Park City’s defense makes a statement in win over Wasatch |

Park City’s defense makes a statement in win over Wasatch

Miners limit Wasps to 10 points, hold off rivals for win

Park City’s defense couldn’t have asked for a better start to the football season.

On the first snap of the game on Friday, as Wasatch attempted to complete a pass, the pocket collapsed immediately. Park City senior Jack Ronan was the first to the quarterback and made the tackle for the sack. On the next play, junior Blake Tabaracci and senior Miles Preston combined for a tackle for a loss. Wasatch’s first drive lasted three plays before punting.

Senior quarterback Chase Beyer scored two rushing touchdowns to go with a long touchdown pass, and the Miners traveled to Heber City and shut down the Wasatch offense to come away with a 31-10 victory over their rivals in Park City’s first game of the season.

“Our defense was dominant tonight,” Ronan said. “I think it really did punch them in the mouth. I mean, we had one little screw-up, and we let up a touchdown. But other than that, our defense was lights out. Really proud of them.”

The Miners’ experienced defense swarmed Wasatch’s offense all night long. Wasatch’s 10 points all came in the first half after a Park City fumble and a turnover on downs. Park City created constant havoc on defense, either relentlessly pressuring the quarterback or stifling the run game. Park City coach Josh Montzingo said the Miners have adjusted their defense to using two safeties this year instead of one, and it worked for Park City on Friday. A 44-yard touchdown pass for Wasatch was the lone blemish for the Miners defensively.

“We made them one-dimensional,” Montzingo said. “They were going to have to try and play their dink-and-dunk passing game. They weren’t going to go running on us very much. … We had a breakdown in a coverage assignment and gave up the one bomb, but other than that, I felt very comfortable with the way we played on defense. The kids did amazing. I’m so proud of them.”

Offensively, the Miners struggled in the first half, but senior Joseph Eldridge gave Park City a spark in the second quarter. Eldridge made a circus catch over the middle on a critical third down and hauled in a deep pass a few plays later to set up a rushing touchdown for Beyer.

Coming out of halftime, Beyer and Eldridge helped give Park City the lead again. Beyer tossed a deep pass to Eldridge, who hauled it in and shook off a trailing defender for the touchdown. Beyer recovered from a tough first half that included tossing an interception to help lead the Miners to a win.

“He didn’t have to break stride – Chase put that right on him,” Montzingo said. “(Beyer) bounced right back from a mistake that he wasn’t happy with earlier. Came right back, no big deal. Been here, seen this before and put it out there, strike. And Joseph finished the deal. It was awesome.”

Park City’s defense held again, as senior Chandler Kelsch registered his second sack of the game on a third down to force another punt. The Miners played excellent defense throughout Friday night’s game, and they dominated on third downs. Wasatch struggled to sustain drives, and Park City came up with timely plays on third downs to get its offense back on the field.

“I feel like our third-down defense is the best defensive play we have,” Kelsch said. “We just all want to get off the field and give the offense a chance. It’s unstoppable when we play good.”

The defense also bought enough time for the offense to find its groove. Beyer capped off a marathon drive in the third quarter with his second rushing touchdown of the game to give Park City a 19-10 lead after an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt.

The Miners came up with another key stop late in the third quarter when Ronan tallied his second sack of the game on a fourth and long in Park City territory. Park City put the game away on the ensuing drive when senior Brayden Beyer punched it in for the score. Senior Mason Grover added another touchdown to complete the scoring. After sputtering in the first half, the Miners scored touchdowns on all four of their possessions in the final two quarters while keeping Wasatch off the scoreboard. A victory on Friday was a priority for Park City’s seniors after two consecutive losses to their rival.

“It’s kind of (a) breath of fresh air, honestly,” Kelsch said. “Because they beat us the last two years, it feels good. It feels good to win.”

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