Britton Tidwell had a huge grin on his face after ruining another school’s Homecoming.

The Bountiful sophomore nabbed an interception on a tipped pass and took it back 22 yards for a touchdown to seal the Redhawks’ win Friday night, 23-14, and hand the Bonneville Lakers their first loss of the season.

“It kind of just blows me away, gives me a lot of butterflies,” Tidwell said.

Bountiful senior quarterback Owen Geilman completed a touchdown pass and ran for another in the win. He also threw an interception.

In a game featuring two of 5A’s top five scoring defenses, it was slow and steady work for both offenses, and Bountiful’s penchant for moving the ball with short gains made them up to the task.

“We obviously want to finish drives,” Bountiful coach Jason Freckleton said. “When we have opportunities to put teams away, we want to extend the lead. We’ve been struggling with some guys in new spots, and we’re learning our identity, and week by week, we’re getting a little closer.”

The Redhawk defense was stalwart from start to finish as they grabbed two interceptions off of Bonneville junior quarterback Jaxon Johnson and forced a fumble on a strip-sack.

“We celebrate turnovers every practice, and we’re always seeking them,” Freckleton said. “You got to just give him credit there for being around the ball and playing hard.”

Johnson compensated for his rough night throwing the ball by scoring two touchdowns on the ground.

“We knew it was going to be a good, close game,” Bonneville coach Jantz Afuvai said. “It always is between these two schools. Whoever got more breaks was going to win. We were in the battle most of the game, but we never really got good field position.”

Bonneville struggled early, punting after three plays for negative yardage. A big pass play by the Redhawks on second down set up Bountiful inside the 5-yard line where Geilman rolled out on a play fake and trotted in easily for the first score of the game.

Bountiful’s defense stayed tough and forced another three-and-out, but an interception by Bonneville junior Max Diaz kept Bountiful from another quick strike. Then, the Redhawks countered with a strip sack of Bonneville junior quarterback Jaxon Johnson to retake possession.

Geilman nearly connected on a long touchdown pass, but it was ruled incomplete. Instead, Bountiful junior kicker Ben Smith stepped on and buried a 50-yard field goal for an early 9-0 lead.

In the second quarter, after Bonneville sophomore Isaac Mansaray nearly reeled in a huge touchdown catch, Johnson was sacked again, but Bountiful put a hand on his facemask, keeping the drive alive with a penalty. Mansaray saved the drive later on with a long catch on fourth down even as he was drilled by a defender, and with under 20 seconds remaining in the half, Johnson burst into the end zone on a 2-yard keeper to get the Lakers on the board.

Bountiful took a 9-7 lead into halftime.

Bountiful took the second half kickoff and drove all the way downfield to inside the 10-yard line. Then on fourth-and-goal from the 3, Geilman rolled out left like he did on the first touchdown, but instead he found senior tight end Russell Smith uncovered on an out route for the score.

On the next drive, Johnson committed intentional grounding on third down to stall out the Lakers’ drive, but luck smiled on them when Bountiful muffed the punt and set them right back up where they were.

Following a big reception by Diaz near the end of the third quarter to set Bonneville up inside Bountiful’s 20-yard line, Bonneville opened the fourth quarter with a quarterback sneak by Johnson to pull within two, 16-14.

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Bonneville forced a three-and-out and got the ball on its own 11-yard line with 2:39 remaining and seemingly their last shot at a win, but two plays later, Tidwell delivered the backbreaker.

Bonneville tried to get downfield one more time, but sophomore Emmerson Geilman intercepted Johnson to end the game for good.

It was Bountiful’s second-straight win over the Lakers after they won last year, 20-14. Bountiful has won three of its last four against Bonneville.

“They’re a tough team, they’re well-coached,” Freckleton said. “They run different schemes than a lot of teams. We beat them last year and this year, but they’re close games.”

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