Tooele football coach Jeff Lewis hoped Friday’s season opener against Uintah would give him an opportunity to sort out various position battles throughout the Buffaloes’ roster.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.
The Buffs’ season-opening game came to a halt with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter as strong thunderstorms rolled across Tooele County, bringing lightning and torrential rains and sending players and spectators alike scrambling for shelter. Ultimately, conditions became such that Uintah’s coaches and players decided to board their bus and make the long trek home to Vernal rather than waiting out the storm and playing into the wee hours of Saturday morning. Thus, the game was abandoned with the Buffaloes leading 28-0, and the result and statistics will not count for either team.
Tooele dominated the quarter-plus of action against a Utes team that has struggled in recent seasons. The Buffaloes needed just three plays and 1:08 of clock time to get on the board as Austin Meono ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run on a sweep to the left, putting THS up 7-0. Later in the opening quarter, Jordan Leakehe’s 4-yard touchdown run made it a 14-0 Tooele advantage.
Nukuluve Helu scored on a 66-yard run just before the end of the opening quarter. The Buffs struck again less than three minutes later after a Uintah fumble gave Tooele the ball on the Utes’ 46-yard line. A 28-yard pass from Kulani Iongi to Helu moved the ball into the red zone, and Helu added his second touchdown of the game on a 7-yard run.
Tooele finished with 214 yards of offense on just 16 plays. Helu accounted for 106 of those yards, rushing for 73 yards and catching two passes for 33. Iongi was 4-for-5 for 47 yards through the air, completing one pass each to Meono and Conway Hogan, and rushed once for 14 yards. Leakehe had 25 yards on six rushing attempts and Meono rushed for 65 yards on two carries.
The Buffs’ defense was stifling in limited action, holding Uintah to just 44 yards and a pair of first downs on 16 plays. The Utes had 18 rushing yards on 12 attempts.
Tooele will be back in action Friday night in Smithfield against Region 12’s Sky View. The Bobcats (1-0) defeated Stansbury 35-17 in their first game of the season.