Miners can’t overcome mental mistakes in loss to Ridgeline
In football, having the bigger players usually bodes well for your team. Unfortunately for the Park City High School football team, it found itself on the opposite side of that on Friday night when hosting Ridgeline at Dozier Field.
Thanks to strong lines on both sides of the ball and a potent rushing attack from big backs such as Levani Damuni, the Riverhawks used a strong second half to get by the Miners 31-7. With the loss, Park City now sits at 4-4 with just two games remaining in the regular season.
“They found out that we aren’t very big inside and they went right after us,” Head Coach Josh Montzingo said. “Their size on ours, that was a good move on their part. We had to make a couple of adjustments to shore that up but by the time that we did, they hit a couple of big plays on us.”
The Miners were led by quarterback Spencer Zur, who finished with 200 yards and a touchdown through the air. Wideout Beau Pederson was on the receiving end of that six-yard touchdown pass. Due to the pressure dialed up by the Riverhawk defense, Zur struggled, at times, to find open receivers down the field.
This also played a part in the run game, as Park City mustered only 26 rushing yards against a strong defensive front. Despite all of that, Montzingo believes that there is some positive to take away from this loss, even if there are still things to work on.
“We can play with a team twice our size when we play our game and when we play clean,” he said. “When we make mistakes, it doesn’t matter who lines up against us, we’re in trouble.”
For much of the first half, if not all of it, the Miners were right on the heels of the Riverhawks. In fact, it took nearly the entire first quarter for the game to see any points from either team, until Ridgeline hit a 20-yard field goal to gain the early advantage.
Park City, though, had its opportunities to pull ahead, but was set back by a number of penalties and mental mistakes. There were even a few questionable calls from the referees that could have gone either way, one specifically that could have turned the game around.
With Ridgeline quarterback Payton Thomas back to pass, the Miners decided to bring some pressure. Stout defensive lineman Eli Alford disrupted the flow of the play, forcing the ball out of Thomas’ hands and onto the turf. Alford scooped up the ball and for a brief moment, he, along with teammates and coaches on the sideline, believe that he had created a much-needed turnover.
But instead, the officials called the play an incomplete pass, as Thomas’ arm was in a throwing motion. Without instant replay, it’s hard to tell what truly happened and Montzingo recognizes that, even if at the moment, he wanted a certain call.
“We can’t control the calls, to be honest with you,” Montzingo said. “We can only control what we can control. We have to make sure we aren’t making any errors and putting ourselves into bad situations.”
With just two regular-season games remaining, the Miners now shift their attention to next week when they will play in their final home game of the year against Tooele. It’ll be Senior Night for the team, so the players are expected to come out with a little more fire than in games past.
The Miners might need that extra juice, too, as the Buffaloes come to Park City boasting an impressive 7-1 record.
“As usual, the week doesn’t get any easier, it gets harder,” Montzingo said. “Just seems like every week, it’s next one up. It’s bigger, faster, stronger. [Tooele is] one of the big dogs in the conference and they have been for years. We have our work cut out for us. We’re gonna work real hard this week.”
The game will be played on Thursday this week at Dozier Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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