Two weeks into the 2021 high school football season, and Syracuse is already backing up the high expectations surrounding the program.
A week after edging Riverton for the season-opening win, Syracuse played dominant defense Saturday afternoon at the Charger Kickoff Classic at Corner Canyon High School, rolling to the comfortable 31-7 victory over Brighton.
“Our D coordinator did a heck of a job and the kids executed the game plan and played hard. We weren’t backing down and they were ready to go. That’s a big win for us, that’s a dang good football team over there,” said Syracuse coach Mike Knight.
Brighton rolled into the game full of confidence after hanging 49 points on Pleasant Grove in Week 1, but Syracuse flew around defensively and disrupted everything the Bengals tried to do, forcing three turnovers and recording five sacks.
Defensive end Matt Lafaso accounted for two of those sacks as the senior wreaked havoc against a Brighton offensive line that had a noticeable size advantage in the trenches. Lofaso said it served as extra motivation.
“I love the challenge, and I know the whole D-line loved the challenge. We’re faster, we’re stronger and we want out and played our butts off,” said Lofaso.
A year ago, such a strong defensive performance would’ve been unlikely for Syracuse as it finished the season ranked 20th in 6A allowing 28.0 ppg.
Based on the past two weeks, such performances could be the norm going forward for the Titans.
“It means a lot because everybody counts us out, and we’re showing that we’re back and we’re going to dominate,” said Lofaso, who is one of eight returning starters defensively for Syracuse this season.
“Our D coordinator did a heck of a job and the kids executed the game plan and played hard. We weren’t backing down and they were ready to go. That’s a big win for us, that’s a dang good football team over there.” — Syracuse coach Mike Knight
Offensively Syracuse had some miscues of its own, turning the ball over twice, but was always playing from in front after scoring on its first two possessions.
Syracuse took the opening kickoff and methodically marched 80 yards in 11 plays, with Chandler Christensen hauling in a 19-yard TD pass from Jake Hopkins at the 6:51 mark of the first quarter.
Brighton responded with a promising opening drive of its own, but coughed it up, with Syracuse’s Miles Draper recovering the fumble. Three plays later the Titans were in the end zone again with Daxton Faddis scoring on an 8-yard run for the 14-0 lead.
After the hot start, Syracuse’s offense struggled to get anything going offensively for a while, but eventually used a little trickery to snap out of the funk.
With 49 seconds left in the first half, Syracuse tried a halfback pass, with Jake Metcalfe hitting Dylan Croxford on a 67-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 21-0.
“We had that in all week, we’ve had that in for a while. We used it last year actually earlier in the year and it worked well for us. We’re being aggressive and we’re trying to do everything we can to make sure our kids are put in a position to be successful, and we can be aggressive. We’re going to be aggressive,” said Knight.
Brighton responded with a quick score of its own on Kade Gurr 2-yard TD run 11 seconds before halftime, but that was the only score of the day for the Bengals.
Jake Hopkins added one more TD pass in the third quarter, connecting with Croxford for his second touchdown of the game.