Miners fall in 3AA football playoffs
November 4, 2015
For the second year in a row the Park City High School football team’s season came to an end at the hands of the Hurricane Tigers.
This year the Miners fell behind early, allowing 16 first-quarter points en route to a 51-20 loss.
Hurricane benefited from a strong wind in the first quarter as the Miners had to go against the constant gusts. Park City Coach Mike Shepherd said the wind was a major factor the entire game.
"The wind was blowing about 40 miles an hour in one direction," he said. "We started out directly in the wind. I’m not exaggerating when I say you could only punt the ball 15 yards."
In the second quarter, Park City cut Hurricane’s lead to 16-13 before allowing another Tiger touchdown just before the intermission. Running back Cameron Maddux scored the Miners’ first touchdown of the quarter on a one-yard run. Quarterback Spencer Zur added a four-yard scoring run to send Park City into halftime trailing 22-13.
"We flipped sides and came right back," Shepherd said. "As soon as we got into the second quarter and got the wind, we scored on our next two possessions. But then, like we’ve done all season, there were a couple minutes to go before half when they drove down the field and scored."
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The final Park City touchdown came on a 77-yard pass from Zur to his twin brother Collin in the third quarter. Jacob Carr scored three touchdowns for the Tigers and Lucas Stout added two more.
Shepherd said the wind affected the Miners’ game plan, which normally involves using Zur’s strong arm to move the ball through the air.
"The wind never quit the entire game," he said. "It was a huge negative factor for us trying to throw the ball. It was one of the strongest winds I’ve ever had a team play in. Your opponent just crams you because they know you can’t throw the ball deep."
However, after halftime, Shepherd said Park City simply got outplayed.
"We’ve got to play better defense or we’re not going to compete with the better teams in the state," he said. "Once we got into the second half, they just dominated us physically. They just ran the ball up and down the field on us. They didn’t really even need to throw the ball. Once you get behind like that, it’s really difficult to come back."
Despite the first-round playoff loss, Shepherd said the Park City football program took another step toward a return to relevance this season.
"We did a lot of things well," he said. "We beat a couple really good teams in Stansbury and Bear River in our region. Those two games were big stepping stones for us."
Moving into next season, Shepherd said this year’s juniors will be hungry to make some noise in the 3AA North region and make a playoff run.
"They’re the first group that’s actually come through our program and not had any influence from anybody else," he said. "They’re excited to move on and be the leaders of the team next year."
In order to improve again next year, though, Shepherd said the offseason commitment needs to be even stronger.
"I really think we’re going to be better next year, and we should be," he said. "We’re still in the building process here. We have enough talent for that to be the case, though. It’s just going to depend on if everyone works hard and commits to the program. These kids need to get in the weight room and get stronger and more physical."
Park City finished the season with an overall record of 5-6. Hurricane (6-3) will play Tooele on Nov. 6 in the 3AA quarterfinals.
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