Grand County football players watch the descent of the helicopter carrying Kerby Smith, No. 44 from the GCHS' 2005 state champion team. The 2005 football team rallied together in Smith's honor as he battled leukemia. Smith presented Sam Woodruff's jersey, No. 66, which is to be retired. Woodruff, a sophomore, died a few days before the school year began. From left to right: No. 57 Justin Cresswell, No. 63 Brandon Secrest, No. 51 Austin Day, No. 26 Cameron Taylor, No. 10 Koi Cook, No. 73 Edgar Gomez, and No. 74 David Bentley. [Jamie Day / Moab Sun News]

The Red Devils continued their dominance at home this season, defeating the Parowan Rams 43-14 on Friday, Oct. 11 behind three touchdown passes and a touchdown run from senior Koi Cook and a pair of touchdown runs from senior Cameron Taylor to finish their home slate undefeated and clinch a postseason home game.

Cook threw each of his three touchdown passes in the first half as the Red Devils raced out to a 29-7 halftime advantage. He connected with sophomore Dalton McElhaney on a 56-yard strike on Grand’s third offensive play and found junior Tanner White for a 35-yard score later in the first quarter. Junior Koby Sobremesana missed the point-after following the first strike and junior Ronnie Dolphin ran the ball in for a two-point conversion on the second. Parowan recovered a Cook fumble in the drive between the scores, but couldn’t capitalize, going three and out.

After a 17-yard run from Ram senior Jake Topham cut the Grand lead to 14-7, Taylor scored from five yards out and Cook followed with a two-point conversion run as the Red Devils forged ahead 22-7. Grand and Parowan traded turnovers on an interception by Dolphin and a Ram recovery following a Taylor fumble before Cook found senior Wade Kemmsies in the back of the end zone from five yards out right three seconds before intermission. Sobremesana tacked on the extra point for the 29-7 lead.

The Red Devils put the mercy rule into effect with 3:24 left in the third quarter by scoring on their first two drives of the second half on 1-yard runs from Taylor and Cook to go up 43-7. White recovered two Parowan fumbles in the third quarter and Cook intercepted a pass in the fourth to give Grand a 4-2 advantage in turnovers.

The Rams scored in the fourth quarter on a 65-yard pass from senior Caleb Murphy to junior Justice Walker for the final score of the game.

Grand (7-1, 4-1 2A South) clinched at least third place in the final region standings with one game remaining, a road game with archrival San Juan (5-3, 3-2,) on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m., in which the winner finishes second in 2A South, earning a bye into the quarterfinals, and the loser hosts a 2A play-in game. Beaver (7-1, 5-0) clinched the 2A South title with a 53-7 victory over South Sevier on Friday, Oct. 11.

Red Devil football coach Dennis Wells said he was pleased with passing game against Parowan. He said Grand must continue its aerial success against the Broncos

“The passing game looked good tonight,” he said. “Koi did a good job throwing the football… We’ve got to mix it up against San Juan with a balanced offense of run and pass.”

The Red Devils will look to carry over to the road the way they play at home when they head south to Blanding. The Red Devils are 5-0 at home, scoring at least 42 points in each game, but they’re 2-1 on the road with scoring outputs of 6, 23 and 7 points. San Juan is also hitting its stride with decisive victories over Enterprise and Gunnison over the past two weeks since losing to Beaver.

“We’ve got to shore up some holes on defense,” Wells said. “San Juan is playing good football and we’re still finding ourselves. We’re getting closer to getting (senior quarterback Jacob Francis) back, hopefully by the playoffs, which is another reason we want this first-round bye.”

Wells said the Red Devils will be treating this game differently than previous road games as the short trip and day off from school allows them to do their pregame routine at home before boarding the bus. Grand will have even more incentive to win as South Summit, the clear No. 1 team in 2A all season, suffered an upset loss to North Summit, potentially costing them the 2A North title and changing the likely playoff bracket. A Grand victory over San Juan would likely mean the Red Devils wouldn’t run into South Summit until the state title game, but a loss would put them on track for a quarterfinal match against the Wildcats in Kamas.

Senior Layton Call said the Red Devils have more reason than ever to beat the Broncos.

“I think we’ve lost our focus a little bit during the bus rides on the way to road games this season, but we know what’s at stake this week and I think we’ll come out fired up and ready to play.”