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ALTA KICKS OFF SEASON WITH A BANG

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Thursday was a night of good beginnings for Alta.

Not only did the Hawks hammer Kearns 37-2, they also opened the era of quarterback Lance Jensen in style - the sophomore threw a 52-yard touchdown pass on his first play as Alta's starter.A good omen?

"I would love to say yes, but I don't know if I can," said Alta coach Mitch Lunak. "I really think we have something here. I'm very optimistic and excited about this team. Hopefully, we'll get it together."

Aside from an excess of penalties (the Hawks were hit with 12 for 114 yards) and an inconsistent ground game, Lunak had plenty to be pleased with on opening night. "I thought our defense did real well."

While limiting Kearns to just four first downs, Alta scored 30 unanswered points before surrendering a safety in the final 10 minutes.

"Everything clicked for us," said Jensen who completed nine passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. "We were a little rusty, but we got the win."

Jared Colton gave Alta a 6-0 advantage after pulling in Jensen's initial offering with 9:05 to play in the first quarter. The lead swelled to 14-0 in the second frame when running back Wes Reese plowed five yards into the end zone. A fumbled punt return, which gave the Hawks possession on the 15, set up the score.

Less than eight minutes later, Alta had a 21-0 advantage thanks to a 41-yard scoring strike from Jensen to Colton with six seconds remaining in the first half. Kearns' misfortune continued in the third quarter when a bad snap resulted in a safety.

Trailing 23-0, things got worse before they got better (albeit temporarily) for the Cougars.

Alta took the ensuing kickoff 45 yards on eight plays - scoring on a 9-yard pass from Jensen to senior Aaron Weaver - to cap a run of 30 unanswered points. Kearns broke into the scoring column on a safety with 9:26 to play.

The score stood until Chris Nelson's 3-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds to go provided Alta with its victory margin.

"That's a pretty good team. I'm not totally disappointed," said Kearns coach Mike Sorich. "We gave up four or five big plays. That was the difference. One of the encouraging things was that we didn't give up."