PCHS football earns big home win
September 22, 2015
The Park City High School football team’s hopes for a good season were on the ropes when Bear River came to town on Friday night. Following losses to South Summit and Ben Lomond, momentum from the Miners’ 2-0 start was gone.
Needing a victory to keep hope alive, the Miners did exactly what they needed to do at home, picking up a big 28-6 win over a 3AA North foe.
The Park City offense got off to a fast start, scoring on the game’s first possession when quarterback Spencer Zur connected with Cameron Maddux on a 19-yard out route. Later in the first quarter, after Eli Alford recovered a Bear River fumble, Zur hit Beau Pederson for a 35-yard touchdown to extend the Miners’ lead to 14-0.
On Bear River’s final drive before halftime, where Park City has had problems the last couple of seasons, the Miners’ defense held strong, forcing a turnover on downs and sending Park City into the intermission with a 14-0 advantage.
Bear River cut Park City’s lead to 14-6 early in the third quarter before Zur found his twin brother, Collin, for a 27-yard touchdown to give the Miners a 21-6 lead. With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Jackson Burton added the final score on a six-yard run.
Park City Coach Mike Shepherd said the effort he saw from his team on Friday night was just what he was looking for.
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"This was a huge win for us," he said. "We really dug ourselves in a hole with last week’s game, so we really needed this win badly, to be quite honest. I’m really proud of our kids. They came out and played very hard tonight. We were physical, we executed well — aside from some ridiculous penalty calls — and I thought we played a great game."
Spencer Zur said the entire team shared its coach’s mentality.
"It was a must-win," he said. "We had to turn everything around. We haven’t executed the last two weeks and lost to two teams I think we should have beaten. We executed today. There were mistakes. We need to cut back on penalties, but I was telling one of our guys that if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we can beat anybody."
Bear River struggled in pass coverage, particularly against out routes, which Zur had a lot of success with on Friday night. He said he kept throwing the out route because the Bears didn’t take it away.
"They were manned up, so anything that’s going away from the coverage is what we wanted," he said. "They didn’t adjust to it, so good for us."
"We’ve used similar routes all season," Shepherd added. "We have great receivers — they’re tall and they can run. Spencer throws a great ball, too. In high school, oftentimes those cornerbacks are the smallest players on the field, so we have a good matchup on some of our out routes."
The absence of running back Grayson Maddux, who is recovering from a knee injury, was noticeable on Friday night as the Miners struggled to get anything going in the running game. But, even if Maddux had played, Shepherd said Park City still would have been pass-heavy.
"The main issue was they were bringing six guys and we only have five linemen," he said. "They’re blitzing two or three linebackers on every play. That’s one of the reasons the pass routes worked. It’s one of those things where you try to take what they’re going to give you. We do like to run if we can, just to keep them honest, but that’s OK if they’re going to stop the run. If they can’t stop the pass, we’re going to throw the ball."
Defensively, Shepherd said Park City had one of its best efforts of the season.
"Our front four, they were very physical tonight," he said. "We knew exactly what they were going to do and, aside from a few plays here and there, we did an unbelievable job."
"The last couple weeks, they’ve struggled, but they picked it up this week," Zur added. "I thought we were going to pitch the shutout, but their running back had a good scamper. I’m OK with that, though — if we can let up only six points every game, we’ll be fine."
This week, Park City (3-2) hosts Stansbury (4-1) in a 3AA North showdown. Shepherd said he hopes Friday’s big win leads to a great week of practice.
"I hope the kids had enough fun tonight so they won’t soon forget and will be self-motivated from it," he said. "It comes from within. Hopefully, they’re going to be as intense next week as they were this week."
Friday night’s homecoming game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Dozier Field.