If the Miners could pick a nice way to beat their biggest nemesis, Judge Memorial, in football, a shutout would be high on the list. And that’s just what they did on Friday night in Draper, beating the Bulldogs 16-0 at the Juan Diego Field, which serves as a makeshift home for Judge as its crumbling field gets repaired.
The Miners got their momentum going early in the game. The Bulldogs controlled the ball on the opening drive, but couldn’t do anything with it. Park City soon took over and kicker Ben Portwood booted a 47-yard field goal just over the upright with about a minute left in the first quarter. After that, it was pretty much all Park City.
The Miners were able to rely heavily on their running game and used it to their advantage. Midway through the second quarter, they got the ball on their own 35-yard-line and running back Dylan Chynoweth broke free through a seam created by the left tackle and scooted 55 yards to the 10-yard-line. Three plays later, quarterback Erik Walker, under pressure, kept the ball and rolled left for an eight-yard touchdown.
"We went back to running the ball and back to fundamentals," said Park City head coach Brandon Matich.
Ahead 9-0 at that point, the Miners were able to hold the Bulldogs scoreless through the third. Then, in the fourth quarter, they topped off their game with another eight-yard scramble to the left side by Walker for a touchdown.
Despite scoring most of the Miners’ points, Walker was in and out of the game all night with cramps. Backup Scott Neuenschwander and third-string quarterback Jackson Smith both appeared throughout the game to ably lead the Miners.
Matich said that the coaching staff challenged the team to really rise up this game after struggling with adversity the last few weeks. In this game they used three different defensive schemes to keep the Bulldogs guessing and tried to minimize turnovers.
"I don’t think they knew what to do or how to block us," Matich said.
Park City did have three turnovers, but the struggling Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize on any of them.
Defensively, the Miners manhandled the Bulldogs, with Greg Sardo recording numerous tackles and a handful of sacks and linebacker Harrison Bevans also tackling Bulldogs left and right.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs seemed to be spinning. They turned the ball over five times and gained only 27 total yards with one first down and one pass completion in the first half, and then turned in an even more dismal performance in the second half with seven yards of total offense. It was another bad night for the Bulldogs, who, despite a decent defense, has struggled offensively for the last few games, turning the ball over 20 times overall and scoring just 16 points in three games.
The Miners can take their momentum into this week’s homecoming game against Uintah this Thursday at Dozier Field. Park City had previously lost its previous two games and need all the confidence it can get to overtake the Utes, who are 5-2 on the season with one win in Region.
"It’s a big deal for us," Matich said. "We’ve got some tough opponents ahead of us. Uintah is big and physical."
The Miners will face the Utes at 7 p.m.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.