Takeaways: Sandy football downs Barlow, first time in 21 years
Needless to say, it's been a long time coming for Sandy High School football.
The Pioneers consider Barlow a rival, but after 21 years of the Bruins leaving with a victory against them, it's been hard to argue it's a rivalry.
Friday night though, the Pioneers put an end to the losing streak with a grind-out 14-7 victory at home over the hard-running Bruins.
Here are three takeaways from the historic Pioneers win:
No room to run
Barlow (3-1, 2-1 SD4) moved to 3-0 last week in large part to running back Jake Fey going nuts. The senior had 313 yards rushing on 22 carries and two TDs.
Against Sandy (3-0, 3-0 SD4), it was a much different story with only 65 yards on 14 carries and no scores.
As a team, the Bruins only posted 105 rushing yards, prompting Sandy coach Josh Dill to highlight the Pioneer's defensive line first thing after the game.
"The game plan coach (Wade) Lockett had with the defense was unbelievable," Dill said. "The defensive line, their job was to do all the dirt work. They had to bear crawl at the snap and have our linebackers come and make plays."
Dill described how the Pioneers used six different guys, rotating two in a time to keep guys fresh each play and the substitutions worked wonders.
"That whole game was definitely our defensive line," Pioneers junior Leithan Thompson said. "They were told to just dive at their thighs, they were getting stepped on, but they played a hell of a game.
"They put their lives on the line. That's football."
Sandy didn't have much running room either with only 49 yards on the ground, but Teague Clemmer looked strong and efficient in the passing game. Clemmer went 12 for 23 for 198 yards and two TD passes with one tipped-interception.
Of course it helps to have a big target in 6-foot-3, 190-pound tight end Thompson.
He caught both touchdown passes, the first one a 9-yard reception and the second one proving to be the game winner.
With 7:04 to go in the game, Barlow scored on a fourth down and took a 7-6 lead following the PAT.
On the Pioneers first play, Clemmer hit a cutting Thompson running to the right sideline and with no defenders behind him, he was off to paydirt for an 83-yard score.
First play on the ensuing Sandy drive, 83 yards from Clemmer to Thompson! 2 pt conversion is good and now it's 14-7 Sandy with 6:44 to go #opreps pic.twitter.com/YIjpbOeME7— Austin J. White (@ajw_sports) September 18, 2021
"I jumped for that and I was like, 'no way,'" Thompson said. "I caught it and saw two people near me and started cutting across the field and I was like, 'I hope I can get this touchdown.'"
Thompson did that and more by finishing with four catches for 114 yards and the two scores, and he also had the game sealing interception with 1:30 left.
Overall, the offense complemented the defense just enough for the Pioneers to get their first win over Barlow in 21 years.
"The feeling is crazy, but first I gotta thank my big boys on the line," Clemmer said. "(I just kept telling myself expect great things) and I just want to thank God because great things come from God."
The matchup between the two sides has felt like an older versus younger brother duel over the years.
But with a packed out clad in all white, Sandy pushed its older brother around on the line and through the air, earning some respect for the program along the way.
"I've never had a team that has bought in as much as this group has and for us to beat Barlow on our home field, it's the best," Dill said. "We consider us a rival with Barlow, but in order for it to be a rivalry we have to win. And tonight we did."
Sandy knows its 3-0 mark isn't going to make too much noise overall considering one win came by forfeit.
However, with a balanced offensive attack and plenty of talent on defense, the Pioneers feel they are one of the best in 6A.
"It's just a big deal, especially for our community," Thompson said. "Barlow thinks they're our big brother, but that's not the case anymore."
However, an even bigger challenge is up next week for Sandy in a matchup with 6A's No. 1-ranked team and defending champions in Central Catholic.
But that's next week.
For now, the so-called little brothers will enjoy the ride home and get to poke big brother around until next season.
"Barlow has always been kind of an older brother to us," Clemmer said. "We feel like we've been living in their shadow, but I feel like we're about to step out. This is a culture shift right here."
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