Tooele celebrated Senior Night with a 35-6 shellacking of Ben Lomond to pick up its first victory of the season.
After a mistake-prone first half by both teams, the Buffaloes (1-3, 1-0 Region 10) led by only two points at 8-6.
Tooele kept it simple and simply dominated in the second half, outscoring the Scots 27-0.
“We made a few mistakes in the first half and I really didn’t know how to calm them (players) down out there,” said coach Andru Jones. “We have a lot of young players on this team. Once we got to halftime we felt we needed to calm them down and keep things simple in the second half. We have some great leadership with the seniors and they helped us with that.”
Seniors on the team were introduced and profiled for fans after the game.
The coach said the team decided to honor the seniors early because it is uncertain how long the season will last this year with COVID-19.
Ben Lomond (2-2, 0-1) threatened to score a few times early in the game, but Tooele’s defense was stellar.
The Scots drove to the Tooele 16-yard line on their first possession, but the Buffs stopped them on a fourth-and-2 situation.
Tooele fumbled right back at its 15, but the defense held the Scots to a 22-yard field goal midway through the first quarter.
The Buffs then drove 65 yards for their first touchdown of the game. The drive included runs from Mateaki Helu, Anthony Cole, Tabor Shepard and a pass from quarterback Justic Tadifa to Gavin Brown.
Tadifa finished the drive with a 2-yard keeper for a touchdown. Cooper James added a 2-point run to make it 8-3 Buffs late in the first quarter.
Ben Lomond drove to the THS 6-yard line early in the second quarter, but Tooele’s defense held on fourth-and-1. Late in the first half, Ben Lomond drove to the THS ½-yard line. Ben Lomond was penalized five yards and settled for a short field goal as the first half expired with the score 8-6 Buffs.
The coach said his defense had played relatively well the first three games against good teams.
Defensive highlights for the Buffs against the Scots included five tackles (two for loss) and two sacks from Ernest Gurr; eight tackes (three for loss) and two sacks from Devin Murphy; two tackles and a fumble recovery for Malakai Sedillo; 4.5 tackles each from Kameron Rolle, Drake Gritzmacher and Helu; and five tackles (three for loss) from Fine Maumau.
Tooele’s offense found its rhythm in the second half and opened with a 67-yard TD drive. On the third play of the drive, Helu broke off-tackle and scooted 22 yards to the Scots’ 33. Two plays later, Cole raced 31 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-6 Tooele. Brady Grgich added the PAT to make it 15-6 midway through the third quarter.
Sedillo recovered a Ben Lomond fumble on the next series at the Scots’ 37. Soon, Tooele was back in the end zone after runs by Cole and Shepard and a 17-yard pass to Dylan Makoni. Shepard scored on a 4-yard run and the PAT made it 22-6 Tooele with 4:18 left in the third quarter.
Tooele added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter — the first a 44-yard TD toss to Makoni and the second a 24-yard TD run by Cole.
Tooele tallied 365 yards on offense with 229 rushing and 136 yards passing with two turnovers.
Tadifa completed six of eight passes.
Cole rushed nine times for 91 yards, Shepard seven times for 46 yards and Helu 10 times for 87 yards.
Makoni grabbed three passes for a total of 98 yards, including the 44-yard TD reception. Shepard, Helu and Brown each caught a pass.
Tooele will play host to county rival Stansbury in the annual Battle of the Boot game Friday night at 7 p.m.