Absolutely drenched from head to toe, Bart Brockbank was not shivering in the early brisk night. No, the Lone Peak coach stood on the turf inside Rice-Eccles Stadium, as proud as ever, explaining how these Knights got here. He’d just held the Class 6A trophy, cementing the season as Utah’s top high school football team in Utah’s top high school classification in the 34-29 win, but Brockbank went back.

He went back to late September, when these Knights were embarrassed less than three miles away from their home stadium, when these Knights gave up 51 points in a rivalry game he still says “wasn’t even that close.” Brockbank went back in time, because if it wasn’t for that low point, if these players and coaches weren’t “annihilated” by American Fork less than two months ago, he doesn’t know if Lone Peak would be where it was Friday evening, clad in its all-black uniforms in a euphoric mob.

That 51-21 loss was where Lone Peak vowed it wouldn’t experience anything remotely similar for the rest of the year.

“Our team has had some ups and downs this whole season,” junior Nathan Ritchie said. “We learned throughout the season that we’ve just got to keep going, and if we make mistakes, we’ve just got to pick ourselves up.”

The Knights got their shot at redemption. They did what two months ago they couldn’t. They let American Fork’s high-octane offense rack up the yardage, but forced turnovers, made opportunistic plays in all three phases, and in the end, it was these same Knights hoisting their new crown — and first since 2011 — into air in a state of reverie.

This feeling?

“Nothing like it, man,” said senior running back Masen Wake, who ran for 133 yards on 23 carries. “It’s crazy.”

In a record-setting game in which the Cavemen offense showcased exactly why they’ll be remembered by setting new marks in passing yards and receiving yards, among others, it was Wake’s 40-yard touchdown run, the memorable one, where he shed as many as five tacklers, to avoid the blob and eventually scamper untouched into the end zone that he’ll talk about the rest of his life.

“I just like bringing the hit to them,” he explained, “because when you do it over and over again, they’re not going to want to hit you.”

“He’s just a beast,” Ritchie said.

Added quarterback Braden Siri: “It’s, like, expected of him. He’s a freak.”

Speaking of expectations, Brockbank said Lone Peak coaches have mentioned routinely this year how they expect Ritchie to make their jaws drop. As he said it, “In a 48-minute game, Ritchie will do something great. And we just knew it.” So after American Fork’s Boone Abbott found Devon Downing in the back of the end zone with just over five minutes left in the third quarter to give the Cavemen their first lead of the night, 17-16, Brockbank’s proclamation only needed one more play to ring true.

Ritchie, who also finished with a team-high 10 tackles and two made field goals, went untouched 99 yards on a kickoff return to snatch the momentum right back. Lone Peak converted a 2-point attempt and, suddenly, the Knights were back in control just as they had been most of the day. Thanks, in large part, to a defensive effort that might’ve bent at times, but forced four turnovers. Brockbank has coached the fast-paced, break-neck offenses before, and he knows how hard it can be to sustain drives when a team relies on the big play the way American Fork does.

The message this week: “Make them earn it.”

“Our defense was lights out tonight," Brockbank added. "I mean, what an amazing defense. Best defense in the state.”

Lone Peak made its rivals earn it. And for the first time since 2011, these Knights knighted themselves state champions.

  • Lone Peak wins first state football title since 2011
  • American Fork QB Boone Abbott set three state championship records: passing yards (519), completions (36) and attempts (60)
  • American Fork WR and BYU commit Chase Roberts set two state championship records with 258 receiving yards and 15 receptions
  • Lone Peak’s Masen Wake rushed for a game-high 133 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown