HERRIMAN — Provo football came ready to play Friday in the first round of the 5A state playoffs.
The Bulldogs went on the road to face a much-improved Mountain Ridge team in its second year. The Sentinels were riding a two-game win streak with high hopes of getting the school’s first ever playoff win, but Provo had other plans in mind, scoring 28 points in the first half en route to a 34-14 victory.
Provo head coach Kirk Chambers was pleased with his team’s quick start.
“We talked about it all week coming out with intensity,” he said. “Playoff football has got to be different, so that’s been the emphasis all week.”
The Bulldogs looked ready for playoff football, jumping to a 14-0 first quarter lead while holding the Sentinels to a measly two first downs in the period. Provo scored its first touchdown on a Jace Welsch quarterback keeper that went for 46 yards.
The Bulldogs followed up Welsch’s big touchdown run by forcing Mountain Ridge into a three-and-out, leading to great field position on offense. Senior wide receiver Ryder MacGillivray capped off his team’s 33-yard drive with a 5-yard catch for Provo’s second touchdown in less than five minutes.
Watch replay: Provo 34, Mountain Ridge 14
Mountain Ridge did its best to claw its way back into the game but only fell further behind in the second quarter. The Sentinels missed a field goal before junior quarterback Ayden Helm scored his team’s lone touchdown of the half on a 4-yard scamper at the 6:12 mark, but Provo added to its lead, scoring two more touchdowns before the half.
The first came via a 33-yard run on the legs of wildcat quarterback Kyson Condie, and sophomore wide receiver Tallo Takitaki scored the Bulldogs’ final touchdown of the half on a 24-yard snag with 49 seconds remaining before intermission.
The Bulldogs’ offense would not score again for the rest of the game, and Chambers acknowledged, “There was a little bit of a letdown coming out after half especially on our offensive side of the ball, but man, our defense stepped up big time.”
Provo’s defense had its biggest play of the game when junior linebacker Daniel Asisi tipped a pass that sailed into defensive back Ty Larsen’s hands. The junior defender took the ball 79-yards for a score, erasing all hope for Mountain Ridge.
“Daniel made a great play on the ball,” Larsen said. “He tipped it up and then I got it. (My teammates) made some great blocks and it just ended up working in our favor. It was really fun.”
Said Chambers: “Ty Larsen’s pick six, that was incredible. That’s an incredible play. I’m really proud of him. I’m proud of the team playing hard and picking up the intensity and keeping it throughout the game.”
Provo will have to keep that intensity up going into next week when it faces off against the defending 5A state champion Orem Tigers. The game is set for Friday at 6 p.m.