Friday , September 15, 2017 - 11:19 PM5 comments
WASHINGTON TERRACE — Pick your superlative.
Amazing. Unbelievable. Heart-breaking. Gut-wrenching.
High school football doesn’t get any better than what transpired at The Wallace and Thomas Budge Field on Friday evening at Bonneville.
The Ogden Tigers — losers of 36 straight just two weeks ago — are on a winning streak, overcoming a 28-14 fourth-quarter deficit to stun the host Lakers 42-35 to open Region 11 play.
The win was Ogden’s first over Bonneville since the early 1980s, a span covering at least 12 consecutive defeats, and the Tigers’ first region game in nearly three years after playing the last two seasons as an independent.
The Lakers, on the other hand, were left trying to figure out how to right the ship after their fourth consecutive defeat following an opening week victory.
“I can’t tell you how big that win just was,” first-year Ogden head coach Erik Thompson said. “We have like 10 starters out and one linebacker. We’re making up defenses and moving guys around. We got our butts kicked yesterday by Bonneville at all the levels and I just challenged them to come in here and just fight hard so that you can be proud to look at yourself in the mirror after.”
The first three quarters were relatively mundane. Sure, Bonneville’s Jonah Nielson hit a wide-open Aaron Eberhard for a 61-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the game, then Laker defensive lineman Mirko Villanueva — turned into a goal-line running back — plunged into the end zone from a yard out.
Ogden (2-3, 1-0 Region 11) couldn’t score on three attempts from the 1 as the first-half clock ran out, either, but the real fireworks didn’t start until the fourth period.
SEPT. 15 FOOTBALL LINKS
Bonneville (1-4, 0-1) held a seemingly safe 21-7 lead to start the final 12 minutes. It’s doubtful anyone expected the barrage of seven touchdowns that would follow.
At the 11:54 mark, Ogden’s Nick Freeman connected with Irving Gastelum on a 36-yard pass play to pull the Tigers to within a touchdown.
The Lakers promptly answered, churning out 74 yards on the ground on an 80-yard drive capped by Bronson Fox’s 4-yard TD run to make it 28-14 with only 6:26 to play.
Starting with Fox’s score, the next 3:17 of game time featured 42 points.
Ogden cut the deficit to a touchdown with an 80-yard Freeman to Gastelum pass play, but Bonneville struck right back as Nielson found an open Kobe Davis down the middle of the field for a 67-yard catch-and-run to make it 35-21 with 5:27 left.
“I tried to stay calm when we started getting back into it and then we just kept having bad things happen. I thought, ‘Well, you know, they’re fighting hard, just keep calling plays,’” Thompson said. “I tell them to keep fighting and good things will happen, and danged if the football gods didn’t smile on us today.”
Once again, the Tigers scored on its first play from scrimmage after taking over the ball at the 50 on an unsuccessful Laker onside kick. Rhyle Hanson scooted 50 yards for the score and, just like that, it was 35-28.
Ogden then forced the Lakers to punt and, two plays later, they were in the end zone again to tie the score. A 33-yard completion took it to the Laker 8 where Freeman found Gastelum for the third time to pull even at 35 with 3:59 left.
“For them to have only won one game in four years and to have that amount of belief and to execute in crunch time, my hat’s off to the character of the kids.” Thompson said. “The kids at Bonneville also played their hearts out.”
Ogden continued to cash in on good fortune. Jonah Lowry picked off Nielson which, combined with a Bonneville penalty on the play, gave the Tigers the ball at the Bonneville 14 with the chance to go ahead.
After Hanson took the ball to the 1, Chase Butler motored into the end zone to put Ogden on top with 3:09 left.
Finally, with the Lakers at their own 37 on fourth-and-7 with just over a minute left, the Lakers lost track of the down and spiked the ball to give it back to Ogden, who ran out the final seconds.
“I have been involved with many, many great wins, including last year with the Northridge kids that I love, but this thrill I have tonight is equal to any win I’ve ever had at any level in my life,” Thompson said. “It’s part of a process and I wasn’t sure if we were ready to take the next step, and danged if the kids didn’t go and do it tonight.”
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