Brighton High beat Hunter in the state quarterfinals on Nov. 7, 26-21 and was set to take on American Fork in the semifinals on Nov. 13. Unfortunately, the Bengals came up short, and their quest for another crack at the state championship were stopped prematurely after being routed by the Cavemen 58-28.
While not the finish Brighton was looking for to their season, things could have been much worse for the Bengals. In the second week of the season, their star wide receiver and team captain junior Drew Jensen went down in a freak accident, forcing other players to step up for Brighton.
“[Drew] just kind of got stuck in a hole and his knee buckled,” head coach Ryan Bullett said. “He didn’t get hit, nothing, but he went down with a knee injury. We were pretty sad about it. It took us a while to recover, but we had other kids just step up and fill in. Drew is still there. He’s one of our captains, and he’s doing as good of a job as expected just being a leader. It’s just one of those unfortunate things to lose one of your better players. I feel like our kids really rallied.”
The Bengals finished their season with a respectable 10-2 record, all while figuring out how to fill the big shoes Jensen left out on the field.
“We took second in our region, and Bingham won the region,” Bullett said. “Our kids have played really well the whole year.”
Bullett was quick to compliment many of his players that stepped up for Jensen in his absence and credits them for getting the team to the semifinals.
“Cody Barton has done a great job stepping up and rarely came off the field,” Bullett said. “Osa Mesina took a bigger leadership role. Simi Fehoko has caught around 20 touchdown passes. He probably wouldn’t have had those numbers with Drew out there because it would have been a little bit more split up between those two.”
According to Bullett, what sets his team apart from many others in the state is their toughness and belief in themselves.
“The kids have done a great job, and I’m really impressed,” he said. “They have a lot of confidence. That’s a big part: trying to get the kids to believe they can beat other teams.”
Bullett continued on to say that the Bengals have a lot of confidence that they are the better team whenever they line up to play, and it makes all the difference in the world.
“There is some toughness to the kids,” he said. “There’s not a fear factor. Sometimes, you go into these games and you know a team’s really good or they have big kids. There is no fear there. There is a lot of confidence.”