No matter where the Cavemen finish in the state tournament, many are calling this season a success. Here are three reasons why.
The Cavemen made the playoffs.
Many students and even adults questioned whether the team would make the playoffs. American Fork football barely missed them last season and, on paper, this team wasn’t much better. They had lost many key players. However, they stepped it up with starting quarterback Tanner Smith, who dominated opposing defenses, not to mention Lopini Katoa who can truck defenders and, against Lone Peak, scored a season high six touchdowns.
Not only did the team make the playoffs but they went undefeated in region play and lost only two games this season—both losses were by less than eight points.
The Cavemen won every region game.
A region win came against Riverton, 35-18, when the defense allowed just two touchdowns. AF took down Westlake on homecoming weekend, rolling past them with a score of 44-28.
Next region win came against rivals Lone Peak. The school had been anticipating this game for a year. AF had not beaten Lone Peak under Coach Behm, but that changed with a 51-24 win, behind Katoa’s eye-popping six touchdowns. In Herriman, AF had a nail-biter that went to overtime—Jackson Nadauld stepped up and kicked a 31-yard field goal for the win, 24-21. AF beat Lehi and Pleasant Grove for the division crown.
The Cavemen had some of the top players in the region.
Smith has 2,644 passing yards, the most in Region 4. Katoa has the most rushing yards—1,333—and the most points, a total of 144. Worley has 764 receiving yards, the second most in the region. Nate Heaps has also been a big factor with 617 receiving yards, fourth in the region.
The defense has been a force. Nate Honey has 90 tackles on the season, which is second in the region. Riley Phillips had seven sacks, which tied him for third in the region. Nick Bernardo had 6.5 sacks, placing him fourth in the region.
The Cavemen have also been great at taking the ball from opposing offenses. Ben Cummings had four interceptions, tying him for first in Region 4, according to maxpreps.com.
In kicking, Jackson Nadauld has made the most field goals this season, succeeding on seven of nine attempts this season.