With senior night on Friday evening, Park City is celebrating the group that helped turn around the program
When Josh Montzingo took over as head coach of Park City High School four years ago, he knew he had something special with the then-freshmen class.
That scrawny group of boys would not only transform themselves into young men over the next four years, they would also continue the transformation of the football program, cementing its status as one the best in Utah’s Class 4A.
“There are so many things I can say about this group, first of which with them being super talented which never hurts,” Montzingo said. “They’ve played a lot of football together over the past 10 years, all the way from the youth to where they are now. This group never gives up and they don’t know what to do other than find a way to win.”
But their journey is now coming to a close as Park City has just three Region 10 games remaining in their regular season schedule.
This Friday night, the 20 senior Miners will be celebrated with a ceremony honoring their commitment to the program prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff against Ben Lomond, ranked No. 21 in the state and sitting as the only winless team in 4A on the seaosn.
“I could easily go through each senior individually and talk about what they’ve done for the program and what they mean to me and this team,” Montzingo said. “It’s not just lip service. … This group has all contributed in their own individual ways and is truly a part of what’s changed this program around. Friday night is a time to celebrate them and their accomplishments.”
The success of this group of seniors began when they were freshmen. They went undefeated during their freshmen football season and continued the success through their junior season, when last year, playing with another talented senior class, finished 9-4 and a berth in the state semifinals.
All the years of hard work are paying off now as the Miners are ranked No. 1 in the state RPI, sitting at 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the region. They’re coming off two wins over No. 5 Stansbury and No. 6 Mountain View the previous two weeks, in which Park City outscored them a combined 80-30.
“Right now, as it’s been the entire season but it truly is one game at a time,” Montzingo said. “That’s our focus, always has been and always will be. We’re playing really well, and I know it’s easy for the kids to want to think far ahead, but this group of seniors is really staying focused on the task at hand.”
According to Montzingo, it’s difficult to pinpoint certain seniors as being the stars of the team because they all contribute.
Quarterback Jake Skidmore, running back and Dylan Bauer and wide receiver Mark McCurdy lead the offense as a three-headed monster who have yet to be stopped.
The three of them combine to make up over 80% of the offensive production running the ball and total touchdowns scored while McCurdy has over half of the receiving yards.
Defensively, is where the senior class truly shines, led by starting linebackers Brady Baumann and Chase Johansen, and starting defensive linemen Carver Rodman and Grant Warner. Johansen and Baumann lead the team in tackles while Rodman and Warner have caused havoc in opponents’ backfield, combining for 15 tackles for loss.
Montzingo first got a look at this group when he worked at Ecker Hill Middle School and a lot of the boys where in the sixth grade. He was an assistant with the varsity program at the time but had heard about the early success of the group, so he began tracking their progress.
After realizing they were something special, Montzingo was hired as the new head coach, right when this group was entering high school.
“This group definitely means a bit more than the others because we’ve been together since I took over and since they started in the program,” Montzingo said. “I was curious how’d they do in high school after having so much early success at the youth leagues, but they’ve just continued winning. I knew they could achieve and do great things, and that’s what they’ve done, with hopefully more still to come.”
Apart from their commitment to one another, which Montzingo claims might be their greatest attribute; he believes that this senior class will leave a very special legacy. It’s one that not only picks up where the previous senior classes left off, but where the next senior classes will strive to go.
“They helped cement Park City being relative again, really helped put us back on the map,” Montzingo said. “This group put us back on top and in the conversation as a team to watch for in 4A. We weren’t in that conversation when they first started high school but they’ve helped bring back respectability and a new profile to the program that puts us in a much more favorable light.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.