Seniors give Miners’ offense a much-needed jolt
All 3 Park City touchdowns against Olympus were scored by seniors
When Park City needed points on Friday against Olympus, the Miners turned to their seniors.
Quarterback Chase Beyer threw two touchdown passes – one to senior Joseph Eldridge and one to senior Gavin Beichner – and senior Mason Grover led a Park City ground game that rushed for nearly 150 yards against the Titans in the 21-14 win.
“It’s awesome,” Beyer said. “I love making memories out here with my best friends. It’s awesome that we’re all in it together, and we’re putting results up. It’s awesome. It’s a great time.
“It means a lot,” Beyer added. “I mean, it’s just another football season, but at the end of the day, I’m out here with these guys just making memories and having fun. That’s all we can do. It’s awesome.”
After alternating with senior Maximilian Grizzell at the quarterback position the previous week against Highland in his first game back from injury, Beyer played the whole game against Olympus. He responded to last week’s struggles by putting together arguably his best game of the season. In addition to the two touchdown passes, Beyer completed 23 of his 34 passes for a season-high 222 yards and didn’t throw an interception.
“After having an injury like he did, sometimes you need to have one of those moments,” Park City coach Josh Montzingo said. “You’re going to have some ups and downs. Hopefully, this is what kind of propels him back to what he knows he can be.”
The Miners were thin offensively, with senior Brayden Beyer, junior Will McCurdy and senior Matthew DeMarco all out with injuries. Eldridge has been Park City’s go-to wide receiver all season regardless of who the quarterback is, and Beichner emerged as a weapon for Park City on Friday.
Eldridge led Park City in receptions (nine) and receiving yards (84) against Olympus, and his receiving touchdown in the second quarter put Park City on the board.
“It was great, it was great for sure,” Eldridge said. “I wish the defense wasn’t playing so soft on me. But, I mean, I got the ball, we made plays and we won. … It’s just unbelievable. It’s such a dream come true just playing with an amazing team like I keep saying.”
Eldridge has made more than his fair share of big catches for the Miners this season. Montzingo called Eldridge “a special player.”
“He just does a lot of things for us,” Montzingo said. “He makes us look good on offense out there sometimes. He’s a special guy. Long, rangy, great hands, pressure’s usually not too great for him. So, he does a great job.”
Beichner hadn’t caught more than one pass in a game this season entering the Olympus game, but he recorded seven receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown against the Titans. With the Miners down by seven late in the third quarter, Chase Beyer faked a handoff. That froze the Olympus defense long enough for him to lob a pass to Beichner in the middle of the end zone to tie the game at 14 after a successful extra point.
“That felt great,” Beichner said. “Felt great to actually put the team in place where we could actually win the game and get momentum going.”
Beichner didn’t play last season after suffering a torn ACL. He said doctors told him not to play football this year, but since it was his senior year, he decided to play anyway.
“Came back, I was like, ‘Senior year, why not?’” Beichner said. “Wanted to have fun, so it was really fun. Didn’t expect anything out of this season, but it’s been so good so far.”
“He missed his whole junior year with injuries,” Montzingo added. “Hoping that he could come back as a senior and to be able to come do it and then contribute in a major way, I think that’s special. It’s special for anyone.”
Grover spent the season splitting carries with Brayden Beyer, but the Miners needed him to have the lion’s share of rushes on Friday. Grover had 25 carries for 99 yards against the Titans, and both were season highs. The senior also punched in the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“This game, I think, is really a turning point between how I was playing and how I know that I can play,” Grover said. “I think it was good that I woke up, and I think the rest of it’s going to be great.”
Like Beichner, Grover missed practically the entire season last year after suffering an injury in Park City’s first game. The Miners will need more games from him like Friday’s moving forward.
“He’d been waiting to have that kind of breakout,” Montzingo said. “Just kind of having some good games here and there, but that was the one he needed tonight, it was great. Just a great thing for him to kind of go out there and show that he can do it. Kind of get his feet underneath him. Confidence for him going forward, I think it’ll be good.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.