Fourth-quarter defense secures win for Miners on Homecoming
Losers of three of their last four games, the Park City High School football team was looking to turn things around when it hosted Judge Memorial on Friday. Being the annual Homecoming Game, school spirit was high all week long and with the winless Bulldogs coming to town, the Miners were in the right position to return to the winning column.
But for much of the contest, the home team struggled against its rival at Dozier Field. In front of a packed house, including a student section dressed in red, black and camouflage that was screaming and shouting with every passing down, Park City carried just a 7-0 advantage heading into halftime, as the offense could hardly muster up any momentum to increase the lead.
The tension grew as the third quarter ended with the same score when finally, junior wide receiver and defensive back Beau Pederson took it upon himself to help his team walk away victorious during Homecoming Week.
“He’s a unique player. We’re very blessed to have him,” said Head Coach Josh Montzingo.
With just 8:49 to go in the game, Pederson, who already had the game’s only touchdown (a 17-yard pass from quarterback Spencer Zur), picked up a fumble from the Judge offense and proceeded to take it 25 yards to the house to put the Miners up by two possessions. The momentum completely swung Park City’s way for the remainder of the game, as the home team walked away victorious on Homecoming Night, 29-7, over the Bulldogs, leading to a rushing of the field by the Park City High students.
“Couldn’t be more proud of those guys,” Montzingo said after the game. “They played together as one heartbeat and it was fun to watch.”
The head coach praised the defense after the game, as the unit held the Judge offense to just 161 total yards and a single touchdown in garbage time. With four sacks, an interception returned for a touchdown by defensive back Jack Lecher and the fumble returned for a touchdown by Pederson, the Miner defense kept its team in the game when the offense seemed to sputter.
“If one phase of the game isn’t panning out as much as you’d like, there’s another phase to take over and that defense stepped up tonight,” Montzingo said.
The interception and fumble happened on back-to-back possessions, helping Park City create a cushion that, with limited time left in the game, proved to be enough to secure a victory.
Leading the way on offense was Zur, who didn’t have a bad game by any means statistically by recording 237 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Pederson was his favorite target throughout the night, finishing the night with six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.
The problem wasn’t getting yards for the Miners, but rather maintaining drives. Whenever it seemed like they would be able to march down the field, their drives would stall, as the Bulldog defense did a good job of forcing punts.
But in a battle of defenses, it was Park City’s that reigned supreme. With the win, the Miners improve their season record to 4-3, but more importantly, the team is trending upward.
“It’s just another stepping stone, another step up in the right direction,” Montzingo said. “When we play together [as a team], that good things can happen. If you keep fighting and you don’t let up, you never know what can happen.”
The Miners will have their second consecutive home game on Friday when they host Ridgeline at Dozier Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
SIDE NOTE: Park City’s defensive end and offensive tackle Eli Alford was named Homecoming King at halftime during the Judge game.
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