LEHI — The Lehi football team gave the Payson Lions every opportunity to win their first football game of the season. The Pioneers had two bad snaps on punts and several penalties in the second half that could have given the Lions the win.
Despite the struggles, Lehi found a way to prevail in overtime, 20-13. Even though the Pioneers won the game, Coach Joe Hayes was not a happy guy.
"I'm just disappointed," he said. "I'll put the finger back at myself. I'm not preparing the guys to be mentally ready in the second half. It is getting closer and closer to costing us. To be honest with you, Payson probably should have beaten us."
Payson actually came a blocked extra point away from picking up its first win. Trailing 13-7, the Lions ate up seven minutes of the fourth quarter and scored on a Craig Hansen 3-yard run with 59 seconds left in the game to tie the game at 13.
On the extra point Spencer Nielsen's kick was blocked by a mass of Lehi defenders to keep the game tied. Anthony Turchetta then returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Payson 31-yard line. But the drive stalled when Payson's Blaine Montague sacked Hadfield as time expired.
In the overtime period, quarterback Justin Hadfield carried the ball seven yards on the first play. Abe White then scored the winning touchdown from 3-yards out to give Lehi the 20-13 lead.
On Payson's second possession Brett Hiatt completed a five-yard pass to Montague. But on the play David Lew stripped the ball and Hadfield recovered the ball sealing the Pioneers' win.
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"Our defense was outstanding tonight," Hayes said. "Our special teams put our defense in a tough position that is hard to come back from."
One of the special teams miscues allowed Payson to score its first touchdown of the game in the third quarter.
The bad snap gave the Lions the ball on the 3-yard line. Three plays later Hansen scored his first touchdown to cut Lehi's lead to 13-7 with 3:29 left in the third quarter.
Lehi's offense flowed well in the first half as it totaled 224 yards. Turchetta led Lehi with 182 yards. He carried the ball nine times for 84 yards and caught five passes for 40 yards.
"When we are at our best we are unstoppable," Hadfield said. "We have to get in better shape. We were dying in the second half."