Cottonwood Heights • Forcing turnovers is key for a football team. Converting them into points makes it even better.
Brighton turned a pair of Simi Fehoko interceptions into touchdowns in the second half and rallied past visiting Jordan 34-21 in region action Wednesday. The Bengals outscored the Beetdiggers 13-0 over the final nine minutes.
“That’s always huge in a big game, to win the turnover battle,” Brighton coach Ryan Bullett said. “I think we’re now plus-19 for the year. I give [Jordan] credit; they beat us up on the line. At the half, we said we had to wear them down a bit and toughen up a little bit. They did a good job of stopping our running game.”
That was until the second half. The Bengals, limited to 81 yards on the ground in the first half, finished with 209. Osa Masina, who had just 32 yards on 13 carries early on, caught steam and finished with 145 yards and two scores.
Fehoko meanwhile had three interceptions, reading Jordan quarterback Austin Kafentzis perfectly. Each of the picks came in the second half.
“I just got good reads on their best player and looked at his eyes,” Fehoko said. “I’m doing my part and my teammates are doing theirs.”
Still, the game wasn’t decided until the final five minutes. With the game tied 21-21, Isaiah Kaufusi caught a touchdown pass from Robbie Hutchins to put Brighton ahead. Fehoko’s third interception off a deflected pass led to Masina’s 21-yard score to make it 34-21. Masina initially was stopped, but broke free.
“It was a stalemate at the line, but it came down to who wore the other team down,” Masina said. “This means a whole bunch. I’m sure it means more to the seniors on the team than me. It’s huge to our program and coaches.”
While Kafentzis still finished with more than 300 yards of total offense, the Beetdiggers didn’t get their usual big plays. Each of Jordan’s touchdowns was from 15 yards or closer, as the Bengals did their best to keep everything in front of them.
“That’s all we focused on all week,” Bullett said. “They’re really good on offense and their quarterback is phenomenal. They’ve scored points on everyone all year. No one’s stopped them. It’s always good to try and slow them down a little bit. We were trying to do it with our offense by running the ball.”
Jordan led 13-7 at halftime by scoring on the last play of the first half. Instead of opting for what would have been a 19-yard field goal with 5 seconds left, Jordan went for the score. Kafentzis wiggled his way in from 2 yards out.
Brighton (3-1 region, 8-1 overall) clinched a playoff berth with the victory and is vying for a first-round home game. Jordan, meanwhile, fell to 2-2 in region (4-5 overall). The Beetdiggers have another chance to clinch next week.