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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

High school football: Late-game heroics lift Brighton over American Fork

By Brandon Gurney, Deseret News

Published: Fri, Aug. 22 11:15 p.m. MDT

 From left, American Fork's Riley Phillips (#50), Fili Tuifua (#8) and Nate Honey (#23) tackle Brighton's Sione Heimuli-Lund (#28) during a football game at American Fork High School in American Fork on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Brighton's Moses Tauteoli (#68) is on the ground and American Fork's Zach Katoa (#3) is on the far right.

From left, American Fork's Riley Phillips (#50), Fili Tuifua (#8) and Nate Honey (#23) tackle Brighton's Sione Heimuli-Lund (#28) during a football game at American Fork High School in American Fork on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Brighton's Moses Tauteoli (#68) is on the ground and American Fork's Zach Katoa (#3) is on the far right.

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

AMERICAN FORK — A load of top gridiron talent was on display Friday night during Brighton’s 24-23 win over American Fork, and so was a torrential downpour, which took center stage for most of the night until the final few moments.

It was during those final moments that Brighton star athletes Cody Barton and Drew Jensen delivered in a big way.

With the Bengals down 17-8 midway through the fourth quarter, Barton, who is committed to sign with Utah, stepped in front of a pass and returned an interception for a touchdown. A two-point conversion later, and the Bengals found themselves down just 17-16 with 6:49 remaining.

On the following possession, American Fork running back Lopini Katoa broke through for a 44-yard touchdown run to stretch the lead to 23-16 with just 4:14 remaining. The extra point, however, was missed to keep Brighton within seven points.

It didn’t take long for the Bengals to erase that gap.

The ensuing kickoff was taken by Jensen up the sideline and into the end zone from 75 yards out. Jensen then converted on a two-point conversion to give the Bengals a 24-23 lead in front of a stunned American Fork crowd.

The Cavemen refused to go down easy and drove the ball clear down to the Bengal 26-yard line before stalling. An attempted 43-yard field goal attempt couldn’t make it through the uprights with just 1:45 remaining as Brighton secured a hard-fought victory that was marred by turnovers and a bevy of flags.

Most of the mistakes early on were made by the Bengals, who coughed up the football on bad exchanges four times in the first half, along with numerous false start and personal foul penalties. The Cavemen were the beneficiaries and built a 17-8 lead at the half by simply keeping better composure.

The second half followed suit until Barton and Jensen's late heroics.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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