Hawks travel to Richfield prevail over Wildcats 21-14
By Matt Harris
RICHFIELD—The North Sanpete football team prevailed despite a late rally from Richfield and beat the Wildcats on their own field, 21-14, to start Region 14 play last Friday.
The Hawks remain undefeated so far on the season at 4-0. It is the first time the Hawks have started 4-0 in 17 years. This most recent win did not come easy, and it served a reminder to Coach Rhett Bird and his players that the region field is just as tough as they are.
“This was a much closer game,” Bird said, “and I think we went into it thinking that it wasn’t going to be. The reason I say that is because you can tell if you are ready for a game or not by how pre-game goes and it was very relaxed.”
Sophomore quarterback Landon Bowles guided an offense that netted 288 total yards. For the first time this season, Bowles did not throw an interception, and North Sanpete had only one turnover.
Despite not lighting up the scoreboard like they have the last few weeks, the Hawks were scoring just enough and doing everything they needed to on defense to maintain the edge throughout most of the game.
North Sanpete held a 7-0 lead at halftime after Bowles hit senior Payton Clawson for a 13-yard score on fourth down on the Hawks’ first drive.
Early in the third, senior fullback Connor Jorgensen broke out for a 25-yard touchdown run after bouncing off the initial scrum and going outside to beat the whole defense to the endzone.
That was when Richfield finally woke up. The Wildcats responded to Jorgensen’s run with a long clock-munching drive going all the way downfield. On fourth down inside the Hawks’ 20-yard line, Wildcat Brynn Riddle broke two tackles and marched into the endzone for a score, making it 14-7 North Sanpete.
On the ensuing drive, Bowles completed pass after pass to get the Hawks downfield. On the Wildcats’ 23-yard line, Bowles went unexpectedly under center—a move that was out of character for Bird’s shotgun-based offense. Pulling up from the snap, Bowles fired a screen pass out to Clawson, who planted his feet and fired a double-pass to the endzone. Waiting in the endzone, senior Jaxton Langschwager backslid between two Wildcat safeties for the catch and the touchdown.
Richfield scored once more on a 20-yard pass in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough, and North Sanpete claimed the victory to start region play 1-0.
The North Sanpete defense flexed its usual muscle and made life difficult for Richfield’s offense. They intercepted two passes and had four sacks. They did, however, surrender their highest allowed point total of the season so far.
“By the time the game ended,” Bird said, “I think we found out more about where we need to improve rather than them figuring out how to score on us.”
The Hawks continue to field the second-best scoring defense in 3A football, second to Morgan, and are one of only five teams in the state to have not yet allowed 30 points total this season.
North Sanpete returns home this Friday to host Grand. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Grand is 2-2 on the season.