Miners football team loses to Hurricane
For a while on Friday afternoon in Hurricane, it appeared as though the Park City High School football team had a chance to advance to the next round of the 3AA playoffs.
After one quarter of play, Park City held a 7-0 lead, thanks to a five-yard touchdown pass from Ian Moritz to Bjorn Borness. After two-straight Hurricane touchdowns, the Miners tied the score at 14 on a 72-yard pass from Spencer Zur to Josh Pelegrin.
But, after Hurricane extended its lead to 28-14 early in the third quarter, things quickly got out of hand for the Miners.
"It was a bizarre game," Park City coach Mike Shepherd said. "I thought we played our best game of the season and we were controlling the game, initially."
However, back-to-back mistakes took away any momentum the Miners had in what ultimately became a 49-28 season-ending loss.
"We had two-straight plays that really turned the table," Shepherd said. "We had a pass completed to Harrison Fugate and I thought he was going to run for the touchdown, but he got the ball stripped. They picked it up and ran it back 50 yards or so for a touchdown. That was a swing of 14 points.
"Then we fumbled the kickoff [after Hurricane’s first fumble-return touchdown] and they ran that in for a touchdown, too. It was shocking how quickly the game turned."
Though Moritz connected with Chandler Barkdull for two more touchdown passes in the second half, one from seven yards and one from 43 yards out, it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.
Despite the loss, Shepherd said he was proud of the way his team kept battling until the final whistle.
"We didn’t quit," he said. "We fought back and played hard. I’m proud of the kids. It’s always easy to give up, but our kids played hard in every game this season."
He highlighted the play of Moritz and Zur from Friday’s game as evidence of the team’s never-give-up attitude. Moritz, who has played primarily at running back this season, took on a quarterbacking role in a new set of plays on Friday.
"We put a wildcat formation into the mix with Ian at quarterback to spread the field," Shepherd said. "Ian played less than half the game at quarterback and Spencer played the rest. Both quarterbacks did a fantastic job. We threw for 300 yards in the game and had four touchdown passes."
However, with so much time spent on the defensive side of the ball, Shepherd said that unit was exhausted by the end of the game.
"Defenses get tired when they’re on the field too long," he said. "We just didn’t have an offense that could control the line of scrimmage and sustain drives. We’re learning to become a better team, but that takes time."
Next year, Shepherd has hopes that things will be much better for the Park City football program. After playing mostly underclassmen this season, he’s excited to see how much the young players improve over the offseason.
"Considering how young we are, the kids did the very best they could," he said. "But now, I think, they’ve been with us for two years now and they believe in our philosophy. Next year, you’re going to see a much, much improved football team."
Park City finished the season with an overall record of 2-9, with wins over Preston (Idaho) and Ben Lomond.
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