For most of the 2020 season, defense has been the hallmark of the Lone Peak football team, often picking up an offense that has struggled to put things together.

On Thursday night, the Knights offense had the defense’s back.

Jonah Heimuli came on in relief and threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns — all to Weston Covey — and the Lone Peak ground game came up big in the second half as Knights held off American Fork 48-45 in a Region 4 rivalry game.

Covey finished with six catches for 130 yards and four touchdowns as Lone Peak piled up 490 yards of offense.

“If you had told me we were going to give up 45 points I wouldn’t believe it, first of all, and I wouldn’t have believed we would win,” Lone coach Bart Brockbank said. “The defense didn’t have its best night, but our offense has been progressively getting better. They are on an uphill swing and we’re starting to click on all cylinders. Our defense has been saving us and so it was nice for once to have our offense save our defense.”

American Fork’s Maddux “Mad Dog” Madsen opened the game completing 12 of his first 13 throws and an 18-yard scoring pass to Fisher Ingersoll gave the home team a 17-8 lead with 2:37 to play in the first half.

Heimuli, who entered the contest midway through the first quarter, had already connected with Covey on a 62-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter.

“I’m just ready whenever,” Heimuli said. “I am preparing like I am the starter, so when it’s my time to come in I’m ready for whatever they throw at us.”

With 35 seconds left in the half, Heimuli found Covey wide open in the end zone on a 5-yard scoring pass to pull the Knights to within two, 17-15, at the break.

“Jonah provided a great spark,” Brockbank said. “He adds something. The defense can’t stack the box because they have to worry about the quarterback run. He was throwing darts tonight.”

Ashton Matheny picked off a Heimuli pass early in the third quarter and returned the ball from midfield to the Lone Peak 1-yard line, where Cache Abo banged in for a 24-15 American Fork lead.

“After that pick I told my team ‘That’s on me, but were going to come back and win this game,’ and that’s what we did,” Heimuli said.

Heimuli led the Knights on five straight scoring drives after the interception, utilizing the big-play ability of Covey and a suddenly potent ground game led by Eli Cloward and Luke Durfey, who combined for 149 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. A 25-yard touchdown pass from Heimuli to Covey gave Lone Peak a 41-31 lead with 8:34 to play.

Madsen’s fifth touchdown pass — a 7-yard toss to Ingersoll — brought the Caveman back to within three points at 48-45 with 2:07 to play. American Fork needed a stop but on third-and-one Durfey crashed ahead for three yards and a first down, allowing the Knights to run out the clock.

“For us the rivalry means a huge deal,” Brockbank said. “I’m a Lehi kid so I always want to beat AF. For RPI and seeding, this win is enormous. It potentially puts us in position to get a first round bye in the playoffs.”

Lone Peak (8-1 overall, 3-1 Region 4) will close the regular season next Wednesday against Pleasant Grove.

Madsen finished 26 of 42 for 357 yards and five touchdowns for American Fork and Ingersoll had six catches for 94 yards and four scores. The Cavemen (7-2, 2-2) conclude region play against undefeated Corner Canyon.

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