Miners’ season ends at 6-6 after loss to Stallions
November 8, 2016
As the old adage goes, "when it rains it pours," and the Park City High School football team experienced that in the UHSAA 3AA quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.
On the road at Stansbury High School, the Miners held tough throughout the first quarter with the top-seeded Stallions, ending the frame in a 0-0 stalemate. But thanks to a flurry of turnovers in the second quarter, Park City quickly fell behind, giving up 20, 20 and 14 points in the remaining three quarters, respectively.
The visiting Miners were unable to keep up with the run-heavy offense of Stansbury, falling 54-0 to end their season at 6-6. With the win, the Stallions move on to the state semifinals, where they will face Desert Hills.
"Hats off [to Stansbury]," Head Coach Josh Montzingo said. "Stansbury's a great team and they played their hearts out tonight. We definitely didn't have our best game, but you can't take anything away from them. They were incredible. Every phase, they did a great job."
Like all season long, Stansbury did most of its damage on the ground. Led by McCoy Didericksen, who finished with 173 yards and four touchdowns, the Stallions were able to rack up 426 rushing yards, while four different players found the end zone via the run game.
For the Miners, it was tough to get anything going against the stout Stansbury defense. Quarterback Spencer Zur mustered together 101 yards, but the lack of the running game — just eight yards for Park City — allowed the Stallions to key in on the pass, not allowing many open receivers downfield.
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In that scoreless first quarter, it appeared that Park City was up to the task of pulling off the upset.
With the Stallions driving late in the frame, the Miners defense came through in a big way by stalling the opposing offense after it advanced the ball to a first-and-goal situation. This led to a Stansbury field-goal attempt with under a minute to go until the end of the first quarter, but it pushed wide, keeping the score at a 0-0 tie.
But the second quarter was when it all went downhill for Park City. On back-to-back possessions, the offense turned the ball over — a fumble and an interception — to gift the Stallions a short field to work with. They took advantage by scoring both times to gain the 14-0 advantage.
The lead was increased to 20-0 after Mitchell McIntyre found Conner McKay right before the end of the half for the only non-rushing touchdown of the game, leaving the Miners with a lot to discuss in the locker rooms during halftime.
"You can't give that offense too many chances," Montzingo said of Stansbury. "We didn't do a very good job on defense, but when you give them extra chances, that's certainly going to help [them]. You've got to keep up and get a couple of scores on a team like that. We didn’t take advantage of opportunities when we had them."
The third quarter was much of the same in terms of scoring for the Stallions, but their offense earned the points rather than capitalizing on turnovers. With touchdown runs of 38, 51 and two yards, Stansbury put an insurmountable lead in between itself and the Miners by the end of the third quarter. The Stallions added two more insurance touchdowns in the fourth and final quarter, with Silas Young capping off the scoring with a 66-yard run.
Despite being blanked in the last game of the season, Montzingo and company were happy with the way they competed, especially in the first quarter. For the Miners, battling each and every week has been their mantra and it was no different in the loss to Stansbury.
"Our heart and our effort has been there all year long," Montzingo said. "We just came up short tonight."
When looking at the big picture, this season was a success for Park City. With a first-year head coach in Montzingo, not only did the team finish with a .500 record in a tough classification, but it also took down a Southern Utah team in Cedar to advance in the 3AA playoffs last week.
The end of the season marks the end of an era for the senior Miners. The soon-to-be-graduates have accomplished much in their tenure, and the head coach is certainly going to miss the departing players, and the football season in general.
"It's a special group," Montzingo said of the seniors. "They'll always have a place in my heart. I'm going to miss them. It's going to be tough to replace them, but hats off to them, they did a great job this year. … Just going to miss [the season]. These guys are great kids. We had a great time this year. It was fun to watch them grow and develop."
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