PCHS suffers heartbreaking playoff loss to Logan
The unfortunate thing about a miracle game is it means a nightmare ending for the other team.
The Park City High School football team suffered that kind of nightmare on Friday afternoon as the Miners lost to Logan 24-23 in the first round of 3A state playoffs.
With two of the state’s better teams pitted against each other early in the playoffs, the game promised excitement, and it delivered. The one-point differential in the final score belied the drama that ensued in the fourth quarter. The Miners led by two touchdowns near the beginning of the fourth, only to lose to the Grizzlies in the final 18 seconds.
The loss marks the second time in a row that the Miners have made a heart-breaking first-game exit in the race for the state crown.
Each team scored a touchdown and a field goal to keep the game tied heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Park City seniors turned on their scoring magic. Quarterback Searle Vincent scored on a quarterback keeper up the middle in the third quarter followed by another touchdown at the 10:18 mark in the fourth by the state’s leading rusher, Matt Wright, to put the Miners up by two scores. The touchdown was the second for Wright, who rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns. However, Ben Portwood missed on the point-after kick a fact that would haunt the team later.
The Grizzlies rallied, with quarterback Jeff Manning scoring a touchdown for Logan two minutes later. The Grizzlies looked to be in position to score again as they crept near the end zone with less than two minutes left in the game, but came up inches short on fourth-and-3 to turn the ball over to the Miners. With a win almost securely in hand, the Miners looked to run time off the clock, but three straight penalties and the tough Grizzlies defense forced them into a punting situation from their own 16 yard line with just 25 seconds left.
That’s when Logan’s Jordan Ballam and Duncan Olsen pulled off the unthinkable. Ballam headed outside for the endzone as 10 Grizzlies players rushed Portwood as he was preparing to punt. That opened a lane for Olsen, who blocked the punt and sent the ball into the end zone where Ballam threw himself on the ball for the touchdown. The extra-point was good and the Grizzlies took a one-point lead. With just seconds left, the Miners tried to pull off their own late-game heroics, but an interception by Logan’s Josh Thatcher ended the game and Park City, once again, watched their state title hopes fade into the setting sun.
With a stark contrast of tears and cheers separating the stadium, the Grizzlies were humble in their miracle win, praising the Miners’ efforts.
"They did awesome," Ballam said. "That No. 28 fullback is great. They’re good sports. I like that guy."
Duncan Olsen agreed.
"Park City is too good of a team to play in the first round," he said.
On the other side of the field, teary-eyed park City head coach Brandon Matich talked to his team trying to calm the shock. Afterwards, he kept his thoughts brief, but filled with emotion.
"I love my seniors," Matich said. "I love them with all my heart."
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