Park City football seals region championship with 47-6 victory
With the outright Region 10 championship up for grabs Wednesday night in the Park City High School football team’s regular season finale, all it took was one play for the Miners to show the urgency warranted for the game.
On the Miners’ first defensive snap, while leading 6-0, senior linebacker Chase Johansen broke through the Cedar Valley offensive line and planted Aviators quarterback Jaxson Hooley in the ground. The legal tackle went for a loss of seven yards and knocked the signal-caller out for the rest of the game.
“We wanted to come out and make a statement because we knew what was at stake,” Johansen said. “Every game, we want to start fast and make a statement on the opening drive, and this time it just happened to be on the first play. After the offense scored first, we knew we had to match them.”
Park City punctuated that statement by defeating Cedar Valley 47-6 to earn the outright region championship, staying perfect on the year at 7-0 in league play and 10-0 overall.
“This was for sure a goal of ours, to win the region outright,” said Park City coach Josh Montzingo. “Last year we surprised some people and ended up sharing the title, so this year we wanted it by ourselves. … The boys put in the work during last spring, this summer and fall to make it happen.”
On Wednesday night, the Miners played arguably their best half of football in the first 24 minutes.
In the first quarter alone, Park City put up 26 points on offense while holding the Aviators to zero first downs and negative yards overall. The Miners then added 21 more points in the second quarter before Cedar Valley got on the board late in the half, giving Park City a 47-6 lead at the break.
“We weren’t really nervous for tonight, just ready to get out and play, and I think we did right away,” said Jack Skidmore, Park City’s quarterback. “Playing the way we did in the first half was really cool to see, just because it gives us more confidence going forward. But we still have larger goals and in order to get them, we need to clean some things up so we can still get better.”
Do-it-all weapon Mark McCurdy started the scoring with a rushing touchdown before adding a score through the air at the end of the first quarter. Skidmore and running backs Dylan Bauer and Franklin Paas also added rushing touchdowns in the first half, showing off Park City’s versatility on the offensive side of the ball.
The defense was equally impressive.
Johansen and fellow linebackers Brady Baumann and Ray Rivera combined to keep the Cedar Valley offense in check. They, along with the defensive line, practically lived in the Aviators backfield the entire half.
“Our defense has continued to shine throughout the whole year,” Montzingo said. “The work those guys have put in throughout the season, and the way they play for each other, it’s no wonder they’re performing as well as they are. They’re a tough unit when disciplined and right now, they’re showing that every week.”
Wednesday’s game was a microcosm of what has been one of the most dominant football seasons in Park City High School history.
The offense has been unstoppable in region play, averaging 47.8 points per game by showing off a blend of explosive plays and physicality.
With Bauer running behind an athletic and physical offensive line, and Skidmore constantly finding McCurdy or fellow pass-catchers Jake Kohn and McKnight Pedersen, the Park City offense is proving ready for the postseason.
The defense was more of a question mark coming into the season, but the Miners have shined as an athletic and nasty group that swarms ball carriers and forces turnovers.
In seven region games, Park City has twice held opponents scoreless while giving up an average of eight points per game. The Miners have yet to allow a team to score more than 16 points, and have trailed only once, while forcing multiple turnovers in every matchup.
“We have a complete team and tonight we really showed that in the first half,” Montzingo said. “This team is never satisfied and keeps fighting all the time, always wanting to get better. To be able to play well on both sides of the ball is a real testament to the boys because they truly want to play for one another. If the offense struggles, the defense takes it upon themselves to pick up the slack, and vice versa.”
This is Park City’s third region championship in the decade, and the first time they’ve gone back-to-back since winning five in a row from 2006-10. The Miners will now turn their attention to the Class 4A state playoffs, where they’re likely to earn the No. 1 overall seed and a bye in the first round.
“Tonight was great, and the region championship is awesome, but for us it’s still just wanting to be 1-0 every week,” Skidmore said. “We have much bigger goals and before we look ahead to the ‘hopefully’ final game of the season, we still have to take care of business each week. So now, we just want to continue what we’re doing but at the same time, know it’s a different atmosphere so we’ll be ready for it.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.