The Sugar-Salem football team topped Preston 24-14 Friday for its third straight win.
The Diggers (3-2) scored 17 points in the first quarter. Ricardo Contreras opened up the scoring with a 39-yard field goal to cap a nine-play-53-yard drive. Sugar-Salem's defense then forced two straight turnovers and followed the turnovers with scores.
“We were giving them some difficult looks,” Sugar-Salem head coach Tyler Richins said. “We knew coming in that they want to really throw the ball. We kind of adjusted some things to give us an advantage in the secondary, which allowed some different looks than what they’ve seen or they expected. We were just able to capitalize on those.”
Linebacker Ryan Harris nabbed the first turnover when he grabbed an interception on Preston’s first drive and returned it to the 25. The Diggers forced and recovered a fumble on their next possession.
Harris played well overall in his return from an elbow injury that sidelined him for a couple of weeks.
“Ryan looked good,” Richins said. “He’s going to be a little critical of himself tonight. I think he did some really good things for us. Just having him back and playing a full game was big for us up against a really good Preston team. Just his leadership and having him back on the field is really big. Just his presence out there was really big for us.”
Preston attempted a comeback in the second half but it proved too little too late.
Junior quarterback Danny Neal managed his way to 150 yards on 11 of 18 passing with one touchdown and one interception.
“He’s come along great,” Richins said. “We’re happy with what he’s doing. He’s progressing each and every week. And we’re just excited to see what happens when we head into conference play.”
Carson Harris led all rushers with 75 yards on 18 carries and Boyd Sorenson added 32 yards on three carries.
Cooper Porter caught two passes for 51 yards and Cooper Butikofer caught one pass for 35 yards.
After dropping their first two games, the Diggers have won their last three games.
“It’s good to get some confidence,” Richins said. “Beating Preston is really big. It has great playoff implications for us with the rankings — beating a good, solid 4A team like that. And just getting confidence that we can compete and make big plays especially when we play against a high-powered offense like Preston and what they bring to the table.”
The Diggers will open conference play next week against Teton in Driggs.