Seniors Cameron Taylor and Koi Cook combined for 346 rushing yards and five touchdowns to lead the Red Devils to a 42-14 victory over Enterprise on Friday, Sept. 27 in Moab.
The Red Devils (5-1, 3-1 2A South) rushed for 402 yards as a team. Taylor earned 174 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, while Cook wasn’t far behind with 172 and two scores on 19 carries. Taylor got 60 of his yards on his first carry of the game as he broke free on 3rd-and-7 from the 40-yard line and sprinted down the right sideline to put the Red Devils up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
The Wolves (4-2, 2-1) responded with a scoring drive of their own, highlighted by a 39-yard quick-slant catch and run from Brandell Shumway to Ricky Ramos, and capped off by and 8-yard pass from Shumway to Dallin Holt, who wriggled free in the back of the end zone and jumped to snag the high pass to tie the game at 7-7.
The Red Devils used 11 plays to move the ball from their own 25-yard line to the Wolves’ 10 before turning the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive, but the defense got them the ball right back on a three-and-out and Cook connected with junior Tanner White on a 20-yard touchdown pass four plays later to give Grand a 14-7 lead. After Grand forced another three-and-out, White and Cook switched roles on a 48-yard strike, followed two plays later by a 7-yard scoring run from Taylor, giving the Red Devils a 21-7 lead.
After trading three-and-outs, Kelton Hunt broke free up the middle for a 40-yard score to cut the deficit to 21-14.
Red Devils football coach Dennis Wells said he was proud of Grand’s defensive performance.
“I was impressed with the defense except for two plays, that quick slant and the one big run up the middle,” he said. “Take those two big plays away and the had less than 100 yards of offense.”
Senior Edgar Gomez led the way defensively with eight tackles and a sack. Cook pitched in with seven tackles and senior David Bentley added six. Senior Austin Day and junior Ronnie Dolphin also had sacks for Grand County. The Red Devils defensed three passes and intercepted another on their way to holding the Wolves to 91 yards on 4-of-16 passing.
The Red Devils were marching to extend the advantage back to 14 points before having big gains erased by penalties on back-to-back plays, an 18-yard run from Taylor on 3rd-and 6 brought back by a clipping penalty and a 22-yard screen pass from Cook to Taylor on 3rd-and-11 brought back by a holding call. The Red Devils earned 14 yards on 3rd-and-16 on a pass from Cook to Taylor, then Taylor rushed 9 yards to convert 4th-and 2, but the Red Devils turned the ball over on downs four plays later and went into the break with a 21-14 lead.
Penalties at critical point in the game doomed the Red Devils the week before against Beaver, but Taylor said thoughts of ‘here we go again’ didn’t enter their minds.
“I knew we still had it,” he said. “But it was definitely frustrating.”
After neither team mustered significant offense more the majority of the third quarter, the Red Devils got the ball moving again on a string of medium runs before Cook raced for 30 yards to set up goal-to-go at the 7-yard line. Cook punched it in two plays later to put the Red Devils up 28-14 with 11:55 left in the contest.
An interception by junior Koby Sobremesana brought the Wolves’ next drive to a halt before Grand played the field-position game with a rare punt from inside opponent territory, which paid off when the Red Devils stuffed the Enterprise offense and Taylor returned the ensuing punt to the 7-yard line. Cook took it the rest of the way two plays later, putting Grand up 35-14. Taylor added a 23-yard score the first play of the next drive after a turnover on downs by the Wolves to round out the score at 42-14.
Cook said the Red Devils were flat in the first half, but came into the second fired up.
“We buckled down and got our act together,” he said. “We started playing some football.”
Cook, who completed 9-of-12 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, said the transition to playing quarterback while senior Jacob Francis is out with a broken leg wasn’t a hard one.
“Jacob and I always compete with each other in practice and make each other better,” he said. “He’s a really good teammate and helps me be the best I can be.”
Beaver (5-1, 3-0) defeated San Juan 32-7 to maintain control of their own destiny and keep Grand in second place in 2A South play. Their remaining games are against North Sevier, South Sevier and Enterprise.
The Red Devils are scheduled to play at Summit Academy at 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4. The game is scheduled to take place in the afternoon because Summit Academy doesn’t have lights on its field.
Taylor said the Red Devils won’t carry much forward from this win
“We’re not really going to take anything from this win,” he said. “We let our big wins early in the season get in our heads too much and that led to us losing to Beaver.”