Lone Peak used two quarterbacks to perfection on a key scoring drive to end the first half and held on to top Orem 24-7 in Highland on Friday.
The two teams – which hadn’t played each other since 2004 – were locked in a tight defensive battle in the first half, with Lone Peak taking a 14-7 lead late into the second quarter.
That’s when the Knights brought in senior quarterback Jonah Heimuli to replace senior Luke Romney for a little change of pace.
“Luke is our starter,” Lone Peak coach Bart Brockbank said. “Luke is our guy. Jonah just adds a little bit of a different element. We’ve had a hard time sustaining long drives this year and we talked a lot about using Jonah and Luke in different situations.”
Lone Peak took over possession with 3:16 to play and 80 yards to go. Heimuli led the Knights smartly down the field, completely all three of the passes he threw. The last was a 26-yard completion to Will Christensen to get Lone Peak to the Orem 11-yard line. After a penalty on the Tigers, Romney checked back in and connected on a fade route to Weston Covey for a 6-yard scoring pass and a 21-7 lead at the half.
“The long drive was key for us and I think it changed the momentum to where our kids were going into the half really excited,” Brockbank said.
Romney, who threw a pair of touchdown passes in the game, added, “Jonah got us down there. He had a great throw (to Christensen) rolling out then the coaches put me in. Covey just made a great play on the ball and went up and got it.”
In the second half, Lone Peak managed just one score – a 44-yard Benjamin Miller field goal – but the Knights defense was suffocating. Led by John Henry Daley, Maxx Oborn, Luke Durfey and an interception by Kao Hansen, Lone Peak held Orem to just 29 yards in the third quarter and 80 in the second half.
“Our defense is the best in the state, no doubt,” Romney said. “They are just unreal and a great defensive unit.”
Romney opened the game by throwing deep down the middle on the Knights first play from scrimmage. Sophomore Crew McChesney outraced two Orem defenders for the ball and sped 80 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead for the home team.
“We drew it up perfectly,” Romney said. “We’d gone over it and it was going to be our first play from the start. Once we saw the safeties come up I knew he was going to be wide open behind them. It was a great route and he just outran the kid.”
Orem tied the game early in the second quarter behind quarterback Lance Reynolds III, grandson of former BYU coach Lance Reynolds. The freshman led the Tigers on a 7-play, 80-yard drive, including a 64-yard completion to Devon Sa-Chisolm to put Orem in scoring position. A 2-yard touchdown pass to Aisake Toiaovao made the score 7-7.
Lone Peak jumped back out in front after Jaxson Willits broke off a 28-yard run to the Orem 5-yard line. On the next play, Luke Durfey lined up in the Wildcat formation and turned right end for a 5-yard scoring run and a 14-7 Knights lead.
“The defense was awesome,” Brockbank said. “Really, the only disappointing part of the night was the big play we gave up where our safety got his hips turned. He missed the call on the switch out but that was something we fixed in the second half. I thought their effort was great. I think John Henry did a really great job all night. He was the man. I though in general, everybody played well on the defense.”
Lone Peak moved to 5-0 heading into what should be an epic round of Region 4 games. Asked if his team was ready for Region 4, Brockbank said, “Can we ever be? We have to be, regardless.”
The Knights open region play next week at Westlake. Orem, which fell to 3-2, has a non-region game against 4A Morgan on Sept. 25 and gets back into Region 7 action at Timpview on Oct. 2 in a rematch of last year’s 5A championship game, won by the Tigers.