Still undefeated Hawks beat
out rival Rabbits, 28-21
By Matt Harris
MT. PLEASANT—Rivalry football is always a different brand, and Delta made that quite clear, nearly spoiling homecoming for the North Sanpete football team.
Nevertheless, the Hawks’ talent and pass offense did enough to solidify a harder-than-expected win over rival Delta, 28-21, in front of a homecoming crowd last Friday, to move to 6-0 for the second straight season.
Junior quarterback Landon Bowles had another impressive day, completing 16 of 22 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers. Most of what he got done was courtesy of the powerful running after-catch capability of senior tight end Cole Mickel, who only had three catches the whole game for 35 yards, but all three of them were for touchdowns.
The Hawks finished with 126 total rushing yards as senior running back Trevin Morley led with 14 carries for 87 yards.
Coach Rhett Bird was unavailable to comment on the game.
With Delta receiving the first kickoff, the Rabbits showcased an opening drive littered with option plays and strong runs and scored on a 1-yard run from senior Oran Finlinson. The Rabbits became the first team this season to get on the board first against North Sanpete.
In response, the Hawks trotted out and engineered a touchdown drive off several chunk run plays by Morley before Bowles connected with Mickel on a fade route from 15 yards out.
After stopping Delta on fourth down, the Hawks scored in two plays as Bowles faked two handoffs and found senior Brady Jacobsen on a wheel route for a 47-yard score. Jacobsen scored his fifth touchdown of 30 plus yards on the season with the score.
Two possessions later, North Sanpete stalled out on their third offensive series of the game and elected to punt, but the snap went sailing over senior punter Rance Christensen’s head, and Christensen only could jump on the ball and allow the Rabbits a possession inside Hawk territory.
In a few plays, the Rabbits worked their way up the 6-yard line, and then Delta quarterback Will Finlinson made an impressive play at the goal line. The senior initially rushed forward on a quarterback run, but as he was bottled up inside the 5, the quarterback pitched a lateral over to Oran Finlinson as he was falling down, and Oran walked in for the tying score.
After halftime, the Hawks opened with a long completion to senior Magnus Clawson and got down inside the 10-yard line, but a strong defensive stand by Delta led to a turnover on downs. Delta stalled out the ensuing possession and punted from their own end zone.
A few plays into the Hawks’ next drive, Bowles connected again with Mickel, rolling out left and hitting the tight end in the flat for a 6-yard touchdown.
After stopping Delta and getting their highest point of momentum in the game, the Hawks marched downfield early in the fourth quarter, and Bowles connected with Mickel for the third time. This time, Mickel caught the pass roughly 5 yards short of end zone but gifted the homecoming crowd with a signature Mickel-style play as the powerful senior dragged three defenders into the end zone for the 14-yard score and the 14-point lead.
Delta was not going away, however, and the Rabbits got back within a touchdown on the ensuing possession as Will Finlinson took off for a 47-yard quarterback run and score.
After a few penalties, the Hawks were forced to punt to Delta to give them one last shot with 1:17 remaining. After two plays with little gain, Delta went for the option pitch that had been dangerous against the Hawks all game long, but sophomore Josh Jackson fumbled the pitch, and senior cornerback Parker Lee flew in to recover the game-winning play.
The Hawks finished the game with 359 total yards.
North Sanpete’s 6-0 start to the season is on the line in a big way this Friday as the Hawks prepare to host rival Juab. The Wasps have beaten North Sanpete in all five contests of Bird’s coaching career.