The defending champs are moving on.
With four minutes left in its 6A second-round game against Syracuse, Lone Peak took its first lead of the contest as quarterback Kaden Hodson threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Shaun Blanton in the corner of the end zone to give the Knights a 22-17 advantage.
That’s all Lone Peak needed as the defense came up with big stops, including a goal line stand with under a minute remaining to give the Knights the victory on the road.
“Our defense played outstanding tonight,” said Lone Peak head coach Bart Brockbank. “Our offense put them in some bad spots, and yet they rose to the occasion every time.
“Syracuse is a high-scoring team, and we knew it would come down to the end of the game, and it did!”
With 30 seconds left, and facing 1st and goal from the 10-yard line, it seemed Syracuse was destined to win behind the raucous home crowd.
But the Knights had other plans, forcing four straight incompletions to complete the come-from-behind victory Friday night.
“All week in practice our coaches preached that it would be a battle and that we had to fight until the very end and that’s exactly what we did,” said Lone Peak safety Alex Passey.
“Even though we got down early, our team never gave up.”
After Lone Peak scored to take its first lead of the game late in the fourth quarter, Syracuse came right back as the Titans drove down the field.
With just under three minutes to go in the game, the Titans went for it all as quarterback Jake Hopkins threw a deep ball down the right sideline.
The ball was intended for DJ Mayes, however it was Passey who made the play of the night as the senior snagged the ball out of the air for what appeared to be the game-clinching interception on the 1-yard line.
“We knew they were running out of time and wanted to go deep,” said Passey. “As soon as I saw the ball in the air, I knew it was going to be a 50/50 ball to decide the game. My mentality in that moment was ‘that ball is mine’ and I went up and got it. When I came down with the ball, it was the best feeling in the world.”
“Alex made a great play, and I couldn’t be happier for him,” added Brockbank. “He’s been fighting injuries throughout the season and to see him make that play was special for all of us. He’s been due for an interception, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
It was a tough loss for Syracuse as the Titans controlled much of the game. On Lone Peak’s first possession of the game, Syracuse safety Daxton Faddis intercepted the ball and returned it to the 10-yard line to set up the Titans first score of the game as running back Jake Metcalfe threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Jake Hopkins on the designed trick play.
The Titans extended the lead to 10-0 on a 35-yard field goal from Rhett Thompson.
Lone Peak answered right back as Hodson threw the first of his three touchdown passes on the day — two of which went to Blanton.
The duo connected again on the last play of the second quarter in what turned out to be a huge swing in momentum for the Knights.
After being stopped twice on the 1-yard line, with no timeouts left and with just seconds left on the clock, Lone Peak quickly scrambled together a play as Hodson faked the handoff before dodging a defender and floating a pass to Blanton in the corner of the end zone.
The junior made the grab with no time left to cut the deficit to 17-14 at the half.
“That was a huge play for us and gave us a lot of momentum going into the second half,” said Brockbank. “Without that score, we would have lost tonight.”