CASTLE DALE—After a rough first week, senior Landon Bowles was smiling when he stepped off the field in Castle Dale last Friday.
He had every reason to, as the senior quarterback delivered a clean and pristine performance in North Sanpete football team’s redemptive 27-0 shutout win over Emery on the road, giving the Hawks their first win of the season and their fifth shutout in Coach Rhett Bird’s tenure.
Bird said that Bowles “made a lot better decisions” during the game, the result of a week-long training on timing and knowing when to run. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions or turnovers, including a 74-yard bomb to senior Kolby Robinson for a score.
Robinson was dynamic in the passing game, leading all receivers with 111 yards on seven catches with one touchdown. Senior Andy Mower had six catches for 46 yards and a touchdown, and junior Ty Allan had a nose for the end zone as he caught three passes for 32 yard and two touchdowns.
Senior Xander Shelley led all rushers with 13 carries for 70 yards.
The Hawks’ defense had perhaps the most dramatic turnaround as they turned in the shutout after allowing 40 points last week. The Hawks held Emery to only 161 net yards on 55 plays and also forced a fumble and an interception, picked off by senior Dante Lowe and returned for 22 yards. They also had three sacks.
“Emery actually ran the ball pretty hard,” Bird said. “We got guys to the ball a lot more this game, and we didn’t ever put the defense in a bad situation because of a turnover or mistake that we made on offense.”
The big throw to Robinson got the Hawks up 7-0 within the first minute of play, but the second quarter is where North Sanpete got the most separation, as Landon threw a pair of touchdowns to Allan within three minutes, the latter of which was from 21 yards out, and the Hawks led at halftime, 20-0
Late in the third quarter, Bowles found Mower for a 5-yard score for the 27-0 lead, and the Hawks rode their stellar defense the rest of the way for the win.
“Getting that win under our belt says a lot to the kids trusting what we ask them to do and that what we ask them to do can come out as a win,” Bird said. “It boosts our confidence, the coaches’ confidence, the kids’ confidence, and that’s something that we can use moving forward.”
Oddly enough, North Sanpete’s 27 points was the fewest points scored by the Hawks in a win since September of 2019 against Richfield when they won, 21-14.