It took American Fork almost three quarters to pull away from West Friday night. The Cavemen used a trick play and a defensive touchdown to keep their unblemished record intact and come away with a 20-13 victory at home over the Panthers.
American Fork found itself in a dogfight, up 3-0 near the end of the third quarter. That’s when the Cavemen reached into their bag of tricks and finally scored the first touchdown of the night. Senior wide receiver Jace Hull turned a jet sweep into a 29-yard touchdown pass when he found fellow senior wide receiver Trey Roberts behind the defense for the score.
“Jace Hull has been throwing that since he was a sophomore. … He was a backup quarterback,” American Fork head coach Aaron Behm said. “They were doing a great job of stopping what we wanted to do offensively. So when we got in the red zone, we knew we wanted to absolutely come away with points and Jace did a great job executing that pass to Trey.”
Just a few plays after Hull’s touchdown pass, junior linebacker Tyson Eggett scooped up a loose ball, taking it 32 yards, giving the Cavemen their second touchdown in less than 30 seconds.
“I just saw my D-lineman hit him and the ball just popped right in front of me,” Eggett said. “I just grabbed it and ran. It was pretty easy.”
Getting into the end zone had not been so easy for either team before that moment. The game proved to be American Fork’s toughest challenge to date, after the Cavemen scored 48 points in each of the school’s first two contests, cruising to a 2-0 record.
“We want a preseason schedule that challenges us,” Behm said. “We knew West would be that. They were every bit of what we hoped for.”
After squandering two golden opportunities in the first half with turnovers, American Fork took a 3-0 lead into the break.
“We needed to finish in the red zone,” Behm said. “We got a field goal, threw a pick inside the 20 and then fumbled on the goal line. So if those go in the end zone, the game feels totally different. They didn’t. So it’s good to be able to rally back and finish the second half.”
The Cavemen took care of the ball in the second half and forced three turnovers of their own. An interception by American Fork junior defensive back Davis Andrews set his team up in Panther territory, leading to Robert’s touchdown catch which put the Cavemen in control.
West did its best to claw back into the game, scoring a touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter, and another in the fourth. The two scores came on the ground with junior quarterback Isaiah SueSue accounting for both.
American Fork will resume play next Friday night in a home matchup against 2021 5A Idaho state champion Rigby. West will compete in its first game of region play when it welcomes Cyprus to Salt Lake City the same evening. Both games are set to kickoff at 7 p.m.