Boy. Oh. Boy. Was this a battle to see. American Fork(Home) and East(Away) fought it out till the absolute end, racking up a combined total of 118 points. ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN. The first half felt like a whole shootout by itself. Coach Aaron Behm would agree with me. When interviewed at halftime he exclaimed, “It’s as wild of a half of football as I’ve seen.” The score only went up from there.
The first half of this game was easily the most exciting high school half I’ve ever watched. These two teams battled back and forth, drive after drive, putting up dozens of points to try and outlast each other.
In fact, they scored so much, so fast, that near the end of the first half they set a Utah record with a combined 25 points in 21 seconds. Not even joking.
American Fork’s Quarterback Maddog Madsen(#4) was outstanding in the first half, throwing for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns. The first touchdown he threw might have been one of his most impressive as he found Fisher Ingersoll(#1) down the sideline torching his defender, which resulted in an 80-yard touchdown reception. What was his second? Oh, just another 72-yard touchdown reception by once again, Fisher Ingersoll(#1). The third was quite a change of pace as he zoomed a long pass over to Garrison Grimes(#6) to set up Noah Moeaki(#30) for a 2-yard touchdown toss. Fourth? Madsen really likes to make a habit of throwing 80-yard touchdown passes. This time caught by Will Zundel(#93). These are NOT average QB numbers. This man is a star, and he proves it, even more, the rest of the game. Trust me.
One thing that was not expected coming into this though, was East being a threat in the passing game. They have proved in their last three games that while they are authoritative in the rushing game, which did not change, they typically don’t dabble too much in the sky.
Leopard Quarterback Izaak Zimmerman(#8) came out ready to change that today. After only attempting 18 passes in the last three games, he came out and threw 3 touchdowns, 2 of which were in the first half. The first one was a beautiful dime to Orion Maille-Kaufusi(#7), who used his fantastic footwork to roll around two defenders and burn them for a 22-yard touchdown. The second one, somehow, was even more impressive with a deep 68-yard bomb to Mapa Vaenuku(#22) to add 6 to the table.
The main differential in the first half for the Leopards was their rush game. Running back Amini Amone(#2) did not miss a beat in his performance in the first half. This man proved why he earned that #2, which is an East High tradition for the best running back on their team, as a sophomore. Coming off of a 1900 yard season as a freshman, this guy had a lot of hype. And it is all justified. He ran all over American Fork, scoring three touchdowns, rushing for just over 200 yards, and was a major part of almost every other score they had in this game.
Both teams fought fiercely, before going into halftime the score was 34 - 34
Heading into the second half, the Cavemen did the last thing you would think. They strayed away from their gorgeous passing and came out with a rushing game. They didn’t run the ball much in the first half so this was a sudden difference. It was a change that really worked and opened up their passing game even more. They also needed adjustments for East’s dominant rushing game. And they made them. These two things were the key factors in what separated the Cavemen from the Leopards in the second half. The coach with the better second-half game plan was bound to win, and that is exactly what happened.
The Cavemen, aside from a few good touchdown drives near the end of the fourth, shut down East’s offense in the second half. Coach Behm’s theory was right, “We just need to make a stop or two---Whoever goes up by a touchdown or two is going to win”. That proved to be exactly right, as American Fork’s defense was what held East back in the end. Not to discredit their offensive madness too, led by their quarterback.
Although I’ve given a lot of credit in this second half to the defense and rushing game, I think we need to look back up to the air. In the second half, Madsen threw FIVE more touchdowns. He had a few 30+ yard touchdown lobs, 2 more short ones, and of course, another 80-yard one, which was caught by Trey Roberts(#27). Anything shorter than that is just not normal now...
In the end, Madsen didn’t just have a good game, he had an all-time, state-wide, historic performance. He threw for 623 yards, which is 2nd all-time in the history of high school football in Utah, and nine touchdowns. No, you didn’t hear me wrong(read me wrong??). That is the third-most touchdowns in a Utah game ever. Only behind a few 11 and 10 touchdown games, but who cares when you get your team a 69-49 win?!
American Fork has got a special one.
Both of these teams came out and showed what competitors they are. They came out hard on the offensive and the defensive sides of the field and proved why there is a rivalry between the two schools. Each team has many exciting things to look forward to this year. Expect American Fork’s quarterback to continue tearing it up, and East’s standout running back to get the job done.
These teams are gonna keep making headlines. Calling it now.
First Quarter// American Fork 20 - 14 East
Second Quarter// American Fork 34 - 34 East
Third Quarter// American Fork 55 - 34 East
Final Score// American Fork 69 - 49 East