Provo football at Salem Hills 1

Provo football players celebrate after beating Salem Hills, 30-26, in Salem on Oct. 4, 2019.

Provo mathematically clinched a share of the Region 8 title with a 35-13 win over Maple Mountain in gridiron action Thursday night.

With just one game remaining against Payson who is winless in region and 2-7 overall, the Bulldog program is on the cusp of doing something it hasn’t done in 30 plus seasons. That is win a league championship outright.

The only thing that is putting a damper on all of this is the new RPI system. Going into tonight’s game, Provo was ranked No. 4 in 5A according to the RPI system but behind fellow region rivals Salem Hills and Springville, two teams the Bulldogs have defeated while going on the road to do so.

Provo’s spread offense has shown the ability all season long to have aerial fireworks but the last two games the Bulldog ground assault has been very impressive. Against Salem Hills the week previous, Provo had over 200 yards rushing.

Provo’s ground game pushed in two first quarter scores as senior quarterback Luke Haslem ran in from nine outs and then later in the first stanza Dallin Havea scampered in from 22 yards. Havea would score again in the third quarter on a 21-yard run to paydirt. Sandwiched in between these two Havea scores was a Ryder MacGillivray 28-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jace Welsch, who came on to lead the Bulldogs when Haslem went down with a leg injury early in the third quarter. Daxton Leuga added an 18-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to complete the Bulldog scoring.

The Provo offensive line led by the likes of Jimmy Tomasi, Carson Kassel, Sione Fungalei, Jake Halona, and Junior Iongi have been pushing around defenders all season long. Tomasi has also wreaked havoc on the other side of the ball as a defensive tackle.

Maple Mountain did get two fourth quarter scores as Brian Bess caught 46-yard pass from Tyler Nelson while Rueben Rose plunged in from one-yard out to make the score a little bit more respectable for the Maple Mountain faithful.

With the win Provo improved to 7-2 overall and 5-0 in Region 8 action. The loss dropped Maple Mountain to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in league play. While Provo concludes its regular season against Payson, Maple Mountain will entertain Salem Hills.