To finish off a rivalry victory over Lone Peak, the American Fork defense needed to get a big stop.
They got three.
American Fork sacked Knights quarterback Luke Romney three times on the final series of the game as the Cavemen held on for a 26-21 victory in Highland on Thursday.
Griffin Hadlock, Noah Moeaki and Bodie Schoonover all broke through the Lone Peak line to chase down Romney and prevent a comeback for the home team on Senior Night.
"We knew what was on the line," said Schoonover, who was in his second game back returning from an MCL injury. "We came out here and did our thing, that’s it. This win was important so we just did our best effort and see what happens, we came out with a W. It's good to be back. Tonight we showed our potential, a glimpse of what we can really do."
American Fork (6-3 overall, 3-1 Region 4) took a 26-14 lead on a 1-yard Jaxon Gregory run with 3:20 left in the third quarter. The Cavemen had a time consuming drive in the fourth and it looked like time had run out on Lone Peak.
But Jared Fotu picked off an AF pass and sped 55 yards for a score and the Knights cut the lead to just five, 26-21, with six minutes remaining. Lone Peak got the stop they wanted to get the ball back with a chance to take the lead but Hadlock, Moeaki and Schoonover ruined those plans with their defensive gems.
The first half belonged to American Fork. Late in the first quarter, BYU commit Devin Downing got loose in the secondary, taking a short pass from Maddux Madsen, breaking a tackle and eventually finding the end zone on an 85-yard scoring play for a 6-0 lead. At the 9:49 mark of the second quarter, Peyton Wilson snared a Romney pass and sprinted 27 yards for a score, and a failed two-point conversion pushed the AF lead to 12-0.
Madsen and Downing teamed up on another long pass play — a 57-yarder down the sideline — to push the Caveman lead to 19-0 with 5:16 to play in the first half.
Lone Peak finally broke into the scoring column with just over two minutes to play in the half. Daniel Yamada broke loose on a 34-yard touchdown run to cut the visitors lead to 19-7. American Fork got a little greedy and tried to push the ball down the field for another score but the Knights defense came up big again, with Britton Berry doing the honors on a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown that trimmed the AF advantage to 19-14 at halftime.
The American Fork defense forced four turnovers and also blocked two Lone Peak field goals in a rematch of last year’s 6A state title game, won by the Knights.
Lone Peak (5-4 overall, 1-3 Region 4) lost its third straight game by single digits. The Knights finish off the regular season next Wednesday at Pleasant Grove.
American Fork concludes regular-season play by hosting top-ranked Corner Canyon.