The Thunder Ridge High School football team made a little history Friday night, and they did it against district rival Bonneville to boot.
Kaysen Isom scored four touchdowns, sophomore quarterback Tao Johnson showed off his potential and the defense spent the night in the backfield. It added up to a 32-20 win over Bonneville, the first win in the history of Thunder Ridge football.
It’s a night Isom won’t soon forget.
“First win in Thunder Ridge history,” the junior said with a big smile on his face.
The Titans looked nothing like last year’s winless squad, showing speed and physicality while scoring on three of its five drives.
Johnson, a transfer from Skyline, and Isom hooked up time after time while accounting for all of the touchdowns.
“We didn’t win a game in varsity or JV last year,” Thunder Ridge coach Jeff Marshall said. “We’re a little faster, a little stronger. We’ve got a lot of juniors instead of sophomores, and that makes a difference.”
The Isom/Johnson duo displayed that firepower on Thunder Ridge’s opening drive. On third and 2 from the Bonneville 47, Johnson found Isom on a slant, and the 5-foot-9, 155-pounder ran untouched for the score.
“We’re coming off a tough year, but we trust each other, and that’s what it came down to,” said Isom, who finished with 101 yards rushing and 62 receiving.
Isom did it on his own two drives later, bouncing to his left after taking the handoff and outrunning the Bees’ defense for a 14-yard TD run.
Johnson, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 204 yards in his first varsity start, got in on the fun to cap the strong first half, showing great patience on a 6-yard scoring run.
Thunder Ridge put the game out of reach late in the third quarter when Isom, lining up in the wildcat, bulled his way in from a yard out. The Titans’ final touchdown was another Isom run, this one from 18 yards out with 7:02 left.
Bonneville’s points came on an 8-yard run from quarterback Jordan Perez and a 6-yard run from Willie Nelson in the first half and a 5-yard TD pass from Braxton Sorenson to Kai Howell in the final minutes.
The Titans were all smiles after the game, first gathering by the goalpost before heading to the stands to celebrate with their family and friends. Marshall knows the celebration can’t last forever – it’s a long season and there’s plenty to correct despite the opening win.
“This is just the beginning,” he said. “This gives them the confidence they can win, but there’s a lot to clean up.”
THUNDER RIDGE 32, BONNEVILLE 20
Bonneville 6 14 6 6 – 32
Thunder Ridge 6 7 7 0 – 20
TR—Kaysen Isom 47 pass from Tao Johnson (Jason Rogel kick blocked)
B—Jordan Perez 8 run (Miguel Delaluz kick failed)
TR—Isom 14 run (Rogel kick)
B—Willie Nelson 5 run (Delaluz kick)
TR—Johnson 6 run (Rogel kick)
TR—Isom 1 run (Rogel kick failed)
TR—Isom 18 run (Rogel kick failed)
B—Kai Howell 5 pass from Braxton Sorenson (Delaluz kick)
RUSHING—Bonneville: Colton Reifschneider 11-58, Jordan Perez 8-60, Willie Nelson 2-7, Braxton Sorenson 12-4, Graeson Dahlke 4-11. Thunder Ridge: Kaysen Isom 15-101, Tao Johnson 9-23, Connor Belnap 3-1
PASSING—Bonneville: Perez 4-5-0 18, Sorenson 10-17-1 98. Thunder Ridge: Johnson 11-19-0 204
RECEIVING—Bonneville: Sorenson 1-3, Graeson Dahlke 2-6, Bryce Reeser 1-3, Nelson 3-31, Kai Howell 6-48, Branson Casper 2-21, Kade Belnap 1-4. Thunder Ridge: Isom 2-62, Dutch Driggs 3-21, Kayden Toldson 4-107, Lane Gillespie 1-8