phoenix head coach Daniel Coats sees it, a much-needed kick in the pants.
“The guys needed that pick-me-up. Honestly, we were getting to a point where practice was starting to drag and things like that. It was a great re-energizer to keep working, keep working on fundamentals, we’ve got to keep working on everything we need to work on, and keep pushing, the thing that got us to where we are right now,” Coats said.
Technically speaking, the Phoenix’s 30-14 win at Bonneville on Friday night clinched a share of the Region 5 football title for Farmington (6-2, 3-1 Region 5). There were no rowdy celebrations. It was back to business as usual.
But, on a night where the offense was rebuffed a handful of times in the red zone by timely Bonneville defensive plays, defensive tackle Brayden Wilson may have been the star of the show. He was in on about a dozen tackles including a handful in the backfield and a couple of sacks.
“I just had some fun. I play my game, I’m a defensive end playing defensive tackle and so I have to use my specialties there. I know my advantages, I know my disadvantages,” said Wilson, who had a large gash on his left wrist and several specks of blood on his jersey.
Coats called Wilson, who stands around 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, a “wrecking crew.”
The game wasn’t even two minutes old when Farmington struck.
Bonneville (4-4, 2-2 Region 5) quarterback Brock Samuels’ first pass of the game sailed over his receiver and right into the hands of defensive back Jeremy Wilxcox, who ran it back for a 17-yard touchdown.
Farmington scored on offense at the end of the first quarter on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Wyatt Evertsen to Nick Shirley.
Ryan Marks added a 28-yard field goal for the Phoenix midway through the second quarter, giving FHS a 17-0 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, Bonneville’s offense was in stall mode, caused mostly by Farmington’s swarming defense, led by Wilson.
The Lakers picked up a first down on their third drive, then didn’t get another first down until an 8-yard reception by Kord Shaw with a minute left in the first half.
Jude Cantrell rose up and caught a 24-yard TD pass in the third quarter for a 24-0 FHS lead. The Phoenix appeared to be cruising until Jake Peck intercepted Evertsen and returned the ball for a 70-plus-yard touchdown.
Farmington gave the ball to running back Hayden Toone on its penultimate drive and he closed the game out. After runs of 29 and 13 yards earlier in the drive, Toone dragged two defenders into the end zone with him on a 9-yard TD.
“With our offense, we’re pretty relentless. I’m sure we’ll slip up like any other offense, but we always come back and we don’t change anything we do. We keep grinding,” Toone said.
After the Marks field goal, the Lakers ended Farmington drives with a recovered fumble, a 7-yard tackle-for-loss on fourth down, a tackle on a botched field goal attempt and the pick-six.
So Toone’s touchdown was some relief for an offense that met a fair share of resistance by the Bonneville defense. Heck, the win itself was a little cathartic.
Taylor Marcus would’ve been a senior at Bonneville High this year and probably playing football.
Five years ago, he was killed in a car crash. But on senior night, the Laker seniors honored him and his family.
Before the game, the Lakers presented Taylor’s parents with a framed No. 17 Bonneville jersey that many of them had signed. His parents were on the field for the coin toss.
“Those guys played Little League ball together and everything, so it meant a lot to the family. Hopefully we shared in their pain a little bit,” Bonneville head coach Jantz Afuvai said.