Miner Midgets advance to championship | ParkRecord.com

Miner Midgets advance to championship

Ryan Tibbitts, For The Park Record

The Park City Miner Midget football team convincingly defeated the Taylorsville Warriors 20-6 to advance to the conference championship game Saturday against the West Panthers. The game was tied at the half and was still in doubt until the fourth quarter when Park City pulled away from the Warriors and put the game away.

The victory was especially sweet for the Miners as the big, tough Taylorsville team had handily defeated them the previous week in the final regular-season game 35-13. That victory put Taylorsville ahead of Park City in the rankings going into the playoffs, but gave Park City added incentive to prepare for the playoff game and obtain some sweet revenge.

The two teams slugged it out throughout the game with both sides delivering bone-crushing hits and exciting long-yardage plays. Taylorsville scored quickly in the first quarter and it looked like a repeat of the lopsided season ending game was in the works.

But this time the Miners did not fold, but came back with a score of their own when quarterback Joey Lukrich hit his speedy slotback, Tyler Shea, over the middle with a pass and Shea outran the Warrior defenders into the end zone from 20 yards out. Neither team was able to convert its extra-point attempts, so the score remained 6-6.

Miner running backs Tyler Shea and Eric Morgan were the workhorses for the Miners as they ripped off huge gains time after time during the game. Both were close to scoring more touchdowns, but were either tackled or stepped out of bounds near the goal line. Fullback Grant Brown and quarterback Lukrich finished off the work started by Shea and Morgan as Brown powered his way up the middle for one Miner touchdown in the third quarter and Lukrich ran in a quarterback sneak for another in the fourth. Lukrich hit wide receiver McCoy Tibbitts in the end zone for a two-point conversion to end the scoring for the Miners and seal the fate of the Warriors.

Throughout the game, the Miner offensive linemen — and woman — Cameron Poulsen, Gavin Schenk, Sage Doman, Ms. Morgan Lukrich, and Conner Christofferson held out the Warriors and gave Joey Lukrich time to pass and the Park City runners holes to move the ball down the field. The Miner defense played its heart out in the game and rotated many players in to substitute while players recovered from injuries and rested from the supreme effort being made by everyone on the field. Defensive ends Ben Sprung and Marquel Solipo gave the Warrior quarterback and running backs trouble throughout the game. Sprung also blasted between two Warriors and recovered an onside kick for the Miners at a critical time in the second half.

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The defensive line, made up of Morgan Lukrich, Schenk, Doman, Poulsen and Carter Hall, made heroic efforts against a much larger Warrior line. The group was pushed down the field a couple of times during the game, but never broke. Linebackers Joey Lukrich, Brown, Morgan and Christofferson stopped Warrior runners time after time. David Guerrero, Wesley Evans, Trevor Feldkircher, James Groesz all contributed to the win on defense and special teams. Key tackles were made in the game by Brown, Morgan, Joey and Morgan Lukrich, Sprung, Solipo, Shea, Christofferson, Tibbitts and James Bullock, who made two critical tackles while filling in for defensive back Cy Coleman, who left the game early with a knee injury. Several other Miner players who helped the team make the playoffs were unable to play in the game due to injury, including Cody Falk, Adam Hodgsen and Penn Komisar.

"The team really stepped up this week," said head coach Cal Coleman. "I don’t think Taylorsville knew what hit them after what they did to us last week."

The Miners face a tough West Panther team Saturday at 9 a.m. at Cottonwood High School for the championship.