Red Devil senior running back Ronnie Dolphin carries the ball during Grand's 34-29 loss to South Sevier on Friday, Sept. 12 in Moab. [Photo by Tim Chappell / Moab Sun News]

After trailing by three touchdowns heading into the final quarter of play, the Grand County High School football team staged a furious comeback attempt, falling just short by a score of 34-29 against the South Sevier Rams on Friday, Sept. 12 in Moab.

The Red Devils found themselves down 28-7 after South Sevier senior quarterback Trevor Jones connected with senior tight end Brock Bastian on a 9-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter, Jones’ third touchdown throw and Bastian’s second touchdown catch, as the Red Devil secondary struggled with assignments much of the night, Grand football coach Dennis Wells said.

“(Jones) is a good player,” Wells said. “He scrambles around and buys time for his receivers to get open. I told our guys they’ve got to stay on their receivers until the whistle blows instead of getting caught up with what’s going on in the backfield. We’re going to work on that this week in practice.”

After turning the ball over own downs the first play of the fourth quarter, the Red Devils got the ball back on a fumbled snap by the Rams, which was recovered by junior Brandon Secrest. Eleven plays later, Grand’s scoring rally began, with a 10-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Tanner White. After the Rams were penalized twice while aggressively trying to block the extra-point attempt, White ran the ball in for a successful two-point conversion, cutting the score to 28-15.

The Red Devils tried an onside kick following the score and White recovered the ball near the Grand sideline, but the Rams called timeout right before the kick, nullifying the outcome.

The Rams recovered the second onside kick, but went backwards on the ensuing drive, ending when their punter dropped the snap then threw an incomplete pass on fourth down at the 22-yard line. Grand capitalized two plays later on a 12-yard pass from White to senior Koby Sobremesana, cutting the deficit to 28-22.

After South Sevier recovered Grand’s onside kick attempt, senior running back Avery Healey broke free for a 58-yard score, followed by a failed two-point conversion attempt, extending the Rams’ lead to 34-22 with 3:33 to go in regulation.

“The good thing about that touchdown is it only took about 10 seconds off the clock,” Wells said. “We thought to ourselves, ‘we’ve just got to gown down, score, and get an onside kick, which is exactly what we did.”

Grand overcame two big plays being erased by penalties and found the end zone with 53.2 seconds remaining on a two-yard run from White to pull to 34-29.

Wells said the Red Devils struggled with being penalized at inopportune times.

“Not only do the penalties take you back and make it harder for your offense, they also take time off the clock,” he said.

The Red Devils recovered the onside kick following the score, but after using their final timeout, failed on two ensuing pass plays to get out of bounds and stop the clock. The clock ran out with the Red Devils less than 10 yards away from the end zone, and the Rams escaped with the win.

“I’m not disappointed,” Wells said. “I wish we could have won … They didn’t give up; they worked their butts off to get back in the game.”

Wells said some of the South Sevier parents were upset with the officiating and caused a scene with the officials following the game.

“Some of the parents thought the Rams were getting screwed, but a lot of our fans thought we were the ones getting screwed,” Wells said. “The officiating seemed to me like it went both ways.”

In the loss, White finished with 17 carries for 73 yards and three touchdowns, while also completing 17 of 33 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown, most of which came in the fourth quarter. Sobremesana had eight carries for 37 yards and caught eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Junior Joseph Shumway six catches for 133 yards.

Defensively, senior Ronnie Dolphin led the Red Devils with 15 tackles, while junior Seth Holyoak had 10, White had nine and Secrest had six.

The Red Devils are next scheduled to play host to Beaver. Grand lost to the Beavers 12-7 on Sept. 20, 2013 in Beaver. The Beavers are 3-1 so far this season, coming off of a 56-19 non-region loss to defending state champion South Summit on Friday, Sept. 12.

“Beaver and South Sevier are a lot alike; Beaver is a little bit better than South Sevier,” Wells said, “Like South Sevier, they’re good at passing the ball; got a good quarterback. They differ from the Rams in that they run a lot of misdirection plays on offense while South Sevier tries to pound it right at you. Beaver is well-coached and executes its offense well.”

The Red Devils and Beavers are scheduled to square off in Moab on Friday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.

Furious fourth quarter falls short for Grand

What: Red Devil football versus Beaver

When: Friday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.

Where: Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East

I’m not disappointed. I wish we could have won … They didn’t give up; they worked their butts off to get back in the game.