Miners football gets defensive in 20-0 rout of Logan in second round of state playoffs
When Park City defensive coordinator Cody Gardner addressed his team following the Miners’ second-round playoff game on Friday night, his message was very simple.
“I know I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but the one thing I do know is that zero is tough to beat,” he said.
He wasn’t wrong.
On the backs of a strong defensive effort, the top-ranked Miners held No. 16 Logan scoreless en route to a 20-0 victory at Dozier Field in their first Class 4A state playoff game after a first-round bye. With the win, the Miners will host next a quarterfinal game next Friday against No. 9 Snow Canyon.
“We knew it was going to be a good game because they aren’t your typical 16 seed, having lost a lot of close games in a tough region while getting better each week,” said head coach Josh Montzingo. “I can’t talk enough about the defense and the game plan (Gardner) had, really well coached and really well called. The guys were just phenomenally fit and executed perfectly the entire time.”
Logan entered the game feeling good about itself after putting up 62 points in its first-round victory over No. 17 Ogden. But the Miners snuffed out the Grizzlies’ good feeling with a defensive game plan that centered on physicality and speed.
“It feels good to come out and do what we needed to do tonight,” said Brady Baumann, a senior Park City linebacker. “Looking at their season, they had one of the toughest regions in 4A so going into this, we were prepared for what they do best, which is get the ball to their receivers. We knew who their guys were, we knew they had Division I athletes, so we just stayed true to us and did what we had to do.”
Logan’s offensive attack was centered on senior running back Kade Thornley and junior wide receivers Jaylen Sargent and Isaac Larsen. Combined, they entered Friday night accounting for 27 of the Grizzlies 33 touchdowns on the year, but were shut out thanks in part to Park City’s discipline.
With the Miners being the smaller team, they forced Logan to throw short of the sticks and relied on their ability to swarm the ball and make open-field tackles. The strategy worked, as Park City’s defense was not threatened the entire game, never allowing the Grizzlies into the redzone.
“This was huge for us, it lets us know that we are doing the right things,” said Chase Johansen, a senior Park City linebacker. “We trust that we are put into the right spots and it’s our job to execute, and that’s what we did all night.”
Offensively, it was a bit of a sluggish performance for the high-scoring Miners, who entered the game averaging 42.2 points on the year. Knowing Logan uses a lot of two-way players in the trenches, Montzingo attempted to wear down the Grizzlies by pounding the rock over and over again.
Talented running back Dylan Bauer did his best to make sure the strategy paid off.
Bauer not only scored twice, he beat up and bruised the Logan defense all game long. Using a combination of quick feet and power, Bauer continuously found open holes thanks to the blocking of the Miners’ offensive line.
“I got to give a lot of credit to my offensive line, because those guys just dominated all night long and opened up a lot of holes for me,” Bauer said in a postgame interview while laughing as left tackle Coco Lukrich hollered at him for a mention. “Tonight I don’t think we played as well as we could have, we still have a lot of things to work on and get better, but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
Wide receiver Mark McCurdy, who entered the game with a team-high 18 touchdowns, found himself double-covered by Sargent and Larsen for most of the game but was still able to have an impact. A couple of catches on third down continued Miners drives that were eventually converted into points.
“We have so many weapons on offense that we are very tough to stop, especially when we are playing well,” Bauer said. “It’s part of what makes us so difficult to stop because if you focus on one of us, we have others who will burn you.”
As Montzingo reminded his team after the game, the Miners are one more victory away from walking into Rice-Eccles Stadium for the semifinals, where Park City saw its season come to an end last year. But instead of looking ahead, Montzingo and the Miners are keeping true to what they’ve done all year long.
“Yes we won, yes it’s awesome, and yes, we are one more win away from Rice-Eccles,” Montzingo said. “But we don’t even think about that. … All we are focused on is going 1-0 next week. It’s the same thing we’ve done all year long, and it’s gotten us this far so no point in changing it now.”
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