HIGHLAND — Pleasant Grove and Lone Peak played in what had to have been one of the strangest games of the 2008 high school football season on Friday night.
But when it came down to deciding it, the Vikings played some textbook football to stay unbeaten in Region 4 play.
Pleasant Grove put together an 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter to defeat Lone Peak 24-21. Dallas Lloyd tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Sampson with 40 seconds left in the game to give the Vikings the victory.
Lloyd and Joey Owens set up the winning score on a key fourth-and-5 from Lone Peak's 13-yard line. The Knights, who had repeatedly blitzed the Vikings throughout the game, threw the kitchen sink at Lloyd on the play. He patiently waited to throw a screen pass to Owens, who caught it and gained 8 yards. Lloyd threw the game-winner to Sampson on the next play.
It was the perfect play call at just the right time for the Vikings. Coach Dale Sampson said his assistants let him "sneak that one in."
"It had worked earlier pretty good," he said. "It was a fourth-down call, make or break. Got it to Joey Owens, who I wanted to trust with the ball."
Outside of Pleasant Grove's final drive, very few things went by the book.
The Vikings fell behind by 14 less than four minutes into the contest when Lone Peak returned two fumbles for touchdowns. Pleasant Grove then started to dig itself out of the early hole on a heads-up play by linebacker Jordan Hymas.
On a punt to Pleasant Grove, a Lone Peak player touched the ball before any of the Vikings got near it, and play briefly stopped. No whistle blew, so Hymas picked it up and took it 71 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-10.
"I just picked it up and started running," Hymas said. "I was ecstatic. It was an awesome experience."
Sampson had made his players aware that Lone Peak had only touched the ball after punts in previous games, and hadn't picked them up and handed them to the officials. He pointed it out to his players so that they wouldn't do the same thing. He never dreamed he would get a touchdown out of the scenario.
"I can't believe one of those guys remembered that," Sampson said. "Hymas, he's a 4.0 student and he remembered it."
Owens gave Pleasant Grove its first lead of the game in the third quarter when he returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown. Lone Peak responded when Tannon Pedersen completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to Chandler Allphin — after it was tipped to him in stride by teammate Jared Fenton.
The Vikings felt fortunate to leave Lone Peak High with a victory after getting in the early 14-point hole and after committing eight penalties for 91 yards.
Sefa Tanoai led the Vikings' offense with five receptions for 137 yards. But most of the credit for the win should go to Pleasant Grove's defense, which rose to the challenge of playing from behind in the team's wild victory.
"I have not been in a game like this," Hymas said. "It was an experience I don't think I want to have again. But it was fun to be a part of."