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Early stop helps Springville football get past Provo

By Brian E. Preece - Herald Correspondent | Sep 17, 2021

Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald

Springville football players prepare to take the field before the 21-14 Red Devil loss to Timpview at Springville in the second round of the 5A playoffs on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019.

The center on the offensive line typically doesn’t want a lot of attention. That’s because any attention usually comes with a penalty flag or bad snap.

But in Friday’s Region 9 contest in Provo, Springville center Porter Small perhaps made the biggest play of the game when he chased down Provo’s Kyson Condie after Condie intercepted Red Devil quarterback Ryder Burton just past midfield.

Condie looked like he was headed to paydirt when Small chased him down and tackled him just inside the 10-yard line.

Provo moved the ball to just inside the 2-yard line and elected to go for it on fourth down. The Red Devil defense rose up and stuffed the Bulldogs. Then Springville marched it down the field 90 yards before settling for a 26-yard field goal by Zach Antonino, his second of the game which put Springville ahead 6-0.

But Small’s effort, and the defensive stop that came after, completely changed the momentum of the game which eventually led to an easy 34-14 Springville victory, spoiling Provo’s Homecoming night.

“I think that was the play of the game,” Springville head coach Willy Child said. “Porter Small does stuff like that for us all the time. He didn’t give up on the play. For our defense to get a stop there, which stopped their momentum, it kind of got us going.”

Provo couldn’t move the ball on its next possession and Springville took advantage as Seth Rigtrup scored on an 8-yard pass from Burton. Antonino connected on the point after giving the Red Devils a 13-0 lead at halftime.

Provo came out fired up to start the third quarter putting together some first downs but then Jaden Toki stepped for the Red Devils with an interception and 56-yard return. This led to Burton’s second touchdown pass of the game, a 30-yard connection with Bradey Mortensen.

The Bulldogs responded with a scoring drive of their own culminating with a 13-yard scoring pass from Jace Welsch to Feitagi Lesa at the 4:00 minute mark of the third quarter. After Max Lehman’s extra point, Provo trailed 20-7.

But Springville answered the bell as Cole Clement hauled in a 12-yard reception from Burton to put the Red Devils ahead 27-7. Clement had another big game both receiving the ball while also securing an interception on defense.

Going into the final stanza, Springville tacked on one more touchdown with an 11-yard run by Tevita Valeti.

Welsch gave the home fans one last highlight with a 52-yard scoring run, but it was too little, too late as Springville left the field the victors.

Child was happy with how the team responded after last week’s setback against Spanish Fork.

“It was huge for us (to win),” the Red Devil head coach said. “It was a tough loss, but for us to rebound and come to work last Monday, our kids really responded. Our kids realized that in our region everyone is good, anybody and can beat anybody and that woke us up and we realized we have to go to work.”

With the win Springville improved to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in league play while Provo dropped to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in Region 9 action. Springville will travel to Heber City next week to take on Wasatch (5-1, 2-0), while the Bulldogs will host Spanish Fork (4-1, 2-0).

Notes: Though Springville did lose to Spanish Fork to open up the Region 9 gridiron wars, the Red Devils still found themselves ranked No. 1 in the initial 5A RPI rankings released by the Utah High School Activities Association. Though there are still four regular season games left, if Springville can win out, it’s likely the Red Devils can maintain this ranking.

Provo came into this game ranked in the third position, as Region 9 held the top three spots with Springville, Spanish Fork and Provo in that order.

Provo failed to go 6-0 for the first time since 1988 when the Bulldogs went 10-0 in the regular season and reached the then 3A semifinals.

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