Senior Koi Cook finished a hurry-up drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and junior Koby Sobremesana booted the extra point through with six seconds remaining as the Red Devils escaped with a 7-6 come-from-behind non-region victory over Summit Academy on Friday, Oct. 4 in Bluffdale.
Down 6-0 with 2:36 remaining in the game, the Red Devils (6-1, 3-1 2A South) got the ball at their own 26-yard line. Cook, who was injured in the second quarter and only played defense in the third before returning to quarterback in the fourth, connected with senior Layton Call on a 7-yard pass before running six yards and getting out of bounds for the first down. After a sack, Cook found call again on second-and-10 for 6 yards, then found Sobremesana for 10 yards and a new set of downs. Cook ran 1 yard before going out of bounds on the next play, but an unnecessary roughness against the Bears gave Grand first down at the Bears 29. Cook ran 9 yards up the middle, then after a false start, sophomore Dalton McElhaney gained got out of bounds after two yards. Cook passed the ball to Call, who got out of bounds at the one-yard line, setting up Cook’s game-winning plunge.
“The seniors took over and we finally did what we had to do,” Red Devil football coach Dennis Wells said. “We challenged the line to step up on that last play; we took a chance on the quarterback sneak because we were out of timeouts, so if they would have stopped us, the game was over.”
The two teams entered the fourth quarter still tied at 0-0 before the Bears won the field-position battle and turned a drive starting at the Red Devil 31-yard line into a 39-yard field goal by junior Zach Stanford for the game’s first points. They got the ball at the 31 on a punt by junior Tanner White from inside his own end zone after the Red Devils started on the 14 and went backwards because of an illegal substitution penalty.
“If you leave a team like this in the game, they’re going to be tough to beat,” Wells said. ‘They were 0-6 going in, but they’ve been close in every game. Their coach told me they felt like they could win every game they’ve played except for when they played South Summit.”
The Bears nearly got on the board in the third quarter, facing third-and-goal from the 5-yard line before Red Devil senior Andy Bathemess intercepted the ball in the end zone. The Red Devils couldn’t muster an advantage from the turnover, punting four plays later.
“(The Bears) probably should have kicked the field goal on fourth down (earlier in the drive), but their quarterback talked the coach into going for it and they converted, but threw the pick to Bathemess a few plays later,” Wells said. “That was a huge play for us, maybe the difference in the game.”
Following the first Summit Academy field goal, the Red Devils went backwards on another three-and-out before punting. Sobremesana was called for unnecessary roughness on the punt return, hitting the ball carrier when he was already out of bounds and putting the Bears 15 yards closer at the Red Devil 39-yard line. The Bears were called for big penalties on the ensuing drive, but made big plays to offset them, an 18-yard run on first-and-20, a 13-yard run on fourth-and-2 and a 20-yard pass on third-and-25 to set themselves up for a 25-yard field goal from Stanford to go up 6-0.
The Red Devils squandered scoring opportunities after advancing inside the Bear 20-yard line in each of their four possessions in the first half, as Cook fumbled the snap deep in Bear territory the Red Devils’ first drive, the Red Devils turned the ball over on downs deep in Bear territory on their next drive, Sobremesana missed a field-goal attempt on the third drive and the clock ran out in the first half on the fourth drive.
The Bears also aided in keeping themselves off the scoreboard, having several big plays called back by penalties, including two long runs in the first half brought back on holding calls and the two illegal blocking penalties that forced them to settle for their second field goal.
“We lucked out because we actually had more penalties than them, but their penalties were on big plays,” Wells said. “It’s good to be lucky sometimes and we certainly were (on Friday).”
The Red Devils struggled with the Bears’ blitz as they sent extra rushers at the Red Devil ball-handlers all night to help contain Grand’s big-play capability.
“We’ve got to get back to basics on the line,” Wells said. “They were sending extra linebackers after us all night and our linemen didn’t pick it up very well.”
The Red Devils are scheduled to play host to region-foe in their final regular-season home game on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. The Rams (4-3, 2-3 2A South) are coming off a 35-0 win over North Sevier and a 24-12 win over South Sevier in the past two weeks.
“They’re playing decent and they’ll be ready to play, so we’ve got to show up ready to go,” Wells said.