by Daniel Olsen
Thursday night was an important one in Herriman, Utah. On the southwest side of Salt Lake County, one of three games – and the only televised game – was being played in a big matchup between the Mountain Ridge Sentinels and Wasatch Wasps. The Sentinels won 51 to 33 in an exciting game from start to finish. It’s time to look at a few key instances in this Thursday night matchup.
Ben Woodruff leads Defense
While he didn’t feel like he was playing his best in the first half, star defensive tackle Ben Woodruff noticed several factors that helped improve his performance throughout the game.
“I wasn’t doing my best the first half,” Woodruff said. “But then I just cleared my head and performed.”
Some of the improvement was due to the adjustments that the defense made after noticing their opponent’s tendencies at the start of the game.
“We realized what they were doing on the offensive line,” Woodruff said. “They were just zone blocking right and left. That was literally it. They were also doing screen passes, so all we had to do was get past them on the flat and we were there.”
The defensive effort did not go unnoticed. While the Sentinels had a narrow 24-19 lead after the first half, they outscored their opponent 27-14 in the second half. One of the Wasatch touchdowns was a late one with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. At that point, the game was already decided.
Turnovers played somewhat of a factor in this game as there were some interceptions thrown by both teams in consecutive possessions. Perhaps the most costly turnover came for the Wasps early in the third quarter when Taylor Higham ran an 80-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Jr Sia leads Offensive Line
At 6’6” and 308 pounds, Sia protects the backfield in such a dominant way that he is drawing serious interest from college scouts. Many colleges, including Utah State, are taking a look at him. He hasn’t committed yet, but his efforts in this game aided in five rushing touchdowns for his team.
“He’s a big time player,” Coach Mike Meifu said. “They won the trenches tonight for sure. You don’t run for over 400 yards without controlling the line of scrimmage.
Coach Meifu is Pleased
While some coaches are happy but never complacent with a win, it was important for Coach Mike Meifu to give credit where it was due.
“Our guys played a great football game,” Coach Meifu said. “To score that many points, control the line of scrimmage, and run the ball is impressive. Our team played well and caused a bunch of turnovers. In big games you always give up big plays that lead to touchdowns. Those mistakes need to be fixed.”
It was especially satisfying considering the narrow win the week prior wasn’t up to the team’s standard.
“We didn’t have our best game last week,” Coach Meifu said. “So our kids responded very well.”
Next: Sky View @ Mountain Ridge
The Bobcats are an attractive team to have on the schedule. Although they didn’t win the state title last year, they won the prior two years and have been one of the more dominant 4A teams in recent memory. Coach Meifu and the Sentinels are excited that they were able to schedule a challenging team at their place. The game will take place next Friday, September 2, 2022 at Mountain Ridge; kickoff is at 7 p.m. MT.
View the full photo gallery of the Mountain Ridge vs. Wasatch game here.