Rams get tough playoff draw, bow out in football postseason
Dec 11, 2018 10h40
By Josh McFadden
Senior Trajan Benson runs the option against Murray where the Rams won 24-0. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
In the postseason, matchups can determine a team’s fate. The Highland High School football team found that out the hard way in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament Oct. 26. The Rams lost to Timpview 35-10, the third-place team from Region 7.
But Timpview isn’t like a lot of other third-place clubs. The Thunderbirds had to go up against the likes of Corner Canyon, which advanced to the state title game, and Jordan, among other tough squads.
Had the Rams matched up against a third-place team from a different region, things may have turned out differently.
Still, Highland players have no reason to hang their heads.
The Rams finished the season by finishing second in Region 6, losing only to undefeated Olympus. Overall, Highland ended up with an 8-3 record on the year. It was the third time in the past four seasons that the program registered at least eight victories.
Against Timpview, Highland couldn’t ride an energetic home crowd to victory. The game was actually a close, back-and-forth affair—if you take away the first quarter. Unfortunately for Highland, the first nine minutes were a disaster.
Timpview rolled up three quick first-quarter touchdowns, bolting to a 21-0 lead by the three-minute mark of the opening period. Highland did manage a Rex Graham field goal from 30 yards out as time expired in the first half, closing the gap to 21-3 at the break. Timpview put the game away with 14 straight points—a touchdown and extra point in both the third and fourth quarters. It wasn’t until the 9:28 mark of the fourth quarter that Highland got into the end zone. That score came on a blocked field goal attempt, as Cameron Levy scooped up the ball and ran 79 yards for the TD.
The normally potent Ram running attack had just 128 yards on the ground, while the T-birds amassed an impressive 319. Trajan Benson completed seven of nine passes for 76 yards for Highland. The Rams did limit Timpview to 14 completions, but the T-Birds were content to keep things on the ground much of the game.
Defensively, Tevita Tuha recorded eight tackles, while teammates Bronson Olevao, Kaufusi Pakofe and Lavell Manavahe each had five stops.
The Rams will return its leading rusher, Colton White, next season. The junior had nearly 700 yards on the ground to go along with nine touchdowns. Benson graduates, leaving a starting opening at the quarterback spot. However, junior backup Hunter Lambert also saw some time under center this season. Key defensive players Olevao, Tuha and Pakofe graduate, so the Rams will have to reload for next season.