Tooele’s defense allowed Cedar Valley to move the ball except when the Aviators came close to scoring. That’s when the Buffaloes made life miserable for the home team Friday night.
Tooele made several goal-line stands and created seven Cedar Valley turnovers, including three when the Aviators were about to score, to roll to 41-14 victory and improve to 5-0 on the season.
“We have some young players and they didn’t panic or get rattled. We only worry about what we can control and what we can control is our effort,” said coach Andru Jones. “They moved the ball on us, but we preach ‘make a play when you have an opportunity’ and that’s what happened. I’m really happy with the players. We’ve been playing well.”
Tooele scored four touchdowns in the first half to bury the Aviators early. Each team scored a pair of TDs in the second half.
Tooele’s offense hit on all cylinders on its opening drive covering 80 yards on 16 plays for a TD on a drive that consumed more than 6 minutes. The Buffaloes mostly used rushing plays on the drive and capped it off with a 4-yard TD run by Mateaki Helu. A PAT by Brady Grgich made it 7-0 at the 5:39 mark of the opening quarter.
Cedar Valley completed a 37-yard pass on its opening possession down to the Tooele 17. But Drake Gritzmacher picked off a pass on the next play to thwart the drive.
Tooele was forced to punt on its next series and the Aviators’ offense enjoyed good field position at the 50, but Tooele forced a punt. Dylan Makoni fielded the punt at his 10-yard line and sprinted 85 yards to Cedar Valley 5. The Buffs lost some ground back to the 9 where Helu made some nifty moves to avoid tacklers on a 9-yard third down run to push the score to 14-0 with 7:11 left until halftime.
Tooele got the ball back on Cedar Valley’s next play when Gabe Medina picked off one of his two interceptions in the game to set up Tooele at the Aviators’ 46.
The Buffaloes didn’t waste time getting the ball in the end zone with a long pass to Tabor Shepherd inside the 10-yard line, followed by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Payton Sprouse to Gabe Medina to push the lead to 21-0 with six minutes until intermission.
Cedar Valley was on the move looking to slice the lead before halftime. They drove to THS 4-yard line when Mapa Vaenuku picked up a fumble at the 1-yard line and returned it 99 yards to make it 28-0 Tooele at halftime.
Cedar Valley completed its first scoring drive of the game to open the second half. The Aviators drove 65 yards with a few pass completions and runs in a drive that consumed more than 6 minutes. They capped the drive with a 6-yard TD run by senior quarterback Easton Schank.
Tooele was forced to punt on its next series, but the Aviators muffed the catch on the punt to give Tooele the ball at the CVHS 17-yard line. A few plays later, Sprouse connected with Makoni on a 14-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-7 as the third quarter ended.
Cedar Valley scored a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on a 15-yard pass play, and the Buffs added one more TD on a 30-yard run by Helu.
Sprouse hit 9-of-18 passes for 109 yards. The Buffaloes rushed 32 times for 118 yards. Seven players recorded five or more solo tackles. Aiden Rosser, Vaenuku, Trey Price and Brock Thrall came through with sacks, and Wil Kennedy had eight hurries.
Kennedy, Vaenuku, Bronson Larrat and Ethean Martinez all recovered fumbles.
With a 5-0 record, Tooele is fifth in 5A RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) Region 7 opponent Timpanogas (5-0) is sixth and Tooele’s next opponent Stansbury (3-2) is 10th.