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Wild finishes in Region 1, 102 points between American Fork-East highlight electric Week 4 in 6A

Fremont, Roy rally in Region 1, while West holds off Cyprus to kick off Region 2 with a win.

American Fork’s Devin Downing completes a pass during a football game against East High School at East High School in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.
American Fork’s Devin Downing completes a pass during a football game against East High School at East High School in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

There’s been a lot of buzz around West’s football program since alum Olosaa Solovi took over as head coach this offseason, with many believing it’s only a matter of time until West starts competing with the upper-tier teams in 6A.

Before dreaming of those long-term goals, first the Panthers need to try to be the best team in Region 2 and took a big step toward that goal with Friday’s 32-21 win over Cyprus. (Box Score)

West never trailed, but penalties also called back numerous touchdowns that could’ve allowed the Panthers to put Cyprus away by halftime.

They eventually ground out the win aided by a key fourth quarter fumble recovery by Omarion Fa’amoe, with Cyprus trying to march down for the winning score.

“Just proud of these boys, they endured a lot against a good opponent, any time you play an opponent and everybody is 0-0 in region it’s going to be tough. We kept beating ourselves,” said Solovi. “This is who we were, we’re going to grind it out and try and put a hat on our defense and try and make some plays.”

Abraham Williams rushed for three touchdowns to lead the Panthers, and he had two other long touchdown runs called back by penalties in the first half.

Solovi said those are the types of penalties and mistakes that hurt West in last week’s loss to Park City, and will hurt his team going forward against some of the quality teams in Region 2.

Hunter and Kearns also opened Region 2 play with victories on Friday.

Kearns dominated Taylorsville from start to finish for the 54-7 win a week after its dramatic win over Olympus. (Box Score)

Hunter, meanwhile, had to grind a bit more but eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter for the 34-24 win over West Jordan to bounce back from the loss to Westlake the week prior.

“Great atmosphere for homecoming. That was two teams battling for four quarters. So proud of our kids and coaches for the way we stayed the course and finished. We had guys making plays on both sides of the ball and we were able to stay focused and execute late,” said Hunter coach Tarell Richards. (Box Score)

“I thought our kids responded to last week’s disappointing performance with some real maturity and focused energy. Still lots of work left to do and football to play,” he added.

Up North in Region 1, it was another wild and unpredictable week as three of the four games were decided by four points or less.

On Thursday Syracuse beat defending region champ Weber 24-21 as Bennett Carlson booted a 36-yard field goal with one second remaining as his team battled back from a 14-0 early deficit. (Box Score)

On Friday, Fremont and Roy both overcame deficits to rally for victories.

Fremont rallied for the 28-24 win over Northridge as Mitch Stratford connected with Brandon Baray on a 44-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining. (Box Score)

“We were very fortunate tonight to get out of Northridge with a win. We have faced a lot of adversity already this season and our players have continued to believe, work hard and prepare each day at a high level,” said Fremont coach Ross Arnold. “Tonight we faced adversity again and our players stayed united and kept competing until they found a way to grind out a win. I love their competitive and I’m proud of them.”

Fremont was 0-3 coming into the game, which included losing fourth quarter leads twice. Against Northridge it flipped the script and is now 1-1 in region.

A week ago Roy rallied past Fremont for the win, and that’s exactly what the Royals had to do again on Friday against winless Layton.

Layton built a 17-0 lead with 2:53 left in the second quarter, but the Royals’ quick-strike offense scored twice by halftime and then built a 28-17 lead in the fourth quarter — all on Jaxson Dart touchdown passes — before Layton tacked on a late score. (Box Score)

Regions 3 and 4 don’t start league play for two more weeks, but a crossover game between American Fork and East provided incredible offensive fireworks.

Hayden Betts came off the bench and threw for six touchdowns to lead American Fork to a wild 57-45 road victory at East. It was a contrast in styles as seven of American Fork’s eight touchdowns came through the air, while all seven of East’s touchdowns were on the ground — four from Sione Angilau and three from Fakaaofilani Amone.

After the game, American Fork coach Aaron Behm told the Deseret News, “we got just enough stops tonight.”

The other two crossover games between Region 3 and Region 4 were blowouts, with Corner Canyon clobbering Jordan 42-7 and then Herriman running over Westlake 41-7.

Carter Pearce had a pair of pick-sixes to spearhead a strong defensive effort from Herriman. (Box Score)

Corner Canyon didn’t score a defensive touchdown for the first time this season, but that didn’t matter as Cole Hagen threw for three scores and rushed for another in the big win. (Box Score)

“Our kids came out ready to play so we had a really good start to the game. Our defense caused and forced early turnovers. Team played really well together,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar.

Fellow Region 4 teams Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove both improved to 4-0 this preseason as well. Pleasant Grove scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from Viewmont 35-14 in a very physical game.

Caleb Campbell had another big game, throwing for more than 350 yards and three touchdowns.

Lone Peak got a huge defensive touchdown right before halftime that spearheaded it to a 28-22 win over previously undefeated Farmington. (Box Score)

Cade Walker’s 70-yard interception return gave the Knights a 21-7 lead at the half and was the turning point on what was an otherwise frustrating night, as coach Bart Brockbank told the Desert News afterward.

“Fortunately we had guys make plays at critical times, but we have a lot of things to fix before taking on Bishop Gorman next week,” said Brockbank. “So yeah, it’s good to get this one, but we’re going to have to address a ton of things in practice this week.”

Lone Peak has scored on an interception return in three of four games this season.