There were fireworks in the sky and on the field during the Tooele football team’s 49-6 win over the Ogden Tigers in the Buffaloes’ homecoming game Friday night.
Many of them came as fans were still arriving, as Tooele built an early 21-0 lead.
“Our kids are playing better,” Tooele coach Jeff Lewis said. “We’re an improving team and I’m proud of how they’re progressing.”
It was the second consecutive week that the Buffs (4-3, 2-1 Region 11) seized control virtually from the start. Ben Wasson scored on a 44-yard run and Austin Meono added a 27-yard TD run just after the halfway point of the first quarter, and Jeno Bins wrapped up a 74-yard drive with a 1-yard TD plunge with 48 seconds left in the opening frame. For the third consecutive week, Tooele had a lead of at least three scores in the first half, and the Buffs took lessons learned lessons from their come-from-ahead loss to Stansbury in the region opener to ensure that they finished the job.
“In the second half, we came out pumped,” said Tooele senior Dallen Kimball, who had two interceptions for the second game in a row. “Stansbury, we came out flat and we ended up losing. We’re trying to learn to come out fast and hard. We were partying in the locker room at halftime (against Stansbury). We thought we already had won it and we didn’t come out pumped enough.”
Kimball’s second interception of the game set up Bins’ 37-yard TD run with 11:22 left in the first half. Then, it was D’warren Robinson’s turn, as he picked off Ogden quarterback Carson White three plays later to give Tooele the ball back near midfield. Ten plays later, Meono ran it in from one yard out for a 42-0 advantage.
Robinson added another interception just before halftime.
“We have come a long way defensively,” Lewis said. “That’s nice to see —it really is.”
The second half was played with a running clock because of the 35-point mercy rule, giving Ogden (2-5, 1-2) little time to mount much of a comeback. Irving Gastelum scored the Tigers’ lone touchdown on a 3-yard run with 9:32 left in the game, and Tooele added another one in the waning moments on a 31-yard touchdown run by Antonio Samaniego.
“It was awesome,” Kimball said. “From the beginning, we were talking —the seniors especially, it’s our last homecoming, and we really wanted to come out here and just stomp on them from the beginning.”
Ten Tooele players combined to run the ball for 416 yards on 44 attempts, led by Bins’ 174 yards and three scores on 19 carries. Wasson had 91 yards on seven carries and Meono had 48 yards on four attempts. Defensively, Robinson had six tackles to go with his two interceptions, and Thad Torgensen and Conway Hogan each had a sack.
The Buffs will travel to Bonneville for a key Region 11 game Friday. The winner of the game in Washington Terrace will have the upper hand in the battle for second place in the region standings and a first-round home playoff game, as well as a chance to share the region title should Stansbury stumble down the stretch.
“We’ve got to go up there, and it’s a little different when you have to go on the road,” Lewis said. “I look forward to the next three outings to see whether we continue our progress, and if we do, we might be right back where we need to be.”