Herriman • Kelton Holt offered up the sort of celebration worthy of such a long-awaited moment. Just 42 seconds into the second half, the Desert Hills senior signaled at the elated crowd already up on its feet, dropped his right arm to his side and punctuated the point in time that will be his forever.

Holt just had finished a header less than a minute into the second half, having already given the Thunder a 1-0 lead late in the first, but in his dead sprint, he somersaulted, backflipped and suddenly was engulfed by a sea of purple as his Desert Hills teammates knew that any hope Park City had of clawing back into the match immediately was thwarted.

“The kids love it,” Holt said. “Every game, the kids go, ‘Hey, Kelton, if you score do a flip.’ So there it was.”

The Thunder hoisted for the first time in school history their own boys’ soccer crown Saturday afternoon at Zions Bank Stadium, topping Park City in emphatic fashion, 4-0, in the Class 4A final.

“It’s surreal,” Holt said.

“This was a whole different year,” Desert Hills coach Benji Nelson said. “The kids came together as a family in the end. It wasn’t about one guy. It’s just been a whole different feeling as we’ve gone forward this year.”

It was Holt who provided the necessary jolt to a match that was tight throughout most of the first half. The Desert Hills senior ran onto a pass played to him by fellow senior Walker Heaton and hit a left-footed shot that Park City’s goalkeeper couldn’t corral as it spun into the back of the net in the 35th minute.

Holt doubled the lead less than a minute into the second half when he rose high above several defenders to nod in a header at the near post in the 41st minute.

“He’s been someone that everyone’s always said is going to go big time, and he performed tonight,” Nelson said. “That was the money maker right there”

The Thunder ensured the championship trophy would be placed inside the hallways of Desert Hills High School three minutes later. Sophomore Ben Simister capitalized on a poor giveaway by the Park City defense, creating a one-man counterattack that resulted in a foul in the box and a penalty awarded to the Thunder.

Heaton stepped to the spot and cooly finished the penalty, drilling it right down the middle to put Desert Hills up 3-0 in the 44th minute and out of Park City’s reach. The Thunder captain one-upped himself in the 62nd minute, shaking free of a defender in the box and firing a right-footed shot to the back post that pinged off the post and shot into the back of the net to put Desert Hills up 4-0.

Nelson began taking out starter after starter with less than 10 minutes remaining, allowing each to be recognized by the packed Desert Hills fans in the stands. There they sat on the turf and soaked in the sun after the clouds that littered the sky throughout the day parted. Some players had their hands on their head, shocked that the program’s first state title already was wrapped up.

Holt stayed seated, laughing with his teammates.

“It’s surreal,” he said.

Heaton was one of the last to come off, and he summed the day up appropriately after the celebrations.

“I’ve never had this feeling before,” he said. “It’s awesome.”


• Kelton Holt scores twice to pace the Thunder.

• Desert Hills wins the program’s first state title in boys’ soccer.

• The title game was Desert Hills’ first playoff game that was not a one-goal game.