MILLVILLE – Ridgeline turned two turnovers into touchdowns en route to a 26-0 Class 3AA playoff win over Snow Canyon on Friday.
Kody Pope scored on a 5-yard run following a fumble recovery midway through the first quarter. It was the only TD of the quarter in the rainy cold contest, and capped a 25-yard drive that saw Levani Damuni take off on jaunts of 10 and 7 yards.
The score stayed at 7-0 until midway through the second quarter. The Warriors put together a drive that went from the Ridgeline 40 to the 9-yard line of the Riverhawks. RHS committed two pass interference penalties on the drive and it looked as if SC would be able to tie the game up, looking at a third down in the red zone.
But Ridgeline’s Payton Thomas stepped in front of Andrew Day to intercept Matt Kitchen’s pass at the 5-yard line. He returned the pass 95 yards for the score with 6:29 left in the second quarter.
The defenses dominated the first two quarters, with SC managing just 80 yards and Ridgeline gaining only 105. There were seven punts and six turnovers in the first half. Each team had just one first down in the first quarter.
Hunter Buchanan, who kicked all the extra points, added a 45-yard field goal with less than one minute left in the half to make it 17-0.
In the third quarter, the Riverhawks blocked a Kolton Barber punt for a safety to make it 19-0 with 8:38 to go in the third quarter. The special teams score came after Ridgeline had downed the ball at the 10-yard line on a punt and then the Warriors lost 5 yards on three plays.
Later in the third quarter, Parker Ence picked off his fifth pass of the year in the end zone to keep the deficit at 19-0.
Olsen added another 5-yard run for the final score in the fourth quarter.
Snow Canyon’s biggest offensive threat came after the Olsen TD run. Kitchen hit Brooks Sampson with a 31-yard pass that moved the ball to the Ridgeline 17-yard line. But three plays later, Nathan Oakden intercepted Kitchen in the end zone to preserve the shutout.
The Riverhawks (8-3) outgained the Warriors (3-7) 217-144 in total offense.
Kitchen was 9 for 28 for 84 yards with three interceptions. Brooks Sampson caught five passes for 58 yards. Zack Nowatzke had three for 21. Chris Poulsen rushed 14 times for 31 yards. Austin Staheli had three for 21.
Kaleb Gates led the Snow Canyon defense with 9 ½ tackles. Britton Webster had 8. Wyatt Parry and Parker Ence had picks for the Warriors and Tui Kanosh recovered a fumble.
Snow Canyon, which had five turnovers in the game, ends the season at 3-7.
Ridgeline, 8-3, will play at Desert Hills next Friday in the 3AA quarterfinals. Game time is likely 4 p.m.
3AA Playoff bracket (via UHSAA.org)
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