The Red Devil football team got back on track Friday, Sept. 5, defeating Region 15 foe North Sevier 42-0 in Salina.
The Red Devils defense stifled the Wolves throughout the contest, dominating the line of scrimmage to stop the run and put pressure on quarterback Fisher Anderson, which led to numerous broken plays, including two interceptions by junior Brendan Bennett.
“We got a couple of kids back and it was huge for us,” Red Devil assistant football coach Ron Dolphin said. “Probably at the bigger schools, one kid doesn’t make a difference, but at the 2A level, get one or two kids back and it makes a huge difference.”
The Red Devil defense forced a three-and-out to begin the game, then moved the ball steadily down the field on offense. A big run by senior Koby Sobremesana, who didn’t play in Grand’s first two games, was called back because of holding, but Grand still eventually scored a touchdown to end the drive, on a 5-yard pass from senior Tanner White to junior Seth Holyoak.
“It was nice to have that speed back on the field,” Dolphin said, referring to Sobremesana. “When you’ve got one or two guys with speed, you can do a lot of things at the 2A level.”
After another defensive stop, Grand scored again right before the end of the first quarter on a run by Sobremesana, who also converted the extra point, putting Grand up 14-0.
The Red Devil offense was stymied by miscues most of the second quarter as North Sevier recovered a fumbled hand-off exchange between White and senior Ronnie Dolphin, leading to a missed field goal attempt. Sobremesana then broke free what would have been a 70-yard touchdown run, but another holding call took points off the board. Ronnie Dolphin fumbled the ball later in the drive and North Sevier recovered, snuffing out the scoring threat.
The defense again stepped up, however, sacking Anderson for a 22-yard loss before Bennett’s first interception, followed by a 30-yard return, set the Red Devils up to score, which they did two plays later on a 4-yard run by Ronnie Dolphin.
The Red Devils added another touchdown before halftime when White ran the ball into the end zone from 1 yard away, preceded by a 34-yard run by Ronnie Dolphin.
“Ronnie’s a gamer,” said Ron Dolphin, his father. “I like his attitude and dedication. Hopefully, more kids realize it’s about the next play, not about what just happened. It’s just like in life, where no matter what happens, you’ve got to keep moving forward. I love football and the lessons it teaches.”
Ron Dolphin said the Red Devils will be working on basic fundamentals in practice to correct some of the offensive miscues, admitting the team has been “mired in other things.”
After both teams turned the ball over on downs in their first drives of the second half, junior Joseph Shumway broke free for a long run, being stopped at the 3-yard line. White again took the ball the final yard into the end zone, putting the mercy rule into effect with a 35-0 Red Devil lead.
The Red Devils defense continued not to let up, getting two fourth-quarter takeaways, one on Bennett’s second interception, and another when sophomore Nolan Beeman recovered a North Sevier fumble. Holyoak found the end zone on the ground late in the game to put the Red Devils up 42-0 while a mix of starters and underclassmen worked defensively to preserve the shutout.
Ron Dolphin said the victory went a long way in correcting team morale.
“The win changed the attitude of the whole team,” he said. “They feel like ‘world leaders’ again. It’s really nice to see.”
The Red Devils return home for a Region 15 contest versus the South Sevier Rams, who are 1-2 on the season coming off of a 47-0 loss to San Juan. The Red Devils beat South Sevier twice in 2013, defeating them 23-6 in Monroe on Sept. 13, 2013 before holding on in Moab for a 27-20 victory in the state quarterfinals on Nov. 1, 2013.
Ron Dolphin said the Rams are a powerful, no-flash team that’s solid up front on both sides of the ball, with a grind-it-out style of play.
“If we create pressure, stay home and keep the quarterback contained, I think we’ll be successful,” Ron Dolphin said. “Their quarterback likes to bootleg so it’s critical that our ‘Will’ linebacker stays home and doesn’t crash inside.”
Kickoff for Grand versus South Sevier is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 at Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East.
We got a couple of kids back and it was huge for us. Probably at the bigger schools, one kid doesn’t make a difference, but at the 2A level, get one or two kids back and it makes a huge difference.
Defense puts the pressure on in shutout effort
What: Red Devil Football versus South Sevier
When: Friday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.
Where: Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East.