Lehi senior cornerback Nathan Anderegg had just one thought when the intercepted the ball in the third overtime: “Take it to the house.”
Anderegg got tackled on his way there. Nonetheless, his interception paved the way to the Pioneers claiming their second consecutive 5A high school football title in a thrilling 29-23 victory over Timpview on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Lehi senior wide receiver Kolton Tanner caught the touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jackson Brousseau. It was his only touchdown catch of the game, though he had 53 receiving yards.
“I saw him break and he beat him over the top, so I threw it,” Brousseau said of his game-winning pass to Tanner. “Then I got popped right in the face. So I [didn’t] really see him catch it, but I just heard the crowd cheering, so I knew he got it.”
Brousseau threw for 293 yards and two touchdown passes on 29-of-40 passing with one interception. He added a rushing touchdown as well.
Lehi senior running back Carson Gonzalez contributed a rushing and passing touchdown for two total on the evening. He rushed for 117 yards on 18 carries and had 68 receiving yards.
The Pioneers finished the season 14-0. They’ve won 19 games in a row dating back to last season.
Lehi coach Ed Larson said after winning two straight titles, he understands just why it’s so difficult to go back to back.
“The pressure of being No. 1 all year and having to deal with that week in and week out — you never talk about it, but I think everybody feels it,” Larson said. “Crap, I felt it.”
Larson said there were plenty of moments throughout the season where the Pioneers needed to overcome near-losses in order to keep their streak alive. He cited the quarterfinal game against Box Elder — a 28-21 win — and a game against Alta.
“Having close games like that, I think, gets you prepared for things like this,” Larson said. “I think that’s important.”
Lehi had to endure a strong comeback from the Thunderbirds in order to get the win. It led by a score early in fourth, but Timpview had other ideas.
Thunderbirds freshman quarterback Helaman Casuga stared at a fourth-and-4. He caught the snap, looked at his options, and bombed the ball to senior wide receiver Jared Esplin, who had a Lehi defender draped all over him. He jumped to catch the ball and, on his way down to the turf, managed to get a foot down before completing his fall.
Touchdown. Tie game.
And in the first overtime, it was Timpview that struck first, taking a 23-16 lead behind senior running back Micah Beckstead’s 1-yard rushing touchdown. Brousseau answered with a 2-yard run of his own.
Neither team scored in the second overtime, setting up Anderegg’s interception and the connection between Brousseau and Tanner.
“Fortunately, we were able to make one more play,” Larson said.