The 5A football state tournament continued Friday night, with No. 7 Lehi and No. 10 Wasatch facing off in the second round of play. Following a first-round bye, the Pioneers picked up their first win of the tournament, defeating the Wasps 35-34 in a thrilling overtime victory.
Both sides gave it their all, making important plays down the stretch. Still, no play was bigger than junior defensive back Nathan Anderegg’s blocked extra point in overtime. After a back-and-forth final quarter that saw three ties, two lead changes and 28 points, Lehi and Wasatch were notched at 28 forcing an additional period of play.
The Wasps started with the ball in overtime, needing just four plays to score on a 1-yard quarterback keeper by sophomore Quezon Villa. That was when Anderegg stepped up and made arguably the biggest play of the night amid his fellow students “block that kick!” chant.
“I practiced it all week,” Anderegg said of his blocked extra point. “I maybe tried it 20 times in practice. It really had to be timed up perfectly. I started running down. I saw it time up perfectly and just gave the whole team hope.”
Lehi head coach Ed Larson was not surprised by his Anderegg’s special team heroics. “This is a true story: on Mondays we can’t get (a kick) off on him. We have to tell him, ‘Okay get your two practices in and then back off.’ He times things so well.”
Anderegg’s timing led to a dramatic victory as the Pioneers bested the Wasps, using just three plays and a scored extra point to take them down. Junior quarterback Jackson Brousseau found senior wide receiver Jaxon Christensen for his second touchdown catch on the night in what proved to be the game-winning score.
“You never know until you have a game (like this) what kind of metal your team has. I’m proud of my kids. I’m proud of my staff,” Larson said. “This thing could have gone south real fast. Guys just maintained their composure and made things happen. The way the ball bounces is just crazy. I bet you by the time we look at the film we’ll probably pull five or six plays where you go, ‘Wow that was crucial.’ Obviously, Nate’s block was big time. But leading up to that there were plays both where we messed up and where we made plays.”
Lehi’s biggest mistake came with just over four minutes to play. After seeing their first lead of the game dissipate on a Wasatch 72-yard touchdown drive, the Pioneers failed to recover an onside kick. Wasatch followed up its 72-yard drive by moving 52 yards in just three plays to retake the lead.
Lehi regrouped, tying the game up with under a minute to play on a 10-yard Carson Gonzalez scamper and score. The touchdown forced the game into overtime, where the Pioneers would do just enough to hold on for the win.
Lehi will continue its quest for a state title when it faces off against Region 8 foe Timpview next Friday. The Pioneers lone region defeat came at the hands of the Thunderbirds earlier this month. With the loss, Wasatch falls to 7-4 and its season comes to an abrupt end.