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High school football: Skyridge thumps Lehi, keeps up winning ways

Proximity between Skyridge and Lehi may be close, but the score on the field in the much-anticipated matchup between the two schools Friday night was not, as the Falcons throttled the Pioneers 35-17 in a game that wasn’t that close to remain unbeaten on the year. 

It marked the first time that the two Lehi schools had met on the football field since the Pioneers’ drubbing of the Falcons in the 2017 5A state title game.

Friday was quite different from that game six years earlier. 

“I thought our boys played super tough,” Skyridge head coach Justin Hemm said. “We knew this was going to be an emotional game and we knew how well coached Lehi is and they’re going to come out and execute at a high level, but I thought our boys came out and did what they needed to.”

The contest meant a lot for both teams for more reasons than one. Not only was it a battle for supremacy of the schools’ city, but it also was a matchup between last year’s 5A state champion, Lehi, and the 6A state champion, Skyridge, with an added layer of region implications.

However, the Falcons ultimately squelched the game’s intrigue as time wore on. 

When asked if the game meant a little bit more, Hemm said, “Yeah, I think so. Any game in our region, I think every one’s big, and you get into these games and it’s high level football and you’ve got to execute on each and every single play.”

Hemm’s team did an excellent job executing what it came to do Friday evening, pulling away in the second quarter to a double digit lead and never relinquishing it. 

Lehi got on the board first, scoring on its initial drive of the contest, but Skyridge responded by scoring touchdowns on its next two possessions, the second coming on a drive that had two fourth-down conversions. 

“We always want to be aggressive,” Hemm said when asked about his approach on fourth downs, “but we also were finding ourselves kind of in a dead zone. We were in that 25 to 45 yard range.”

Hemm also has the luxury of a potent offense, with the Falcons having scored 35 or more points in their last six games.

With just over a minute to play in the first half, that offense took control. Skyridge senior quarterback Jackson Stevens found senior wide receiver Jack Burke for 22 yards and the score, giving the Falcons an 11-point advantage heading into intermission.

Skyridge then forced turnovers on two of Lehi’s first three possessions of the second half, making the Pioneers pay on both occasions. The Falcon offense scored 14 points off the pair of Lehi mishaps, essentially sealing the deal before the fourth quarter had even started.  

“I thought the defense really settled down and was able to execute,” Hemm said. “(They) forced some turnovers which allowed us to convert on our end.”

That formula has worked well for Skyridge, with the school extending its win streak to 14 games dating back to midway through last season.

Lehi, on the other hand, had its 24-game win streak snapped a week ago at American Fork and now has seen that turned into a two-game slide following its first pair of contests in a vaunted Region 3. 

The two schools will return to the field next week when Lehi travels to Saratoga Springs to face off against Westlake and Skyridge takes on Lone Peak in the Falcons’ first home game since September 1.

Both contests will kick off at 7 p.m.

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