Community support aids Park City in its run to the 4A state title game
Standing on the sidelines at Rice-Eccles Stadium last Friday afternoon, the emotions one could see on people’s faces ranged from elation and pride to heartbreak.
Park City’s football team was playing in the Class 4A state championship game against Sky View, in search of the program’s first-ever state title. As the clock ticked down to zero and the Miners stood 45-0 on the losing end of the game, tears, hugs and curse words could be seen and heard along the sideline.
But a quick glance up into the stands, where a crowd of at least 2,000 Parkites stood, you could see pride on their faces. And when that final whistle blew, the ovation that rained down on the Miners far outweighed the cheers that came from the Sky View side.
“This was incredible, something truly special,” said Josh Montzingo, Park City coach. “I personally feel like I let the community down today, but all their support means the world to me and to us as a program. … They gave us a spark all season long and we’re so happy they got to be on this journey with us.”
When the name Park City comes up, most people throughout the state of Utah think about the world-class skiing and snowboarding, or the abundance of mountain trails for some of the premiere mountain biking in the country.
But when it comes to a hotbed of high school football in the state, the small mountain town with a population of 8,500 doesn’t exactly come to mind.
“Nobody used to come to Park City looking for football players, or even a football town,” Montzingo said. “But this senior class helped turn all of that around, and they’ve been instrumental in putting us on that map. Combine with what they did and the support from the community, I think we can say Park City is a football town now.”
The history of Park City is one of rebirth, literally rising from the coals of the old mining town into what is now considered one of the premiere winter destinations in the country, if not the world.
Montzingo metaphorically has done just that with the Miners in his reign as head coach.
In the five years prior to him taking over, the Miners won 14 games total. This season alone, Park City came within one win of that five-year total.
“Compared to where we started as freshmen to where we are now, it’s pretty incredible,” senior linebacker Brady Baumann said. “We are truly a family who believes and trusts in one another. … And we get to look back on everything we’ve accomplished one day and be proud of that.”
This year concluded with the Miners having their best season in program history, finishing 13-1 while winning the Region 11 championship and being ranked No. 1 in its classification for half of the year.
One of the biggest shows of community support came when Park City High School (10-12) and Treasure Mountain Junior High School (7-9) had an amended bell schedule the day of the game. Schools were let out at 9:25 a.m. for the day, with buses providing to-and-from transportation for the students to the state title game, according to PCHS principal Roger Arbabi.
Local businesses such as Chesley Electric and Dolly’s Bookstore closed down for the day to travel and watch the Miners in action.
“I was so impressed to see the thousands of Park City people in the stands that it almost felt better than winning based on the fact that the community sowed this much support to the kids,” said Tim Chesley, owner of Chelsey Electric. “One of the reasons I moved to Park City was because I wanted to live in a smaller town that had a real sense of community. Shutting down my business for the day, and when I others follow suit, it was incredible to see all of that support.”
And Chesley isn’t the only one to move to Park City for those same reasons.
“I’ve lived a lot of places in my life but this small town, Park City, it’s home,” Montzingo said after the loss. “The reason I have a home is because of this community and the way they rally around each other and us. I couldn’t go to the store without people wishing me luck or wanting to talk football, and I loved that. Everyone knew about this team and what we did, and that’s why I love being here.”
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The 2020 installation will bring the total number of honorees to 83.