The Park City High School football team got off to a quick start on Friday night in its home opener against the Judge Memorial Bulldogs.
Early in the first quarter, Noah Pranschke picked off an errant Bulldog pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. Zach Slusher added the extra point and the Miners found themselves ahead 7-0 on their former Region 10 rivals.
On the Miners next drive, though, it was the Bulldogs turn to return an interception for a score, this one from 80 yards out. After a missed extra point, Judge kicker Andrew Matthews was able to chip home a 25-yard field goal before the end of the opening quarter to put the Bulldogs ahead 9-7.
They'd never look back, dominating the last three quarters and sending Park City to an 0-3 record via a 43-7 road victory.
Park City coach Mike Shepherd said the Bulldogs' defense got the best of the PCHS offensive line all night, making it hard on the offense to get any positive momentum rolling.
"We didn't play a very good game on the offensive line," he said. "Judge did a good job blitzing linebackers and switching things up on us. When teams blitz and do things we haven't had time to practice against, it causes problems for us."
Defensively, he thought the Miners did a good job in the first half, allowing only 16 points before giving up 27 in the final two quarters.
"I think, in the first half, we played really hard," he said. "In the second, we started letting the game get away from us."
And, Shepherd added, when the Miners start falling behind, it's hard for them to right the ship.
"People get frustrated and start doing their own thing," he said. "That just doesn't work. Hopefully our kids see that."
Park City will spend practice this week simplifying things across the board, Shepherd said.
"We're focusing on the most basic fundamentals we can come up with," he said. "We're going to dial everything down and make sure our players know exactly what they're supposed to do on the field. That way there won't be excuses for not being where you're supposed to be. We're going to shorten the playbook on offense and defense."
Despite the struggles of the first three games, Shepherd thinks the Miners have a good chance of being competitive in the early part of their region schedule.
"We're coming into an area in our schedule the next four games [vs. Union, at Tooele, vs. Uintah and at Ben Lomond] where we should at least be competitive," he said. "Hopefully the kids stay positive and we'll continue to get better."
Against Union on Friday, Shepherd said the Miners will face a team that has similar problems to their own.
"They're a decent team," he said. "But they're a lot like us they struggle with having enough players and enough talent to compete with the upper-level teams."
Friday's game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Dozier Field.