South Summit football holds off Park City
September 6, 2016
In football, having a home-field advantage usually means a team's fans are really loud, making it difficult for opponents to hear play calls or the snap count.
However, in Kamas on Friday night, the South Summit High School football team's home-field advantage went above and beyond that.
After the Wildcats fumbled and Park City recovered with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, the Miners were in good field position and trailed by only three points — 31-28.
As soon as the Park City offense came out to run its first play, though, the skies opened up and a driving rain — among the heaviest precipitation to hit the Summit County area this summer — soaked the Miners as they tried to either score a game-winning touchdown or kick a game-tying field goal.
Park City managed to drive deep into South Summit territory, but the wet footballs made catching passes difficult and forced the Miners to settle for a game-tying field goal attempt, which the Wildcats blocked to preserve the 31-28 victory.
"It was the worst time for rain, unfortunately," Park City Coach Josh Montzingo said. "I would have liked to have seen what would have happened without the rain, but Mother Nature had other plans tonight."
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"I'm just happy we weren't the ones coming from behind when the rain was coming down," South Summit quarterback Nick Beasley laughed. "That was nice."
Park City scored the game's first points on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Spencer Zur to receiver Beau Pederson. South Summit quickly answered with a 26-yard strike from Beasley to receiver Brandon Dansie to cut the Miners' lead to 7-6.
Beasley and Dansie connected again on the next Wildcat possession, this time from 31 yards out, to take a 14-7 lead. Kicker Trey Hatch hit a 33-yard field goal late in the second quarter to give South Summit a 17-7 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, Beasley hit receiver Keegan Stratcher for an 18-yard touchdown to extend the Wildcats' lead to 24-7.
That's when the Park City comeback attempt started. Zur plowed into the end zone from three yards out to cut the deficit to 24-14 and then Connor Keizer scored on a one-yard run to bring the Miners within three, 24-21.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Beasley and Stratcher connected for another touchdown, this one from 32 yards out to give the Wildcats a 31-21 cushion. Park City closed the gap to 31-28 following a six-yard pass from Zur to Pederson before the late comeback attempt came up short.
Despite the disappointing loss, Montzingo said he was proud of the way the Miners played in the second half.
"They fight," he said. "They're competitors and they don't give up. There's no quit in them. We were down quite a few men tonight, but they just kept stepping up."
South Summit (3-0) has beaten a top 2A team, a 3A squad and the 3AA Miners so far this year. Beasley said beating a Summit County rival is always a treat, but he stressed the importance of enjoying every victory.
"It's always special to win," he said. "A lot of times, it gets taken for granted and you don't remember how sweet it is to win. We'll celebrate this win and then get on to the next team."
Beasley, a senior, has been relied on to lead the South Summit offense this season, something he didn't have to do as much in years past. He said he's lucky to have such dynamic receivers helping him along the way.
"Every year, we have weapons," he said. "It's just that, this year, they're everywhere. There's not just one threat. Parker [Grajek] caught three touchdown passes in our first game and now, in this game, Brandon catches two. It's fun to know that everywhere we go, we have a weapon."
Beasley also made a point to recognize his offensive line. He said he wouldn't have been able to throw four touchdown passes without the protection his linemen gave him all night.
"I don't remember getting hit one time the entire game," he said. "There was one play where we called a pass out to the right side and I looked out and it was covered, so I tucked it and turned to my left and started scrambling and then dumped it off to Keegan. I was in the backfield for six or seven seconds, though, so that was great. Having that line — they're definitely a weapon as well."
South Summit will try to remain unbeaten this week when the Wildcats travel to South Sevier. Meanwhile, Park City (2-1) will return home to host 3AA North foe Ben Lomond.
Montzingo said he hopes to have a full squad for Friday night's important division matchup.
"We just have to go and get healthy," he said. "Without that, it'll make it much harder for us. We know now what we can and can't do and we'll be a better team for it."
Park City's game against the Scots is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Dozier Field. The Wildcats will begin play at South Sevier at 7 p.m. as well.
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