Park City junior quarterback Ian Moritz and senior wide receiver Konnor Andersen have connected for plenty of pass completions over the last two years. In fact, over the last two games, Andersen has caught four touchdown passes, three from Moritz.
But none has been bigger than the completion early in the third quarter of Friday night's game at Dozier Field against Uintah.
With the scoreboard showing Park City 14, Uintah 6, Moritz found Andersen on a crossing route and the big receiver did the rest, racing into the end zone from 29 yards out for what would ultimately be the deciding score in Park City's 21-13 victory.
"It's one of those that you dream up as a little kid when you're running routes with your dad in the backyard," Andersen said. "It's a good feeling."
The fact that the touchdown came in the senior's last homecoming game was icing on the cake.
"This was a game we'd been looking forward to all year," he said. "We circled it on the calendar at the beginning of the year and we came out and had some people step up. It was great."
Moritz said he was happy to have a chance at redemption after last year's 51-49 loss to Uintah.
"Uintah beat us last year on our homecoming," he said. "So it's huge to come out and beat them this year. It feels so good."
Andersen pointed to a key goal-line stand before halftime as a turning point for the Miners. With time winding down in the second quarter and Park City holding a 14-6 lead thanks to two rushing touchdowns by Moritz, the Utes were driving and had a first-and-goal before the Miners buckled down and ended the half without allowing any additional points.
"If we look back to last year, right before halftime, at about the 20-yard line, Uintah faked a field goal, threw for a touchdown and that ended up hurting us at the end," he said. "We needed to stay strong, and we did."
Park City coach Mike Shepherd said keeping the Miners focused this week was a challenge, but he's proud of the way his team came out and performed against an athletic Uintah squad.
"I was telling the kids before the game that homecoming is a game where there are a lot of people and it seems very important, but it really is just another football game," he said. "As long as you keep that in perspective, you'll play your best football. And then, after the game, go rejoice with all your friends."
That's exactly what the Miners did. After stopping the Utes on fourth down with about a minute remaining, Moritz kneeled twice and the celebration began. With fireworks exploding in the sky, Park City students stormed the field to celebrate with the players.
Though winning on homecoming was something all the players enjoyed, the more important statistic is Park City's 2-0 record in the 3AA North region.
"That's huge," Shepherd said. "It's a big deal for a variety of reasons. We're going to make the playoffs, and that's a big deal because we'll get at least one extra game. And, if we can win next week, I'm pretty confident it will be a home playoff game, which would be an even bigger deal."
But the playoffs are still a few weeks away, so the Miners will need to stay focused on the task at hand. This Friday night, they'll travel to play Ben Lomond High School in another region game.
Shepherd said the team would continue working on its rushing attack, which showed signs of life on Friday night.
"We were a little better running the ball, but honestly, we need to get even better still," he said. "We need to establish some run. We can only run certain pass routes so many times before they start jumping them. So we're going to work on that everyday, just like we have been. Eventually, we'll figure out what works and move forward from there."
Moritz pointed to a solid effort from the offensive line as something that could give the rushing attack some momentum in the coming weeks.
"Our line picked it up," he said. "It started to click and they started to work together better as a team."
"They dominated this game," Andersen added. They've been working hard and busting their butts every day hitting the sled in practice."
If things keep going the way they have been for the Miners, Shepherd is confident his team will have a chance to compete with anyone.
"We've gotten a little better every week," he said. "That's really all we're shooting for. The victories will come as we get better. Hopefully the kids have the bug now and they realize that working hard and doing things the right way is the way you get to be a winning program."
Friday night's game in Ogden is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.