South Summit football tops Park City High School in rivalry battle
Wildcats score 27 in final quarter to pull away from Miners
September 5, 2017
A rivalry was in full swing at Park City High School on Friday night.
Students from Park City flooded the stadium at Dozier Field an hour before kickoff, all dressed in black to match the new all-black uniforms the Miners were sporting for the rivalry game. South Summit High School fans were also out in force — sporting their trademark green and white — making the drive from Kamas to catch the early-season showdown.
"It was a great atmosphere," South Summit head coach Mike Grajek said. "The announcer does a great job with the music. Some players struggled to hear the play calling [at times]."
Park City, an option-focused team with a stout defense, and South Summit, a squad that likes to pour on as many points as possible, battled it out on the gridiron with just six points scored between them in the first half. The game was a hard-fought battle from the opening kickoff.
Behind 27 fourth-quarter points, however, the Wildcats were able to pull away to defeat their Summit County rivals, 33-15. Despite the pressure the Miners put on them for much of the contest, Grajek and company were confident in their game plan.
"Once we started to get a little momentum, the gates opened a little bit," Grajek said. "We're pretty simple. We just stayed to what we have. We feel like with the scheme that we have, we have answers; inside the tackle, outside the tackle, short passes, deep passes. We just stayed to what we were doing."
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South Summit was led by Kael Atkinson, who finished with three touchdowns through the air, while Jared Dansie helped put the game away with three touchdowns, including two in the final quarter of play. Keegan Stracher and Jackson Lassche rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats with a touchdown each.
On the Park City sideline, Mark McCurdy threw two touchdown passes in the second half; one to Tyler Shea from 20 yards out and the other to AJ Adrian from 46 yards.
McCurdy came into the game in the second quarter after Park City's starting quarterback and senior captain Beau Pederson went down with an injury. Pederson, a converted wide receiver came back into the game — both at quarterback and receiver — as both of the signal-callers had an impact in the game for the Miners.
"Both are exciting players," Park City head coach Josh Montzingo said. "They're dynamic and can make a play at any given moment. It was nice to have Beau's senior leadership out there at the position, and just the calm demeanor he brings to the offense. But at the same time, McCurdy's electric and he can make a lot of people look silly."
While the Park City offense struggled to score points, its defense more than held its own by holding South Summit to just six first-half points. To put that into perspective, the Wildcats scored 36 first-quarter points last week against Morgan.
"Our defense played great," Montzingo said. "They're a very aggressive unit. They fly around … [South Summit] had definitely planned for the fact that they were going to have to pull out a few tricks. Kudos to them. They executed very well. Well-coached. They did a great job."
To Montzingo's point, Park City did pose some problems early on for a South Summit offense that is used to running teams off the field early in contests, Grajek said.
"Park City is a good football team," Grajek said. "Very physical. They were inviting us to run into their big guys in the middle and their [defensive ends]. We didn't want to do that. We're not really a smash-mouth team."
Next up for South Summit is a date with Beaver, the team that ousted the Wildcats from the UHSAA 2A state playoffs last season. Grajek and company are hoping to get a little revenge come Friday night.
"This is No. 1 and No. 2 in 2A this week, so we'll find out where we're at," Grajek said.
Meanwhile, in Park City, the Miners will head back to the drawing board before attempting to get back into the win column on Friday night at Payson. Though the game against South Summit brought some positives, Montzingo knows his team has a long way to go.
"We're close, but yet we have a lot of work to do," Montzingo said. "If we're willing to put in the work, I think we can be a pretty great team. But at the end of the day, if we don't want to do the work and the little things that are entailed with being a great team, we're going to miss out on a big opportunity.
"I don't think they want to miss out. I think they can taste how close we are. We're three to four plays away, but we've got to make those plays. We can't just say what if."
Park City and Payson are scheduled to kick off at Payson at 7 p.m., while South Summit and Beaver will kick off from Kamas at the same time.
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