Friday night saw the Lone Peak Knights and Timpview Thunderbirds face off in the first game of the season for the third straight year, and they played to the same ultimate result as the previous two years: a Lone Peak victory.
This time Knights exploded for 44 points and picked up the 44-31 win.
The two schools that ended last season as the runners-up in their respective classifications were amped and ready to get the season underway. The Thunderbirds got on the board quickly, cashing in on a 4-yard Micah Beckstead touchdown run less than three minutes into the 2021 season, but the extra point was blocked by two-way athlete Luke Durfey.
That would prove to be an omen for how the game would go.
Lone Peak immediately put together a drive of its own, with Durfey powering his way into the end zone for a 3-yard score. The drive covered 52 yards and chewed up nearly five minutes.
Following a Braden Carr extra-point conversion, the Knights took the lead and never looked back.
Lone Peak head coach Bart Brockbank felt that his offense could continue scoring at a high rate.
“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of dudes this year, a lot of our guys coming back,” he said. “A lot of our guys started last year, so we expect our offense to lead out, especially our O-line. I feel like if we have an identity this year, I think early it will be offensively.”
The offense got some help from special teams with a Luke Hyde punt return. Hyde broke free for 53 yards, speeding past diving tacklers down the Knight sideline to put Lone Peak on top 28-6 with just under minute to go in the first half.
“I caught that punt and just started running to the sideline and I saw all my boys blocking for me,” Hyde said, “so that’s how that happened. If my boys didn’t block for me, that wouldn’t have happened. Shout out to them.”
Timpview used the remaining 57 seconds to drive down the field and score on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Liu Aumavae to Pokai Haunga. Aumavae placed the ball perfectly into Haunga’s outstretched hands, with defenders clamoring all around him. Haunga fell into the end zone with a second left in the half.
The Knights did just enough to keep the Thunderbirds at bay for the final two quarters. Additional special teams help came when a Timpview attempt at an onside kick quickly backfired. Takeao Hansen picked it up and took it 50 yards for the score.
“When I saw (Hansen) catch it, we were yelling ‘get down!’ and he just had a different idea,” Brockbank said. “He just saw the end zone. I mean, he’s a special player, so we give him a lot of leeway.”
Lone Peak saw the end zone early and often on Friday and hope its high scoring night bodes well for the rest of the season. The Knights will return to action next Friday when they welcome out-of-state foe Bishop Alemany (California) to Highland. Timpview will look to bounce back in a Saturday matchup next week against Kearns.
The Knights’ game will begin at 7 p.m., while the Thunderbirds have kickoff scheduled at 4 p.m.