OREM — It didn’t take long for Orem to respond to the gut punch it sustained in Friday’s 24-14 win over Alta.
Just over one minute of play, as it were.
Up 10-0 for most of the first half, the Tigers surrendered two touchdowns to the visiting Hawks in the first half’s final two minutes. First came Ethan Jackson hitting Isaak Hanson with a 15-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10-6, before setting up the improbable just seconds before the end of the half.
An interception by Hanson set up Alta with an opportunity to score to end the half, before the Tigers buckled down and left the Hawks with one final play from the 42-yard line. But a Jackson Hail Mary to D’Andre Randolph found pay dirt as the first half time expired to suddenly give the Hawks a 14-10 edge entering the break.
Tiger players entered the half understandably upset, yet determined to turn things around.
“We worked to kind of give them a little extra motivation at halftime,” said Orem interim head coach Gabriel Sewell. “With homecoming, it’s sometimes hard to keep kids focused, but they buckled up and got it done.”
As mentioned, it didn’t take Orem long to respond.
Two big plays in a row set up the Tigers at Alta’s 15-yard line on the first possession of the second half, which was capped off by Lance Reynolds hitting Joseph Smith with a 15-yard touchdown pass.
A defensive stop on the next possession gave way to another long Orem drive, which was capped off quickly by an electrifying 68-yard touchdown run from Kolton Brown down the sidelines, pushing Orem’s lead to 24-14.
“They were down, but we just told them not to get down on the themselves and trust their techniques and they’d be alright,” Sewell said. “So it was great to see them respond like that.”
Also responding in a big way was Reynolds, who was asked to sub in for starter Micah Fe’a being just a freshman. But throughout the course of the game, Reynolds’ age hardly showed in his play, as he proved steady throughout.
Of course Reynolds had some help.
“He did a great job, but along with that goes a lot of credit to our offensive line,” Sewell said. “They kept that pocket clean and time to get rid of the ball. He played to his strengths and allowed us to get this win tonight.”
Defense again played big, holding Alta scoreless for all but two minutes of the entire game with a ferocious pass rush and stingy rush defense.
“We made good adjustments on defense and it worked out great for us,” Sewell said. “This was a big win for us and I think it will carry us into next week with a lot of motivation to stay high and not come out flat.”
Orem improves to 3-1 on the year with the win and will take on Logan next. Alta drops to 2-2 with the loss and will take on Corner Canyon next.