Park City’s next two games will go a long way in determining the outcome for the rest of the season
Park City High School football coach Josh Montzingo and the Miners are right where they want to be: ranked fourth in Class 4A and undefeated at 5-0 in the middle of the season.
“We are working really hard and practicing well,” Montzingo said. “You have to be happy with where we are at right now because we’ve achieved some good stuff. … It’s been fun to watch because if we can get all three phases dialed in, we can beat anyone.”
In the Miners’ non-region games, they took down 5A Wasatch, 3A Juan Diego and 6A West High School. The combined records of those opponents are 8-7 and they all currently sit in the upper half of their respective regions.
After Park City opened region play by outscoring Uintah and Ogden by a combined 106-14, the following two weeks will go a long ways into determining the outcome for the rest of the season.
“Consistency is important and it’s what separates us from other teams,” Montzingo said. “We know this week is Homecoming, so with all the hoopla going on outside of football, we’ve got to make sure we are focused. Same way we have to put last week’s game behind us, we have to put the homecoming stuff aside and know why we are out there on that field.”
The Miners now face Stansbury and then Mountain View, two other top teams in not just Region 10, but in Class 4. No. 5 in the state Stansbury, Park City’s opponent on Friday, is 3-2 overall and 2-0 in region play. Mountain View, which is undefeated at 5-0 and 2-0 in region play, will host the Miners on Friday, Sept. 27 as the No. 6 team in the state.
“It’s important for us from a psyche standpoint because all that confidence that we’ve gained; we have to make sure that continues to grow,” Montzingo said. “We want to be peaking at the right time and would hate to take a stumble at the end of the year. But at the same time, if you do stumble, now is the time to do it because the season’s not over.”
Park City has struggled with Stansbury mightily since its jump to 4A in 2011. The Miners are 1-8 against the Stallions overall, being outscored by an average of 39-15, including a 54-0 beatdown in the 2016 state playoffs and a 47-27 loss last season.
“They’re a great program and they’ve been in the top of the region for a long time,” Montzingo said. “We’ve been trying to pick them off for a while now but we didn’t do it last year. … It was not a good game for us at all. But Stansbury can match us in talent, in athleticism and are very well coached. … They’re a program that expects to win and knows how to win so we have to match that.”
Later in the year is exactly what Montzingo was hoping for because it gives his squad a chance to rely on their early experiences to win. According to him, playing such a tough non-region schedule was meant with the intention of finding an identity for games against teams like Stansbury and Mountain View.
“There’s a method to starting our season with such challenging games because no matter what, win or lose, our boys will know what it’s like to face some of the better teams in the state,” Montzingo said. “The lessons we learned in those early season games, about finding out what type of team we are, was meant for big-time region games and hopefully a long postseason run. I want my boys to know what it’s like to be against a wall instead of facing that for the first time in the postseason, this way we will be ready ahead of time.”
Mountain View will be totally different.
The Miners have not played the Bruins in a decade, with Stansbury and Park City joining Region 10 due to the UHSAA reclassification, where Mountain View was already a part of.
However, both teams do share common opponents with the Bruins’ first two region victories coming against Ogden and Uintah, both teams the Miners defeated as well. Mountain View won those games by a combined score of 86-2.
“Trying not to look ahead, I haven’t watched much of them but what I do know, they’ve got a great quarterback,” Montzingo said of Mountain View. “You talk to other coaches around the area and they all tell you that deuce (No. 2, Mountain View quarterback) is the real deal. He can run and he can throw. They’ve got some offensive weapons around him with some size. … They’ve competing at a high level and they also expect to win so it will be a real good test for us.”
While it’s not necessarily make or break time for the Miners, they do have larger goals ahead after reaching the state semifinals last year. The path to this season’s state championship game will be considerably easier if Park City can get by unscathed in the upcoming two weeks.
“We’ve got to keep worrying about every little detail and just keep fighting that fight every single day,” Montzingo said. “It’s as simple as to keep swinging the pick each and every day, staying focused on the small and immediate goals and hopefully after the hard work we’ve put in, that will continue to build and lead to the large goals.”
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This season, the Miners are led by a quartet of seniors who combine to shine on and off the court. According to head coach Matt Carlson, the seniors are the heartbeat of the team and have led the charge for Park City’s jump to Class 5A.