Bountiful • There was nothing fancy about Bountiful's 35-6 victory over Skyline on Friday in the first round of the Class 4A football tournament.
The formula included running Jakob Hunt nearly every play, an occasional pass, stout defense and not making mistakes.
That worked to perfection against Skyline, a school with a reputation of being difficult to beat in first-round games over the past 20 years.
Hunt was unstoppable most of the night, as he rushed for 271 yards and four touchdowns.
"He's kind of been our guy all year," said Bountiful coach Larry Wall, who played football at the University of Utah with Skyline coach Steve Marlowe in the 1970s. "He's really a stallion. He is so strong and so fast."
Marlowe offered similar sentiments.
"He is a tough, hard-nosed kid," said the first-year Skyline coach, a longtime assistant and former player at the Salt Lake County school, about Hunt. "We couldn't tackle him. He's amazing. He is the best running back I've seen this year."
For his part, Hunt called the game "fun" and credited his offensive line for opening up holes. But was it his best effort of the year?
"We like to say we improve every game, so hopefully I did better," he said. "They're a good team. I have a lot of respect for them. They are a first-class outfit."
The other big key to the game was turnovers. Skyline stopped Bountiful on the first two series, only to turn the ball over on fumbles. In the end, the Eagles gave up three fumbles and two intercepted passes, both hauled in by Jeremy Rock. Bountiful, by contrast, had none.
"We got a number of turnovers that helped us out," said Wall, so well-respected that Bountiful named its stadium after him. "Our goal going into this was that whoever won the turnover battle would win the game."
The game was close for much of the first half as Bountiful managed a 14-0 lead.
Hunt scored on a 4-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. A fumble recovery by Tyler Gulbransen on the Skyline 20 set up the second score, a 5-yard Hunt touchdown.
Bountiful seemed to slowly wear Skyline out in the second half as it took a 21-0 lead on a 17-yard scoring pass from Tyler Snyder to Mosese Manu, one of the few times all night when the home team completed a pass.
Skyline got a brief glimmer of hope when Garrett England scored on a 1-yard run after an 67-yard scamper by Chris Williams.
But after an 86-yard run by Hunt that opened the fourth quarter and Rock's two interceptions, followed by a 9-yard scoring run by Hunt, there was little doubt about which team would advance in the tournament.