Syracuse uses tough defense to beat Brighton, 31-7

Titans hound Bengals QB Johnson throughout, improve to 2-0.

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Draper • Brighton High School sophomore quarterback Jack Johnson got tackled hard by the Syracuse defense late in the second quarter. As team officials made sure he was OK, a Bengals player immediately gathered a group together and expressed frustration that their quarterback wasn’t being protected enough.

“F--- these guys,” the player yelled. “This s--- isn’t going to happen anymore.”

But the impassioned moment didn’t translate to a turnaround on the field as the Titans (2-0) used suffocating defense to beat the Bengals, 31-7, on Saturday at Corner Canyon High School.

“They like to throw the ball quick so we knew we had to get to him early, and we did a pretty good job of that,” Syracuse coach Michael Knight said of how his team wanted to defend the young Johnson. “He got out of a few things, but I think we rattled him.”

Jake Hopkins, Syracuse’s own sophomore quarterback, threw two touchdown passes — one to Chandler Christensen, the other to Dylan Croxford, who recorded two TD receptions. Max Gosselin made the team’s other touchdown pass, Daxton Faddis had an 8-yard rushing score, and Bennett Carlson converted a field goal.

Brighton’s lone touchdown came just before halftime. Jackson’s long pass to Bingham Zollinger — by far his most impressive sequence of the game — put the Bengals in prime position. Running back Kace Gurr punched in a 2-yarder shortly afterwards.

The Bengals (1-1) couldn’t get going offensively at all, mostly due to how much the Syracuse defense was pressuring and being physical with Johnson, who got sacked several times. But they didn’t get much of a rhythm going in the run game, either.

On the other side, Syracuse improved offensively in just a week’s time and showed it on Saturday. Last Friday, they put up only 20 points in a close win over Riverton. But the Titans put up 31 rather easily against a big Brighton front line.

Hopkins said Syracuse’s offensive line knew it had to be better after last week’s performance. They came to play against Brighton.

“Today, they were ready to roll,” Hopkins said.

Four-star recruit and Bengals linebacker Landon Barton was disappointed in his team’s defensive performance.

“We just didn’t play good as a team,” Barton said. “They beat us on the outside on runs, they beat us on the pass. It wasn’t good.”

Syracuse is now 2-0 on the season. Knight said starting seasons off quickly usually portends good things for the team.

“When we start fast, we generally have good years [and] we make deep runs,” Knight said.


Brighton plays Wood Cross on Friday at home.

Syracuse plays Westlake on Friday on the road.

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