WEST VALLEY CITY — In a pouring rain at Granger High, the Zion Lions tried something new — they actually let an opponent score first.
For just the second time this season, Zion fell behind, but it didn’t matter in the long run as the Lions dominated the rest of the game and came away with a 31-7 victory over the previously undefeated Utah Shock.
Superstar quarterback Misi Tupe accounted for all five touchdowns for Zion, rushing for three and hooking up with Josh Ford for two more in the passing game.
The Lions defense was its usual dominant self, allowing just eight first downs and a total of 137 yards to the Shock. But the D let Utah get the lead in the opening seconds of the second quarter as Shock QB Jordan Wager found Sam Thomas for a streaking 60-yard score to put them on top 7-0 with 11:22 to go before halftime.
The Zion offense responded immediately with a 10-play, 68-yard drive. Tupe ran it in from 2-yards out, but the extra point was no good and it was a slim 7-6 lead for the Shock with 7:28 left in the half.
After defensive stand, the Shock punted to Ryne Wall. Big mistake. He fielded the soggy ball at his own 30 and returned it 40-yards to the Utah 30-yard line. A late hit after the return moved the ball to the 15 and Tupe and his teammates needed just three plays to cash in. Tupe hit Ford just inside the right pylon for the score, making it 12-7 with 4:40 left in the half. A two-point conversion try was no good.
The score stayed that way until the fourth quarter — a long stretch considering there was also a 45-minute halftime due to lightning concerns. During that stretch, the Shock could manage just three first downs and often moved backward on their attempts to drive the ball. Utah had minus-3 rushing yards in the game.
The Lions offense really started to click in the fourth quarter. Tupe ran one in untouched from 6-yards out on the first play of the fourth, making it 18-7. Five minutes later, after a missed Shock field goal, the Lions marched 82 yards in seven plays with Tupe hitting Ford from 38 yards out to make it 24-7.
The last score of the game came after a botched punt attempt set Zion up at the Shock 9-yard line. Tupe finished the drive with a 3-yard TD after Sione Tapuosi got the team close. The score came with 3:44 left in the game and made it 31-7 after the Lions finally converted an extra point.
Tupe ended up with 120 rushing yards and his passing was good at 11 for 21 for 188 yards and two TDs. Tapuosi had 16 carries for 74 yards. Zion had seven sacks of Shock QB Wager.
Zion improves to 5-0 overall, 4-0 in the Rocky Mountain Football League with the win. The Shock fall to 3-1.
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