Since Week 1, the Park City High School football team has been focused on fundamentals and doing the little things right to make sure last year's 1-9 record doesn't become the norm.
After big losses to South Summit, Minico (Idaho) and Judge Memorial in the first three weeks of the season, the Miners had their best game of the year on Friday night at home against Union.
Park City put 36 points on the board, using an improved passing attack and opening up occasional running lanes.
But it wasn't enough to top the Cougars, who scored on a 25-yard touchdown run with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter to give them a hard-fought 37-36 victory.
Park City coach Mike Shepherd said the team's effort was there, but the mental errors are still plaguing the Miners at every turn.
"We're our own worst enemy," he said. "Teams that haven't won very much, that's pretty typical of why they lose. They haven't figured out how not to make those critical mistakes. We've just got to find a way to stop making these mistakes we keep making every week."
The Miners committed four turnovers on Friday night, throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles.
But, Shepherd said there were some good things happening on the field, too.
"[The loss] isn't a reflection of how hard they played," he said. "We played really hard and we made big strides. We just didn't make a big enough stride. We actually threw the ball pretty well tonight."
Sophomore quarterback Harrison Wakefield connected with senior Konnor Andersen on an eight-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring.
After Wakefield was drilled in the ribs and hit his head on the turf while being sacked in the third quarter, junior Ian Moritz took over at quarterback and connected with Andersen on a four-yard pass for the tight end's second touchdown of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, Moritz also had a one-yard touchdown run to put the Miners ahead.
Though the passing game was effective, Shepherd would like to see a more balanced attack.
"The biggest problem for us is we don't do anything well enough and basically every team is packing the box against us," he said. "Our offensive line is so inexperienced that we can't block, so we have to throw the ball, which isn't a good sign. And, honestly, if you were watching this game and you saw how many people we had open and how many balls we had that were thrown in the wrong place, we could have scored four or five more touchdowns easily if we would have just done the basic things."
This week, Shepherd said the story will be the same for Park City practices, summing up his goals in one word fundamentals.
"We can't progress forward until we get what we're trying to accomplish done properly," he said. "We have a long way to go just with the fundamentals. We're not going to do anything new until we can do what we already do better."
With a game at Tooele (1-3) coming up on Friday, Shepherd said Park City (0-4) needs to improve quickly.
"We have to practice hard this week and hopefully we take another leap forward," he said.
Friday's game is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Tooele High School.