Banged up Miners fall to Bear River
Being a center in football isn’t a flashy position, but it’s an important one. Besides the quarterback, the center is the only player on the field that has his hands on the ball on every play, though it be in a limited role, and is a pivotal cog to a team’s success.
So when Park City’s starting center was “banged up” in practice the week leading up to Friday night’s matchup with Bear River, and his backup followed suit, head coach Josh Montzingo was forced to play an emergency center. This led to a significant shift of offensive linemen, which is never good for any football team in the middle of a season.
“That didn’t help us,” Montzingo admitted.
The Miners fell on the road to the Bears 23-12, dropping their season record to 3-2, but the change across the line was not the sole reason why.
“We just didn’t execute,” Montzingo said. “We missed some plays. There were plays to be made and we just didn’t make some.”
Leading the way for Park City was Spencer Zur, who finished the game 20-for-30, passing the ball for 240 yards and a touchdown. But the quarterback wasn’t without fault, throwing an interception and losing a key fumble in the second quarter that Bear River returned for a touchdown to take the lead for good.
For much of the first half, though, the Miners held the early advantage. With just under five minutes to go in the first quarter, Beau Pederson returned a punt 80 yards to the house to help his team draw first blood. After the extra point was blocked, Park City sat with a 6-0 at the end of the first.
But the Miners didn’t have the lead for very long. After a Bear River field goal cut the lead in half, Zur committed the aforementioned fumble for a touchdown, surrendering the lead to the Bears heading into halftime, 10-6.
Coming out of the locker room, Park City was held scoreless through the entire third quarter, giving up another touchdown in the process. The fourth quarter was much of the same, though the Miners narrowed the gap slightly with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Zur to his brother Collin to end the night on a better note.
Despite a 67 percent completion rate and over 200 yards from his quarterback, Montzingo credited Bear River’s pass rush as one of the main reasons his team couldn’t execute, at times. With the movement in the trenches, the Bears took advantage by forcing Spencer Zur to make tough decisions in the pocket.
“[Bear River’s] rush was pretty good. They got to the quarterback a couple of times,” Montzingo said. “They were able to get his eyes off downfield where we had some open receivers, but they were hard to see when you have everybody barreled down on you, that makes it pretty hard. They did a good job up front. The battle is usually won and lost up front and they got to us up front a little bit.”
Win or lose, there’s always something to take away from each game every week. Montzingo hopes that this loss will inspire his players to take a step back and learn from it before walking onto the field again for this week’s contest with Stansbury.
“It takes a full-game effort,” Montzingo said. “We have to compete in all phases all the way until the [final] whistle ends. … Keep fighting, keep working together. Good things will come when you do that.”
The Miners will be on the road again when they take on the Stallions this Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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