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High school football: Provo in the Region 8 driver’s seat after a 28-22 win over Springville

Provo appeared poised to cruise to a relatively easy win on Friday before the Red Devils came storming back to make things interesting.

Provo wide receiver Ryder MacGillivray hauls in a touchdown pass in front of Springville cornerback Cole Mcallister during football game at Springville High School on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.
Provo wide receiver Ryder MacGillivray hauls in a touchdown pass in front of Springville cornerback Cole Mcallister during football game at Springville High School on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

Box score

SPRINGVILLE — Provo didn’t do much of anything wrong in the first half of Friday’s showdown with Springville, which helped compensate for an ending where it felt like nothing was going right. The result was a 28-22 win for the Bulldogs and perhaps a few more gray hairs on the head of Provo coach Tony McGeary.

Up 21-0 at the half, Provo appeared to have the win well in hand when running back Dallin Hevea scored on a 13-yard run with 7:35 left, making the score 28-7. But the Red Devils refused to go away.

A 3-yard touchdown run from Springville quarterback Payton Murphy with 2:37 remaining cut the score to 28-14 and was followed up by a perfectly executed onside kick off the toe of Springville kicker Kaleb Snarr. Snarr managed to bounce the ball up high for his team to recover it at Provo’s 43-yard line. A few plays later saw Murphy hit Austin Mortensen with a 6-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to just 28-22 after a successful 2-point conversion with 1:50 remaining.

“It’s Springville. (Those) guys fight until the end,” McGeary said.

Fortunately for Provo, the second onside kick didn’t prove successful as the Bulldogs were able to run out the clock and come away with a big Region 8 win.

“We got a goal to win the region championship and you have to beat these guys to do that,” McGeary said. “They’ve dominated over the past, but we felt like we had a great plan going in and I’m just really proud of the guys for hanging in there.”

Provo hanging in there was made easier by a dominating first half performance that saw quarterback Luke Haslem toss three touchdown passes for a 21-0 lead at the break.

The first one came with just under a minute played in the first quarter as Haslem found Havea from 45 yards out for an early 7-0 lead. Haslem followed it up with touchdown passes to Taylor Heiner and Ryder MacGillivray from 29 and 12 yards out, respectively, to keep Provo rolling.

“We thought we’d have an opportunity to throw it,” McGeary said. “... We knew we were going to get some man-on-man matchups and we took advantage.”

But as good as Provo’s offense was coming out, the defense was perhaps even better. Fueled by dominating line play, the Bulldogs held the Red Devils to no first downs until late in the second quarter.

But things changed in the second half, with the Red Devils taking the opening second-half kickoff and scoring on a drive that chewed up seven minutes of clock. The touchdown came courtesy of 5-yard touchdown pass from Murphy to Tyler Kelly as the Springville looked to make a game of it.

But time was against Springville and Provo proved to have just enough to secure a big win and in so doing, becomes perhaps the favorite for the Region 8 championship.

The Bulldogs (4-1) will now turn to take on Lehi on the road next week while Springville (4-1) will look to rebound taking on Payson.