Sandy • Les Hamilton wiped tears from his eyes and shook his head in disbelief Friday night after Pleasant Grove’s 28-14 season-opening victory at Alta.
He had contained his emotions all day leading up to his return to Alta, the school at which he coached for seven seasons and won two state titles. Then, in the postgame handshake line, it finally hit him.
Pleasant Grove 28, Alta 14
O Vikings tailback Hayden Pettis rushes for 137 yards and three touchdowns for the season-opening victory.
» PG coach Les Hamilton wins in his return to Alta, where he coached from 2004-2010.
» Alta defensive end C.J. Packer sacks PG quarterback Christian Miller three times in the loss.
"I was great, I was fine — no emotion until after the game," said Hamilton, the Vikings’ third-year coach who left Alta in 2010. "I love those guys. They have a great coaching staff.
"It’s good to come back. It’s hard to explain, the emotion. I wasn’t expecting it, to be honest."
Behind the tears was beaming pride in his team’s effort in difficult weather conditions. The offense that amassed just 57 yards in the first half, scored four touchdowns after halftime — three on the hard-nosed running of senior tailback Hayden Pettis. Though just 5-foot-9, Pettis weighs 200 pounds, and used every last ounce to run over Hawk defenders at the goal line on each of his first two touchdown runs.
Pettis nearly matched his 2013 season total with 137 yards on a cold, rainy night. He scored on runs of 5, 1, and 8 yards — the first rushing TDs of his career. He rushed for a total of 150 yards a season ago.
"I like to push as hard as I can when the linemen can’t open the holes for me," Pettis said.
The Vikings defense stiffened after Alta took a 14-13 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter – a 15-yard touchdown pass from Braxton Kerr to Quinn Fabrizio. Though neither team turned the ball over, Pleasant Grove did come away with stops on three of Alta’s fourth-down attempts.
Pleasant Grove’s Christian Miller, who won a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job in the preseason, threw a 5-yard touchdown to Coleman Edwards to put the Vikings ahead 13-7. The Vikings’ no-huddle, quick-pass offense was shelved when a steady rain began just after kickoff.
That rain subsided on two of the Vikings’ second-half drives — both of which resulted in touchdowns.
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