Record breakers: Miners end with successful season despite loss in semifinals |

Record breakers: Miners end with successful season despite loss in semifinals

Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

Football coach Brandon Matich has a difficult time saying goodbye to his seniors each year when the season ends, but this year was harder than most.

"The journey this team has taken us on has been phenomenal," Matich said. "It’s been emotional. It’s been the absolute best joy of my life."

Running back coach Mikey Collins said he has known this group of kids since they were eight years old and has coached them from their freshman year all the way to graduation.

"This group of kids were used to playing football together and they started to really gel," Collins said. "These kids really dedicated themselves for their whole high school career. Since the first day these guys walked on campus, they’ve been playing for this season. They’re all really genuine kids. To see them leave is just tough."

It was a great year for the Miners who took the Region 10 championship and advanced to the semifinals in the state playoffs. The Miners ended the season 11-2, breaking several records along the way.

"We’re trying to figure out how many records they broke," Matich said. "From week one until now, this team has been amazing."

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Matich said he tried to make the preseason as difficult as he could by scheduling games with Juan Diego, Logan, Delta, Morgan and Manti. Manti is new to 3A this year and had dominated in 2A for several years. Matich even tried to schedule a game with Hurricane, the team that beat them in the playoffs 24-19, but the schedules never matched up. The Miners played the Hurricane Tigers in Hurricane last year, getting crushed 31-0, he said. But the year before, the Miners beat the Tigers at Dozier Field.

Defensive coach Nate Brown said overall this was a good year for the Miners despite the disappointing loss in the semifinals.

"All in all, we had a fantastic year in terms of wins and we won our region title," Brown said. "On the whole, I think we’re a little disappointed that we didn’t reach our overall goal to reach the championship game and taking the title. That was a realistic goal for our team this year."

The Miners came a long way after their first win against Canyon View and their first loss to Juan Diego.

"We didn’t really know how we would fare on the year," Brown said. "We started out slow (but) began kind of our nice long winning streak and pulled everything together. We had some great challenges going on some long road trips to Delta and Manti, and they turned out really successful."

Brown said the team played well both offensively, breaking the high school rushing record in Utah, and defensively, as one of the best teams in 3A in terms of points give up.

"The seniors are unbelievable kids," he said. "They have nothing to be ashamed of with the way this season ended. Some will have opportunity to play football at the next level and that just shows dedication. These guys have been on a lot of winning programs. Credit that to work ethic."

The seniors graduating this year include star running back Dylan Chynoweth who was named the Region 10 MVP. He was the leading rusher in the state with 2,261 yards on 185 carries and 34 touchdowns, breaking the school rushing record. He ranked fourth all time for most rushing yards in a season in Utah. He’s second all time for rushing touchdowns in a season in Utah. His longest reception was 75 yards and his longest run was 85 yards, according to Max Preps.

Quarterback Erik Walker had 1,452 yards on 107 carries and 19 touchdowns. He passed for 990 yards on 46 passes and 8 touchdowns. His longest completion was 77 yards. He made three interceptions. Walker was named Region 10’s co-offensive MVP with Wasatch’s quarterback Payton Davis.

Walker and Chynoweth each accumulated more than 4,000 yards in their four years playing for the Miners.

"It’s just exciting to have done so well with my team and get as far as we did," Dylan Chynoweth said. "We have the best coaching staff in the state. They just really care about all our players. This is the best experience of my life being part of the team."

Matich said senior Andy Proctor was the most accomplished halfback he’s ever had. Proctor had 447 yards on 32 carries and 76 yards on 13 receptions. He had two interceptions, 21 tackles, 45 assists and two sacks.

"I can’t say enough about Andy," Collins said. "He’s the first guy in the weight room and the last guy in the weight room. He has a great future in football."

Defensive back and wide receiver Alex Molinaro had three interceptions for the season and 342 yards on 14 receptions.

"He’s the guy you want around," Collins said. "You love him when he’s on your side. He’s just a great, great kid to be around, a good football player and a big contributor to the team."

Backup quarterback Jackson Smith had 42 yards on 3 completions and 38 yards on 15 carries and was a big contributor as a defensive end, assistant coach John Chynoweth said.

While running back Ed Tinoco didn’t see much playing time, Collins said he couldn’t imagine the team without Tinoco.

"He always came to practice, always tried his best, and everybody loved him," Collins said.

Linebacker and running back Mat Christensen had two interceptions, 270 yards on 31 carries and 49 yards on two receptions. He had 26 tackles and 30 assists.

Running back and linebacker Bryce Delnort had 92 yards on 14 carries. He had 20 tackles and 43 assists.

"Bryce was a phenomenal linebacker and backed up Dylan at fullback," John Chynoweth said.

Offensive and defensive linemen Scott Adams, Cash Knight, Matt Jones and Mitch Freckleton were described by John Chynoweth as being some of the best lineman at PCHS and by Collins as being model football players. Knight received an offer from Weber State just last weekend.

Tight end and defensive lineman Dillon Olsen had a great year, Collins said. Olsen had 19 yards on one reception. Collins said that was a key play in the semifinals. He was one of the leaders of the team with eight sacks for the season, John Chynoweth said. He had 19 tackles and 31 assists.

Wide receiver and defensive back Parker Ruttan had 12 yards on one reception and seven tackles with seven assists.

"Parker Ruttan and Alex Molinaro were instrumental in making some great downfield blocks," John Chynoweth said.

Although the team is losing strong seniors, Collins said he is very positive about next year.

"We have strong returning starters," Collins said.

Returning players include offensive and defensive lineman Jake Adams, who had eight sacks this season. Running back and defensive back Blake Thorne had two interceptions and 197 yards on 19 carries. Defensive back and running back Robert Cashel had 63 yards on eight carries and 18 tackles with 12 assists. Wide receiver and defensive back Brian Schettler had 466 yards on 19 receptions and was an instrumental safety for the team.

Collins said other promising players are Conner Bevins, Chad Wing, Keenan Ward, Jager Chynoweth and Conner Lagnese.

"With our success on junior varsity and freshman teams in the last few years, we should be poised to take Region 10 again," he said. "We could put together a very formidable team next year. We need kids to step up and it will be their time. I’m excited for things to come in the future."