The Maple Mountain defense intercepted five Payson passes to lead the Golden Eagles past the Lions, 31-0.
Peyton Breinholt led the defensive effort with three interceptions, all in the first half. Derek Blanthorn added a diving interception in the third quarter and Ethan Davis capped off the game with one on Payson’s final possession.
“We were trying to get underneath some of the routes they like to throw and it worked for us tonight,” Maple Mountain head coach Brad Burtenshaw said. “Our whole defense did a good job of bending but not breaking. We didn’t give up one big play the entire night.”
The win gives bumps Maple Mountain up to a 3-2 record. Its best start through five games since 2015.
Despite running only three plays in the first quarter, the Golden Eagles led 3-0 after the opening period. It was in the second quarter that the Maple Mountain offense and quarterback Tyler Nelson found its rhythm.
First, Nelson was flushed from the pocket and found fellow junior Brian Bess open behind the defense for a long touchdown pass.
Later in the quarter Nelson connected with Reuben Rose out of the backfield and the senior running back broke a pair of Payson tackles down the sideline on his way to the end zone.
“We just came out with a lot more heart tonight,” Bess said. “We really wanted it after last week’s tough loss. We wanted to come out and just punch them in the mouth.”
Bess and Nelson teamed up for another touchdown in the third quarter-Bess’s fifth of the season-and junior running back Quinlin Jackson topped of the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“I hope this gets us back on track,” Burtenshaw said. “We’re still a pretty young team and any time we can win doing things well that builds our confidence. We just want to be in a good place as we get into the rest of our region schedule.”
Both teams will continue region play next week as Maple Mountain welcomes Wasatch and Payson plays host to Springville.