Prep football season opener will rekindle Park City-Wasatch rivalry
Until 2013, Wasatch High School and Park City High School were rivals. That rivalry effectively ended when the Utah High School Activities Association changed the criteria for competitive zoning, moving Wasatch up to Class 4A. Since then, Park City has moved up to 4A, and Wasatch has moved up to 5A.
For Park City coach Josh Montzingo, the rivalry was before his time.
“I was told this was our main rival,” he said regarding the start of his tenure six years ago. “For us, lately, it’s been more South Summit, but that’s just because we played more often. And proximity comes into it. (Wasatch) are the next biggest town up here, and they are a bigger school than us, so it’s fun to be able to do that same thing with them as South Summit.”
Park City was eliminated in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs last season, losing 30-6 against Dixie High School and going 2-3 in Region 11. Wasatch was eliminated in the first round of the 5A playoffs in a 61-24 loss against Highland High School, and went 3-2 in Region 8.
Though it has been years since the teams have faced each other on the football field, Montzingo said the rivalry between Park City and Wasatch is still alive.
“They kind of get the rivalry,” he said of his players. “Last season the basketball team played Wasatch and the turnout for the game was high, and the energy was up, and I think the kids kind of got that this is a real rivalry.”
This year’s squad will put new players in a handful of key positions after losing several prominent players to graduation this year.
“The team is young,” Montzingo said. “We don’t have a large senior group. We don’t have a lot of starters returning, so we have to reload on both sides of the ball and some guys will have to grow up fast as far as experience is concerned. But I like our talent and I like how we compete. I think it will be fun as long as we stay healthy.”
Fans will recognize Mark McCurdy, who returns to the team after playing quarterback for most of last season. Montzingo said this year, McCurdy will be a receiver, cornerback and flex roles on special teams.
“He can do more if he’s not playing quarterback,” Montzingo said. “We’re going to play him all over the field.”
Jack Skidmore will likely be the Miners’ new quarterback after filling that role for the junior varsity team last season as a sophomore.
Former linebacker Penn Komisar is also expected to help lead the team on offense.
“He’s done a fantastic job of being around all summer – in the weight room, on the field – and does a great job of leading,” Montzingo said of Komisar. “He does a great job and communicates well on the team.”
The upcoming game at Wasatch will serve as the team’s first challenge of the season, one where Montzingo hopes to see the Miners’ strengths and weaknesses before their first home game on Aug. 24 against Logan.
“It’s definitely a good barometer of where you are going,” he said, adding that he hopes it will rekindle the rivalry. “We’re all looking forward to having some fun and seeing if we can go out there and defend Park City’s honor. It should be a good time.”
The Miners will be dressed in white as they take the field at Wasatch High School in Heber City, Friday at 7 p.m.
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Kathleen O’Connell, who makes her return to Nordic combined this weekend at the Continental Cup, is moving to Park City to pursue a career in Nordic combined.