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Pioneer football earns shutout to start playoffs

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The Lehi High School football team got off to a slow start but scored two touchdowns each in the middle two quarters to roll to a 31-0 victory over Riverton in the second round of the 6A state tournament Friday night (Oct. 27). The win improves the Pioneer record to 9-2.

On a chilly fall evening, it took the home squad a while to get going. The Silverwolves got the ball first and were able to move it a bit but were eventually forced to punt and Lehi took over at their own 10-yard line.

The Pioneers reached Riverton territory, but the drive stalled well back from the red zone. Lehi elected to try a 55-yard field goal, and junior kicker Gavin Fenn’s effort was good to give his teammates the only score it turned out they would need with about five minutes left in the initial period.

Early in the second quarter, Riverton penetrated to the Pioneer 3-yard line but turned the ball over on downs after a stiff goal-line stand by the Lehi defense.

The subsequent drive took seven minutes off the clock and resulted in a touchdown as junior quarterback Jett Niu connected with senior wide receiver Kolose Latu for a 21-yard score.

The Silverwolves didn’t get nearly as far on their next possession and had to punt, allowing the Pioneers a short field starting from their 42-yard line with about two minutes left to play in the half.

With seconds remaining, Niu hit senior wide receiver Justice Cooper for 14 yards and a touchdown. Fenn’s second PAT gave Lehi a 17-0 advantage going into the break.

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The teams exchanged the ball twice to start the second half. The Pioneers converted on their second possession when Niu found Cooper again, this time for a 20-yard score to expand the lead to 24-0.

Riverton’s next drive was making progress when senior defensive back Boston Fabrizio intercepted a pass and returned it 70 yards to drive the final nail into the coffin for the visitors.

Lehi will host No. 6 Davis (10-1) on Friday (Nov. 3) in the quarterfinals of the 6A state tournament. The default game time is set for 6 p.m. but the schools may agree to change it. The Pioneers beat the Darts on the road 28-14 to open the season on Aug. 11.

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