Park City buzzing after win
Forget the fact that Park City High Schools’ homecoming dance was scheduled for Saturday night. The Miners football team started dancing in the second half of their biggest Region 10 game yet against Wasatch, and didn’t stop until they finished celebrating their 42-25 win over the Wasps.
"We won the turnover battle in the second half. Wasatch won it in the first half," Park City head coach Brandon Matich said.
The first half did indeed provide the expected grudge match between the neighboring schools. With the Wasps switching up defenses and keying in on Park City’s star running back, Jared Tew, the Miners looked to other members of the offense to step up. Quarterback Andy ers did just that, putting the Miners on the board with a 50-yard keeper in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Nick Vought made his own contribution with a show stopping 93-yard kick return.
But make no mistake, it was the Wasps’ half. Running back Jake Salazar moved the chains up and down the field. Russell Rose had a seven-yard touchdown run in the second followed by another late in the half on a four-yard pass from Taylor Woodruff to Skylar Baumgartner. In the meantime, the Wasatch offense held Tew to a season-low 16 yards in the first half.
Down 17-14 at halftime, Matich regrouped the troops.
"That was a new challenge for us," Matich said. "We haven’t had to do that this season."
Matich’s strategy proved successful. In the second half, the Miners defense held the Wasps scoreless. On the other side of the ball, the offensive line had what Matich said was their strongest game of the season, creating numerous opportunities for the Park City offense to score.
"We won because of what the boys did up front," Matich said. "With this group of kids, I never feel uneasy."
Tew was able to return to form in the second half, making it into the endzone twice. His final run was a Tew-style long run for 65 yards, breaking a last second shoestring tackle by Salazar. He finished the game with 166 yards on 28 carries.
But the star of the night was Byers, who ended the game like he started it, with another touchdown, this time for 26 yards. Byers had 148 yards rushing on 12 carries for the night. In the postgame melee, Byers was almost speechless about how good his first breakout game felt.
" It was awesome. This is the first time I’ve done this all season. It was definitely an exciting game for me," Byers said.
And an interesting development for the remaining teams on the Miners schedule, who know now that Park City has options when defenses focus on Tew.
"If you are going to key on Jared, Andy is going to hurt you," Matich said. "Andy Byers is one heck of a ball player."
Both teams had their share of turnovers. The Miners had three in the first two quarters, one of which the Wasps converted for the Baumgartner score to close out the half. The Wasps had one more than that with four. The final, and most important was an interception picked off by Searle Vincent, shutting down Wasatch’s final attempt to score late in the game.
The win keeps the Miners’ perfect record intact and sitting squarely on top of both Region 10 and the 3A division, but Matich is not taking anything for granted. On Friday, the boys board the bus bound for Morgan — a team that they have struggled to beat for years. Matich said that the key to preparing for the Trojans is making sure the team’s mental focus and attitude remains intense all week long.
The Miners face the Trojans in Morgan on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.
South Summit- Running back Brayden Stembridge had another big game, finishing the night with two carries on 83 yards and a touchdown to help the Wildcats triumph over Manti 39-19. Next game South Summit at Delta on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.
North Summit- North Summit easily slipped by the American Leadership Academy 53-22 led by Dallin Donaldson’s four carries for 109 yards. Nathaniel Richins also contributed with 93 yards on five carries and Jake Richins had six carries for 97 yards. Next game Juab at North Summit on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.
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