In a battle of unbeatens, American Fork made things clear that it was the superior team Friday night in a 62-28 beatdown of Lehi.
The Cavemen have reached 6-0 for the first time since 1995 and snapped Lehi’s 24 game win streak in eye-popping fashion.
“We knew that they were a very good team,” American Fork head coach Aaron Behm said. “We had to play our best to beat a team like them.”
The Cavemen played some of their best football Friday night in what was the Region 3 opener for both schools. American Fork used a balanced approach, keeping Lehi on its toes all night long.
“We want to be diverse,” Behm said. “We were able to run the ball and we felt like if we could do that it would open up some things in the secondary … Then when we got up a little bit and were really able to lean on our tight ends and our running back, we were able to kind of put it away there.”
By the end of the third quarter, American Fork had slammed the door shut, taking a 34-point lead into the final period.
However, things had been much tighter in the first half.
The Pioneers got on the board first, scoring a touchdown on their initial drive of the contest. The Cavemen tied things up on their opening drive though, when senior running back Dax Watts walked into the end zone for a 2-yard score.
Moments later, Watts gave American Fork the lead on a pick-six and the Cavemen never looked back.
“(I’m) super proud of our kids for coming out and getting a defensive score in the first half to steal some momentum,” Behm said. “(Turnovers are) always emphasized by our defensive coaches.”
All said, American Fork forced four turnovers, with three coming in a lopsided second half that saw the Cavemen outscore Lehi 29-7.
Following Watts’ first half interception, American Fork senior running back Jacob Eardley added a couple touchdowns on the ground to give his team a 27-7 advantage.
But Lehi wasn’t about to go away, cutting things to six on a pair of scores coming over a span of less than two minutes.
“We knew we had shot ourselves in the foot,” Behm said of his team’s mistakes that allowed the Pioneers to momentarily get back in the game during the second quarter.
“We started with a false start and had to punt and then we turned the ball over, so we were stopping ourselves which allowed them to cut it back to six and once we stopped doing that as much we were in better shape.”
Another Eardley touchdown as the first half neared its end got the Cavemen back up by two possessions and was the first of five straight unanswered American Fork touchdowns that spanned from the second to the fourth quarter.
The aftermath marked the most points a team has scored against Lehi since 2017 when Alta put up 66 in a loss to the Pioneers.
On paper, the two schools were evenly matched coming into Friday. Before American Fork’s dominant victory, the Cavemen and the Pioneers had the exact same points per game average of 37.8 through the first five weeks of the season.
In the two games leading up to its massive matchup with Lehi, American Fork exploded for 78 points while at the same time giving up just seven.
Lehi, meanwhile, entered the contest boasting double-digit victories, by two touchdowns or more, in each of the first five weeks of the season.
But Friday, only the Cavemen offense looked unstoppable.
American Fork will look to keep things rolling when, along with Lehi, it continues region play next week. The Cavemen travel to Lone Peak while the Pioneers battle for supremacy of Lehi in a matchup with Skyridge.
Both games are scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.