LEHI — Pegged as a heavyweight bout between two of 6A’s best teams going in, Skyridge left little doubt which was the superior team in its 41-9 demolition of American Fork on Friday.
The Falcons came out swinging, sustained the Caveman response and then finished out strong to come away with the surprisingly lopsided win.
“It showed that our team really locked into practice this week,” said Skyridge defensive lineman Stone Mulitalo. “We were all focused and I could tell we all paid a lot of attention to the little details as we (prepared).”
Mulitalo himself apparently put in some good film prep of his own.
When American Fork appeared primed to make a game of it midway through the second quarter, Mulitalo dropped into coverage to pick off a pass to the flat. He then returned it 42 yards, scoring his third defensive touchdown in as many years, but more importantly giving back all the momentum to the Falcons and pushing the lead to 20-3.
“Any time you get a defensive score it’s a swing play,” said Skyridge coach Jon Lehman. “We started really fast, and then they put some really nice drives together ... so that was a real timely play that we expect from our best guys.”
Watch replay: Skyridge 41, American Fork 9
As far as the Falcons’ fast start goes, it rarely comes faster for any team.
Two consecutive three-and-outs forced by Skyridge’s defense gave way to two quick scoring drives, with Jeter Fenton running it from 7 yards out at the 10:57 left in the first quarter for the initial score.
The next defensive stop gave way to a 28-yard touchdown strike from Skyridge quarterback McCae Hillstead to Mitch Adamson for a quick 14-0 lead with a full 8:55 remaining in the first quarter.
“Coach (Joel) Lira does and awesome job of just getting our guys ready to go from the opening kickoff,” Lehman said of his offensive coordinator. “And then it was just good focus and good execution.”
The final score reflected good execution in every aspect of the game.
Fenton and Hillstead led the offensive charge, although the big key throughout was the play of the defense in holding American Fork’s prolific offense to a single-digit scoring output.
It was an offense averaging 50.8 points per game coming into Friday’s game, making Skyridge’s total defensive effort all the more impressive.
“I thought our pass rush was really dominating,” Lehman said. “Our front also really took away the run game and really got some awesome stuff to make the quarterback uncomfortable.”
Other defensive highlights included three interceptions, with Colby Dulle following up Mulitalo’s game-changing pick and then TJ Ragigia polishing things off with his own pick off a deflected pass by Jackson Lambert.
But as Lehman suggested, Skyridge’s offense helped out the defensive effort significantly.
“To beat an offense like that you have to maintain (drives),” Lehman said. “I thought McCae played an efficient game, as always, and some other dudes stepped up, like James Palmer and Stone Mulitalo.”
With the win, Skyridge improves to 6-0 and will next take on Pleasant Grove. American Fork falls to 5-1 with the loss and will look to rebound when taking on Westlake.