Kaysville • His team on the verge of potentially blowing a 15-point second-half lead, Northridge football coach Erik Thompson calmly wiped the rain off his brow.
If there was uncertainty underneath Thompson’s confident demeanor, it didn’t show, and his defense followed suit. The Knights defense stopped the Davis Darts’ would-be go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter, forcing an unsuccessful 52-yard field-goal attempt, to preserve a 22-20 win in sloppy conditions Friday in a Region 1 showdown.
"Really, it came down to two teams that are very similar," Thompson said. "There’s great tradition and pride and playing hard, and that’s how it’s always going to be with Davis. It’s going to come down to the last 10 seconds, and that’s how it’s been for probably 10 years straight."
That the Darts (5-4, 2-3 Region 1) were in that position was surprising, given the first 34 minutes of the game. The Knights (8-1, 4-1 Region 1) led by 15 and were marching with around two minutes left in the third. A touchdown likely would put the game away.
But Chance Parker intercepted Knights quarterback Nate Kusuda and returned the ball 55 yards to the Northridge 28-yard line. Darts quarterback Gage Cook quickly connected to Abel Porter on a 28-yard touchdown to bring the Darts within eight points. The Darts scored again early in the fourth, this time a 16-yard rollout strike from Cook to Porter. But the two-point conversion attempt to tie the game failed, leaving the Knights up by two, a margin they would preserve.
"Some teams give up, but they didn’t give up," Knights defensive lineman Eliyah Mayberry said of the Darts. "They fought to the death. I don’t underestimate Davis at all."
Cook passed for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 15-for-25 passing for the Darts. Kusuda finished 14-for-28 passing for 173 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
Northridge’s David Adams led all rushers with 70 yards on 22 carries.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.