Grand senior Dalton McElhaney rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and the Red Devil defense stuffed American Leadership Academy’s offense for three quarters en route to a 28-14 Red Devil victory on Friday, Sept. 4, in Moab.
As a team, the Red Devils rushed for 330 yards on 38 attempts, many of which were long runs by McElhaney from the quarterback position. He had touchdown runs of 17 yards and 19 yards, both of which came in the first quarter. Several other Red Devils got in on the action as junior Nolan Beeman tallied 49 yards on six carries, sophomore Nick Downard notched 40 yards and two touchdowns on five carries, and senior Joseph Shumway accumulated 39 yards on seven carries.
“Dalton does a good job back there,” coach Dennis Wells said. “He’s a powerful runner so he’s hard to bring down, plus he’s got some speed.”
The Red Devils also had their way on the defensive side of the field as the Eagles’ first first-down conversion that didn’t come on a fourth-down attempt came with 2:45 left in the third quarter; the Eagles only converted for seven first downs in the game. Senior Seth Holyoak anchored the Grand defense with 19 tackles, followed by Downard with 14.
“I was really excited for our defense to step up,” Wells said. “Our goal was to take away their three best plays and for the most part, we were able to do that.”
The Red Devils jumped out to a 28-0 lead through three quarters after McElhaney scored two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter and Downard added a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. ALA was finally able to sustain offense late in the third quarter, converting a pair of first downs before luck found them in the right place at the right time. The Eagles were faced with fourth-and-16 early in the fourth quarter and ALA quarterback Dallen Short heaved a pass down the sideline, which was tipped by a Red Devil defender before landing in an Eagle receiver’s hands for a 24-yard gain. The Eagles converted on another fourth down four plays later and capped off the long drive with a nine-yard run from Short to get on the scoreboard at 28-7 with 6:36 to go in the game.
Short added a 48-yard touchdown run on fourth and long with less than a minute remaining for the final outcome of 28-14.
The Red Devils now have a 1-2 record with one more non-region game before region play begins. Grand is scheduled to square off against the Gunnison Bulldogs in Gunnison on Friday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs also have a 1-2 record, having beaten Wayne 43-8 in their season opener before losing 24-21 to North Sevier and 42-12 to Kanab. The Red Devils will be aided by the addition of several upperclassmen who joined the team after the season began.
“(The new players) help with our depth, and (since they’re juniors and seniors), we’re not giving up as much when we give our starters a breather,” Wells said.
Wells said that Grand’s outlook has improved since the season began and the Red Devils will continue to work on themselves in an effort to keep getting better as region play approaches.
“I believe we can hang with anyone,” he said.
Red Devils get their first victory of the season
I was really excited for our defense to step up. Our goal was to take away their three best plays and for the most part, we were able to do that.