It may have been a bit premature, but when the Vikings stoped West on fourth-and-three at the Pleasant Grove five, with five minutes left in the game, a number of Pleasant Grove players couldn't help to let out some shouts of celebration - they sensed the first defense of their 4A state title was in the bag.
Five minutes later it was official - Pleasant Grove 27, West 14.The Panthers couldn't generate any momentum in the first half after they had an 18-yard touchdown pass wiped out with a penalty, early in the first quarter. The West drive ended with a missed field goal.
Pleasant Grove's offense finally got on the board when Viking quarterback Paul Beagley tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Seely. Mark Jensen's PAT missed wide left, giving Pleasant Grove a 6-0 lead.
The Vikings added another score when Jared Haynie picked off a Rod Madsen pass and returned it 45 yards to the Panther 2-yard line.
With 37 seconds left in the half, Pleasant Grove's Jake Madsen scored from 2-yards out and ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Vikings up 14-0 at the half.
The Panthers fired back in the third quarter, marching 70 yards in six plays. Selu Alofipo capped off the drive with an 18-yard run.
But just when it looked like the Panthers were back in the game, Justin Wilkes returned the West kick off 52-yard to the West 33. The back-breaking return set up a 21-yard Beagley keeper with 7:06 left in the third quarter that put the game out of reach.
"That kickoff return really destroyed us," said West coach Don Holtry. "Pleasant Grove is a very good football team. Right now I think they're a little ahead of us."
Both teams added fourth quarter touchdowns to make the final 27-14.
"When you put 27 points up against West, you have to be happy," said Viking coach Bill Mikelson.