SPANISH FORK — Earlier this season, the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles ended a long and frustrating losing streak to Springville, beating their rivals for the first time since 2012.
They didn’t have to wait long to do it again.
The Golden Eagles came up with a couple of big defensive stops in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 5A second round game to hold on for the 27-21 victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
“Whenever these two teams get together, there’s no lack of motivation on either side,” said Maple Mountain coach Brad Burtenshaw. “It’s always hard to beat a team twice.”
No. 6 seed Maple Mountain will get to host another game next Friday against No. 14 seed Alta.
Defense was the story of the game for the Golden Eagles, which was steady throughout even as the offense went through patches of inconsistency. Maple Mountain scored all 27 of its points in the first half, but in the second half, the offense stalled on all five drives, which included two interceptions.
It wasn’t an issue, as the defense picked up the slack.
After Springville cut the Golden Eagles’ lead to 27-21 with 10:33 remaining in the game on a Seth Rigtrup 25-yard touchdown, it twice reclaimed possession with good field position to try and drive down for the winning score. Those two drives ended in a fumble and a turnover on downs on fourth and 13.
Burtenshaw said the resiliency of his defense really stood out on Friday night.
“They’re really a physical team with good athletes and guys that are hard to tackle, and we knew we were going to have a tough time with them, and I was just really proud of how they made tackles and made plays when they needed to,” said Burtenshaw.
Early on, it looked as if it might take 40 points to win the rivalry game.
Maple Mountain’s offense scored every time it touched the ball in the first half and even once when it didn’t on a pick six as it opened up a 27-14 halftime lead.
Johnny Kearl opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown catch from Tyler Nelson just four minutes into the game, and on Springville’s ensuing possession, Jonah Beutler returned an interception for a touchdown, giving the Golden Eagles the 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Springville’s offense settled down after the poor opening drive.
Suddenly down two scores, the Red Devils ripped off a 13-play, 80-yard drive that Bradey Mortensen capped with a 13-yard touchdown reception from Kaden DeLlamas, cutting the deficit to 14-6. It was the only passing attempt of the drive as Rigtrup did most of the heavy lifting with 58 rushing yards alone.
He finished the game with 177 yards on 24 carries
Maple Mountain wasted no time bouncing right back, as Nelson connected with Kyson Hall in the slot on a 6-yard touchdown reception for the 21-6 cushion.
Springville again had an answer, this time quickly with Zachary Mitchell snagging a 21-yard touchdown pass from DeLlamas in the corner of the end zone, trimming the lead to 21-14 with the successful two-point conversion.
Maple Mountain’s last two scores of the first half were field goals from Seth Krommenhoek, which left the door open for Springville to have a chance in the second half.