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Northridge secures home field to open playoffs

BOUNTIFUL — Home sweet home. It's something Northridge coach Erik Thompson has yet to enjoy in the playoffs.

"We've tied for second a couple times, but always lose the coin flip," said the coach. "We haven't had a home playoff game since I started as the head coach."

Friday night the coach got his wish as his team took matters into its own hand with a dominating 30-12 victory over the home team, Viewmont.

The victory leaves the Knights (6-1, 8-2) in second place for Region I and means they'll host Timpanogos next Friday afternoon in the opening round of the 5A playoffs.

"I'm proud of our kids to come out and match the emotion Viewmont had on their home field," said Thompson.

Though the win proved to be lopsided, the first half was anything but pretty for the Knights. They coughed up the ball three times and trailed 12-10 heading into the locker room after being shut out in the second quarter.

The Knights had built up a 10-0 lead in the first quarter using a 5-yard score from Alex Froelich and an extra point and 33-yard field goal by Danny Mortensen.

From there the Vikes knocked out two scores to go up for the first time in the game. Both scores came off passes from Chris Larsen — the first a 50-yarder to Alex Exon and the second from 1 yard out to Chad Randall. Northridge blocked both kicks.

"Our kids were playing hard and trying to make big plays when the turnovers happened," said Thompson. "I'm most proud of them for coming back and responding well to the adversity in the first half. The second half showed what we need to do to win in the playoffs."

Despite some momentum and the lead, Viewmont struggled mightily over the final 24 minutes, while the Knights reeled off 20 unanswered points.

The Knights scored on their first possession and then again a few minutes later after Froelich marched in from 8 yards out. Mortensen converted both point-after attempts to put Northridge up 24-12 after three quarters.

The final six points came on a rollout by Braden Mitchell to Peni Maka'afi. This time the kicker missed to make for the 30-12 final.

Froelich finished the game with 120 yards on 21 carries. He scored twice and forced two fumbles while on defense.

"We knew that they are great at stopping the run so we tried to mix it up. But when push comes to shove, we're going to run the ball because I've got two kids I trust," Thompson said.