Rams take second in Region 6 football race, get home playoff game
Oct 25, 2018 17h20
By Jana Klopsch
Senior Trajan Benson runs the option against Murray where the Rams won 24-0. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
In other regions and in other seasons, the Highland Rams may have won a region title. They were just a couple of points away from claiming the Region 6 crown this season.
The Rams were impressive this season, putting together a 4-1 mark in Region 6. They were also 7-2 overall heading into their last game at home against first-year school Farmington in a non-region clash that took place on Oct. 17, after our press deadline.
Highland was runner-up to Olympus, which went undefeated and wasn’t challenged all year—except by Highland.
The Rams went toe to toe with the Titans, causing their potent offense fits by holding Olympus well below its season average in points and yardage. In the end, Highland came up just short, falling 13-12 in the Sept. 28 contest. Ultimately, this heartbreaking loss cost Highland a region title. It was the second year in a row Highland took second in league play. Last season it was a game behind Region 6 champion (and eventual state champion Lehi).
In the game against Olympus, Highland stifled a Titan offense that had been averaging 45 points a game, limiting the Titans to just seven points through three quarters. Trailing 7-6 in the fourth quarter, Highland scored on a 1-yard run from Trajan Benson with under 10 minutes to go. A failed two-point conversion left the score at 12-7 for Highland. Olympus regained the lead with under a minute to play, but Highland raced down field only to come up just short in the final seconds.
Highland held Olympus to just six pass completions and 95 yards on the ground. Niela Lehauli had an interception, while Tevita Tuha had a sack and eight tackles.
Other than the slim loss to Olympus, the Rams had their way with three of the other four Region 6 foes. Highland’s wins in league play were by an average score of 36-8—and that includes a close 28-24 victory over Lehi on Oct. 5
Another significant win Highland had came in non-region play against Lone Peak on Sept. 7. The Rams handed the perennial state powers from the 6A ranks a 21-9 loss. Highland limited Lone Peak to 250 yards of offense and had two interceptions. The same Lone Peak team later defeated nationally ranked Bingham, handing the Miners their first regular loss to an in-state foe in six years.
For their efforts, Highland gets a home game in the first round of the 5A tournament. It will host Timpview, the third-place team from Region 7, on Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.
Running the ball well will be critical for Highland in the postseason. The Rams have had little trouble doing that this season in its ground-focused attack. Numerous players have seen time in the backfield. Colton White leads the way with 94 carries for 549 yards and eight touchdowns. Bronson Olevao isn’t far behind at 476 yards. Quarterback Trajan Benson hasn’t had to throw much. He has 291 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns to go along with 80 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Kaufusi Pakofe has been a force on the team’s strong unit. He entered the final game of the regular season with five sacks and 20 tackles.
Last season, Highland blew out Wasatch 61-24 in round one of the state tournament. It then fell to Corner Canyon 37-0 in the quarterfinals.