No. 13 Cedar Valley took care of business Friday evening in Eagle Mountain, using a big second half to defeat No. 20 Viewmont 52-34 in the first round of the 5A state football playoffs.
The Aviators trailed the entire first half, but forced five turnovers after the break to turn things around. The school scored 38 unanswered second half points, taking full control of the contest on two consecutive interceptions returned for touchdowns.
“We came out with a lot of energy in the second half,” Cedar Valley head coach Weston Zabriskie said. “The defense played lights out in the second half. Turnovers are huge. … Turnovers make a big difference and we were able to get a lot tonight.”
Between the offense and defense, Cedar Valley had five different players score touchdowns on the night. Senior Taygen Hansen found the end zone on both sides of the ball for the Aviators. The two-way player’s first touchdown came in the third quarter on offense, giving his team its first lead of the game. Hansen’s second score came in the fourth quarter on a pick-six that pushed Cedar Valley’s lead to 31.
“I just like to do my job on both sides of the ball,” Hansen said. “When I get those big plays, I try to make the best of those opportunities.”
Hansen made the most of his opportunities Friday evening, earning praise from his coach.
“Taygen’s played great all year,” Zabriskie said. “Taygen is a kid that people need to look at for a real specialist type of (player).”
The Aviators trailed by a touchdown going into the half after struggling to stop the Viewmont offense. The Vikings scored on three of their first four drives, forcing their hosts to play catch up through the first two quarters.
Things were much different in the second half, as Viewmont’s first five possessions ended in three turnovers and two punts. Cedar Valley, however, scored on its first four possessions following the break.
The Aviators stole a possession from their visitors with an onside kick near the end of the third quarter, all but taking the game at the same time. From there, it was all Cedar Valley as the Aviators cruised to victory.
Viewmont’s loss spells an end to the season for the school and keeps the Vikings from winning their first state tournament contest since 2018. The school finishes the year with a 4-6 record and a third straight defeat.
With the win, Cedar Valley picked up its eighth victory in what has been its best record to date. The school concluded its fourth regular season with a second place finish in Region 7, behind undefeated Stansbury. The Aviators lone loss in region play came against the Stallions.
Next Friday the school will get another shot at the Region 7 champs in the second round of the state tournament. The Aviators have never made it past the second round of postseason play, but remain optimistic heading into their contest against Stansbury.
“Hopefully the kids come out with energy,” Zabriskie said. “We’ve been playing really well the last couple weeks and hopefully they keep it up.”
The Aviators second round bout with the Stallions is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.