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Braves prevail in grudge match

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Bountiful's Jeff Holmes, left, and Viewmont's Kyle Anderson go nose to nose during annual grudge match. The Braves prevailed.

Bountiful’s Jeff Holmes, left, and Viewmont’s Kyle Anderson go nose to nose during annual grudge match. The Braves prevailed.

Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News

BOUNTIFUL — Considering the way the Bountiful football players obsessively stewed about Viewmont's team this past week — heck, even this past year — you might have thought the Vikings stole all their girlfriends.

It was much worse than that.

Viewmont gave Bountiful the only blemish on its otherwise perfect 12-1 4A championship season in 2002. On top of that, the Vikings had hogged city pigskin bragging rights for three straight years.

"These kids," said Bountiful coach Larry Wall of his players, "have pretty good memories."

So with those facts very much in the front of their minds, the Braves put themselves in a revenge frenzy leading up to Friday's game. Good news to moms and girlfriends: The Bountiful players can stop obsessing, fretting, venting and thinking about the boys across town. The Braves earned a 23-3 victory — and vengeance was theirs early and often on this particular night.

"It feels amazing," said Bountiful linebacker Christian Cox, who was a key cog in the Braves' stifling defense. "It's like winning state all over again."

If they keep playing defense like they did Friday night, they might get to experience that championship feeling again, too. The Vikings were held without a first down until midway through the second quarter, and they only had two in the pivotal first half. Bountiful also forced them into two turnovers — Jace Wood recovered a fumble and Mason Turville intercepted a pass — which directly contributed to 10 points before halftime.

"It was like we knew every play they were going to run," Cox said. "We knew them as well as they do. We have awesome scouting. All our coaches do is watch football."

One thing the coaches stressed all week — aside from "Beat Viewmont!" — was getting off to a good start. A week ago, the Braves had to rally from a 21-3 deficit to defeat Logan. On Friday, they were the ones who jumped out early.

Quarterback Chase Christensen, who had an outstanding all-around outing, guided the Braves to two early touchdown scores. He hooked up with receiver Mike Wright for a sweet 51-yard scoring pass 3 1/2 minutes into the game, and then he found running back Casey Simmonds a minute later for another TD toss. The 9-yard scoring pass came a play after a Viking fumble on the 15-yard line, putting Bountiful up 14-0 at the 7:03 mark of the first quarter.

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The Braves — now 3-0 and owners of the state's longest winning streak at 14 — never looked back.

"Our kids came to play right from the get-go," Wall said. "We scored there early and it set the tempo."

Christensen finished with three touchdown passes and threw for about 200 yards. His other touchdown strike — a 58-yard fling to sophomore Jake Magalei in the third quarter — put the finishing touches on the avenging win against their bitter 5A rival.

"That's the only thing we were fighting for. We wanted to take it to them this year," said Bountiful's all-state kicker Dave Carroll, who booted a 47-yard field goal. "We lost to them three years in a row. We were sick of losing to them."

E-mail: jody@desnews.com