Herriman • What a difference a week makes.
Teamwork was evident in Herriman's 31-14 victory over visiting Highland on Friday in a showdown between two of the premier teams in 4A. It came one game after what Mustangs coach Larry Wilson described as selfish football.
"Everyone in the program was embarrassed by the way we played last week," said Wilson, referring to a 23-22 overtime loss to crosstown rival Riverton. "We played a little too individualistic and were not playing for each other. We all thought we had something to prove to ourselves and no one else tonight."
After squandering a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, the Mustangs (2-1) scored 17 unanswered points after the Rams had forged a tie. Francis Bernard rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown and scored on an interception return, but Herriman had plenty of other firepower. Three other backs combined to rush for 182 yards, while Tueni Lupeamanu threw for 106 yards by connecting with seven different receivers.
Defensively, the Mustangs preserved their second-half shutout by stuffing the Rams (2-1) at the 3-yard line with just more than a minute remaining in the game.
"The game plan was to wear them down," Wilson said. "We knew they had a lot of kids go both ways. We've got some kids who can play [in the backfield], which is great for Francis because it gives him a break and lets him play more defense."
Brandon Farmer rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown, Vuni Bloomfield ran for 60 yards and Lupeamanu added 40 to help wear down the Rams' defensive front.
Bernard was limited to 14 yards on his first 10 carries before breaking loose for a 53-yard run. He later added a 29-yard scamper.
"We had to believe and trust in each other," Wilson said. "When we don't play for each other, we're an average team. I really think we grew up tonight. It's still preseason, and it's not the record but the quality of the play that matters."
Highland tied the game with two quick scores in the second quarter after trailing 14-0. Austin Peterson connected with Adam Webber (75 yards) and Malcolm Card-Turner (50 yards) for touchdown passes. But Brady Heninger put the Mustangs ahead to stay with a 28-yard field goal shortly before halftime.
Peterson completed only 7 of 22 passes, but he threw for 189 yards and ran for 78 more to finish with 267 yards.
Bernard scored on a 3-yard run and 35-yard interception return during the fourth quarter following a scoreless third.
"A big piece of my heart is still back there," said Wilson, who coached at Highland before starting the football program at Herriman. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They certainly were what we expected."
Skyler Lloyd had an interception for the Rams, who had allowed a total of 10 points in their previous two games.