Prep football: Brighton squeaks past Pleasant Grove
Cottonwood Heights • If winning is indeed contagious, Brighton's football team has an epidemic on its hands.
The Bengals, who were seeking their first 5-0 start since 2004, overcame a six-point deficit in the final four minutes to edge visiting Pleasant Grove 17-16 on homecoming night Friday.
Brady McCloyn, who rushed for 158 yards, scored on a 23-yard sweep with 3 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the game to put Brighton ahead to stay.
The win marked the Bengals' 300th football victory.
"The last time we went 5-0 we went to state, so we've got to keep playing hard," McCloyn said. "We faced adversity and overcame it. It's just Bengal pride."
Brighton faced adversity more than once against the Vikings (3-2), who returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown and went ahead 16-10 on Michael Anderson's 6-yard pass to Skyler Munson to cap a 90-yard drive early in the fourth quarter.
Still, the Bengals went back to their vaunted rushing attack to take control. McCloyn and fullback Josh Thompson gained yardage in large chunks. Following the go-ahead touchdown, Kekoa Kane sealed the win with a key interception.
"I hope our kids aren't too comfortable," Brighton coach Ryan Bullett said. "We had a lot of penalties we hadn't made the first four weeks. We didn't do anything pretty, but I'm excited for the kids. Winning band-aids a lot of stuff and covers up a lot of stuff, but it's kind of contagious. The kids are coming with a worker's mentality every day."
The teams traded field goals in the first quarter. Pleasant Grove's Trevor Ward connected first from 29 yards, and Brighton's Hunter Dall converted from 35 yards.
The Bengals opened a 10-3 lead on Osa Masina's 16-yard pass to Tyson Reid.
The Vikings closed within a point when Cody Scott returned a blocked field goal 90 yards for a score. However, Brighton blocked the extra point to preserve a 10-9 lead.
Masina's big punt return set up Brighton at Pleasant Grove's 43-yard line with the Bengals trailing 16-10 in the fourth quarter. McCloyn found the end zone four plays later.
"I feel if I have a lot of passion, it gets my teammates fired up and ready," said McCloyn, who celebrated jubilantly with his teammates.
With last season's leading rusher Uaea Masina sidelined another week with a knee injury, McCloyn handled the bulk of the carries for Brighton. His speed, combined with Thompson's bruising power, helped pave the way for the Bengals. Thompson finished with 63 yards on 11 carries.
"We had some kids miss tonight, but I'm excited for the other kids getting an opportunity," Bullett said. "I'm excited for our school and our community."
Parker Owen also had an interception for Brighton, which opens region play against Alta next week.
"I'd rather take 5-0 in region than 5-0 in preseason," Bullett said.
T.J. Wind led Pleasant Grove with 78 yards rushing.