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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All-state football: Rams’ hero wouldn’t let team lose title game

Nate Fakahafua’s final year of high school football will surely be remembered for his two game-saving catches that won Highland a state championship.
Unless, of course, it’s remembered for his sacks late in the fourth quarter of the same game. Or his winning touchdown catch at Pine View in the quarterfinals. Or ...
Really, there are so many “will be remembered fors” that it’s much easier to roll them all up into one big “won’t be forgotten.”
It’s a good thing Fakahafua said he wanted to be the guy making big plays, because he was asked to countless times this season.
“You have a team with a lot of young guys and a lot of them are a little timid or scared to make the big play,” Fakahafua said. “I want the ball when that opportunity presents itself.”
As if coach Brody Benson had shone a bat symbol into the Utah sky, Fakahafua, a 6-foot-4 hero, always emerged when needed.
Against Mountain Crest in the final, where Fakahafua carried Highland to its first state title since 1986, the senior caught a touchdown pass in the final minute of regulation to tie the game and, moments later, sacked Mustang quarterback Alex Kuresa on back-to-back plays to force overtime. On fourth down of overtime, Fakahafua caught a scoring pass to force a second overtime, where the Rams ultimately prevailed.
“I think you could arguably say he was the best wide receiver and the best defensive lineman in the state,” Benson said.
His 17 receiving touchdowns and 17.5 sacks both led the state, not to mention his 1,531 receiving yards.
A four-year starter, Fakahafua has orally committed to play at Utah next season, where he will have the opportunity to make the same big plays.

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