The No. 2-seeded Brighton Bengals hosted Davis on Friday night in a rematch of an early season game. The winner would move on to one of the UHSLL semifinal games.
Both teams opened the game playing a little tight for the first two minutes. Then, junior Blake Yates intercepted a pass and pushed the ball up field quickly to Josh Nydegger on the crease to take a 1-0 lead. Shortly after, face off specialist, Owen Hanks, got into the mix as he picked up the ground ball off the draw and charged down the middle and ripped one to put Brighton up 2-0. Then it was Davis’ turn as Cade Abendroth found midfielder Rhett Rice in front of the goal to make it 2-1. Brighton puts two more goals on the board from sophomore Carter Budge and Blake Yates to extend Brighton’s lead to 4-1. Davis answered with two goals of their own from from Collin Crook and Branson Wood to cut the lead to one, but Yates continued to wreak havoc on the defensive end. He caused a turnover and found Budge for a low-to-low rocket past the Davis goalie. At the end of the first quarter Brighton led 5-3.
The second quarter was dominated by Brighton at both ends of the field. The defense, anchored by Brayden Kenny, Canyon Curtis, Scott Cook and Cole Moore, shut down the Davis offense causing several turnovers and refusing to give up a goal. The offense continued to score at will at the hands of Blake Yates dishing to both Nydegger and Felis. Then senior Ben Bunker found Nydegger again for his third goal of the game. The lead was 8-3 at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, Brighton took advantage of Davis’ miscues. Karson McMillin threw a laser over the goal to an open Nydegger. The lead was now six. Davis answered as JD Wilson roll-dodged past two defenders and put the ball past Brighton’s goalie Canyon Curtis. Brighton’s ride continued to be difficult for Davis to handle as Ben Bunker intercepted a pass of his own and found the back of the net. The lead was now 10-4. Davis’ Branson Wood, would add a goal of his own cutting the lead to five again. The third quarter ended with a well-executed faceoff win by Owen Hanks, a ground ball by Felis who then found his cousin, Kyler Kehl, on the crease for the easy score. Another goal was added by midfielder, Blake Yates who broke up a pass in front the goal for a quick put back and a 12-5 lead.
Brighton continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter with two goals from Kehl (assisted by MJ Cirillo and Blake Yates) and a final goal on an alley dodge by Yates for his third goal of the game.
The final score was 15-10. Josh Nydegger finished the game with four goals and an assist while Blake Yates added three goals and five assists to lead the Brighton offense. Sophomore Owen Hanks finished the game eight faceoff wins and five ground balls. MJ Cirillo, Brayden Kenny and Blake Yates combined for nine caused turnovers to lead a tenacious defensive effort.
Brighton is seeking their fourth trip in four years to the UHSLL Championship game and will face Corner Canyon on Wednesday evening at 5:00 p.m. at Dozier Field in Park City. Brighton celebrated a championship in 2016 led by All-American, Bubba Fairman, but came up short the last two years losing to Juan Diego and Park City.
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