The Capital High football team reached the 5-yard on a potential game-winning drive before Rocky Mountain called a timeout.
Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner swapped defensive personnel and then sent the house. Anyone not singled up on a receiver blitzed full steam toward Capital quarterback Drew Korf.
Linebacker Peyton Pettigrew broke through the line untouched, leveled Korf as he threw and Trevor Manu made the easy interception at the goal line Thursday to seal the Grizzlies’ 38-33 win at Dona Larsen Park.
“I just had to man up on my man,” Manu said. “I kind of lost him, but my man Pee-wee, he got pressure on the quarterback and tipped that ball so I could go and grab up.”
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The final pick as time expired capped a back-and-forth battle between the 5A heavyweights that saw Capital (1-1) score 23 unanswered points only to watch Rocky Mountain (2-0) answer with 21 straight points of its own. And that was just the first half.
Capital raced out to a 23-7 lead midway through the second quarter, the same deficit the Grizzlies faced in last week’s opener against Utah’s Pleasant Grove before rallying to win in triple overtime.
Rocky Mountain didn’t need overtime Friday, instead breaking loose with a series of dizzying runs from senior quarterback Thomas Perkins in the second quarter.
The Eagles stuffed Rocky Mountain’s lethal rushing through the opening 19 minutes, keying on running back Carter Kuehl to hold the Grizzlies to 71 yards on their first 20 attempts (3.5 yards a carry).
But Perkins sensed Capital crashing toward Kuehl on the option and pulled the ball, breaking loose for a 55-yard scramble that he followed with a 5-yard TD run. Two Rocky plays later, he pulled another dive, made one defender miss and ran 50 yards untouched for six points. And on the first play of the Grizzlies’ ensuing drive, he pitched to Austin Lane, who broke around the right edge for a 51-yard TD run.
The result: Rocky Mountain ran the ball five times for 171 yards over 3 minutes, 13 seconds of game clock, breaking three runs for 50 or more yards to take a 28-26 lead into halftime, a lead it never surrendered.
“This week, they were keying on our back action, our fullback action,” Criner said. “So we were pushing our fullback opposite and letting the quarterback keep the ball.
“That opened up lanes. Our line is big and sealed off people. And he’s fast. People don’t realize — Tommy is really fast.”
Perkins finished with 162 of Rocky Mountain’s 380 rushing yards, scoring three touchdowns. Kuehl added 102 yards and a TD.
Capital still had one run left it as Carter Johnson returned a kickoff 46 yards to the Rocky Mountain 49-yard line with 46 seconds left. Another 15 yards was added due to a personal foul, and Korf guided the Eagles to the shadow of the goal posts before Rocky Mountain’s all-out blitz and interception ended the rally.