GAME NIGHT LIVE

Reigning Champion Lehi Pioneers Start Strong With Road Win Over Davis Darts

Aug 11, 2023, 9:45 PM

Lehi Pioneers Davis Darts Game Night Live...

(Photo courtesy of Mariluz Cook, KSL Sports)

(Photo courtesy of Mariluz Cook, KSL Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Davis Darts hosted the Lehi Pioneers to open the 2023 high school football season.

In the Game Night Live game of the week, the Darts had no answer for the Pioneers in the second half. They scored multiple long touchdowns and pulled away in front of the Davis crowd.

Both sides were dominant defensively. Davis forced numerous three-and-outs but a few lapses allowed large plays for the Pioneers. Lehi was able to smother the opposing offense and even scored a defensive touchdown.

First Half

The Darts started with possession and came out with a methodical offense, making short pickups to get two quick first downs.

The defense picked up for the Pioneers from there. They made a sack and followed it with excellent coverage, forcing 4th & 12 and a punt.

The Darts defense made a statement on their first possession, sacking the quarterback for a big loss.

Despite making a lot of ground back on second down, Davis’ defense held up and forced a three-and-out.

QB Tradon Bessinger made a great connection with Kash Gates for a big pick-up on third down. Lehi buckled down and forced a punt.

Fuapauna Mama continued the streak of great defense with a tackle for loss. The Darts responded with a 14-yard pass and a first down.

RELATED: KSL Sports Rewind – High School Football 2023 Preseason Top 25

With how the first half started, it was fitting that the first score of the game was on defense. Isaiah Allen scooped up a fumble by the Davis running back and took it to the house.

The extra point was missed to keep the score at 6-0 in favor of the Pioneers.

Bessinger and Gates continued to play well for Davis. They connected on a pass among a group of Pioneer defenders to move the chains.

Tyson Baggett was the next Davis wide receiver to make a play. After Bessinger broke free from some early Lehi pressure, he let it loose and connected with Baggett to get into the red zone.

After picking up one more first down, Bessinger connected with Gates yet again for a short touchdown reception.

The Darts made the kick to take a one-point lead.

Lehi strip-sacked Bessinger with three minutes left but the Darts were able to jump on top of it and retain possession.

On the following possession, Lehi continued to apply pressure and forced an interception.

Fuapauna Mama’s brother, Ezaiah, was the defensive back who caught the interception.

Davis continued with their stifling defense and got the ball back with just under two minutes left in the half.

The Darts made it all the way down the field and nearly scored on the final play of the half.

Davis ran 48 offensive plays in the first half to Lehi’s 12. The Pioneer’s defense held strong to keep it 7-6 in the first half.

Second Half

The Pioneers made the most of their first possession after the break.

Running back Devaugh Eka found the edge and ran nearly untouched for a 73-yard touchdown.

The Darts were able to get a couple of first downs but the Lehi defense ultimately held strong and forced a punt.

The Pioneers were not done making big plays.

QB Jett Niu unloaded and found his receiver down the field. Jace John made an excellent juke and went the distance for a touchdown.

The score gave Lehi a 20-7 lead.

After forcing a stop and getting the ball back, the Pioneers found themselves in the red zone with a 4th & 10. Instead of kicking a field goal, they went for it. Eka caught a check down and made it about 8 yards before meeting a wall of Davis defenders.

Lehi and Davis traded short possessions as the third quarter came to a close.

Just before the fourth quarter, the Darts made it all the way to the goalline and QB Tradon Bessinger snuck it in to bring Davis back into striking range.

On the next possession, the defensive heroics continued.

After a face mask penalty put Davis on Lehi’s side of the field, defensive tackle Landon Keller-Liufau stuck his hand up and pulled down an interception from the trenches.

Lehi marched down the field and capped off the drive with an easy rushing touchdown by Devaughn Eka.

The Pioneers added a 2-point conversion to make the score 28-14.

The Darts needed some quick offense to have a chance for a late comeback.

After making some ground, linebacker Paul Latu put the nail in the coffin with an interception near midfield.

Lehi slowly made its way down the field and drained the clock.

The Pioneers extend their winning streak to 20 in the season opener against the Davis Darts.

The Game Night Live featured game for next week is the Lone Peak Knights facing off against the Timpview Thunderbirds at home on Friday, August 18 at 7 p.m.

Are you on Threads yet? Letโ€™s connect, give us a follow @kslsports.ย 

Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Reigning Champion Lehi Pioneers Start Strong With Road Win Over Davis Darts