The Grand County football team took an early 14-0 lead and held the Enterprise offense down for most of the night on Friday, Oct. 9, as the Red Devils defeated the Wolves 28-14.
Senior Dalton McElhaney rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, while fellow senior Joseph Shumway added 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries to lead the Red Devil offense, which began its scoring in its second possession of the game on an 8-yard touchdown run from McElhaney. After the Grand defense forced a three-and-out, the Red Devils got the ball back and quickly scored again on another 8-yard touchdown run from McElhaney to give themselves a 14-0 lead.
The Wolves faked a field goal on fourth down early in the second quarter, but McElhaney snuffed it out. However, the Red Devils gave the ball back on an interception a few plays later. The Wolves again threatened to score, but on back-to-back plays from the 4-yard-line, Grand senior Brendan Bennett batted down potential Enterprise touchdown passes. The Red Devils tried to score again before half time, but ran out of time at the 34-yard-line.
In the third quarter, Bennett continued to be a presence, intercepting a pass to end Enterprise’s first drive of the second half. Enterprise again got the ball back on an interception of their own before the foes traded scoreless possessions the remainder of the quarter.
After Shumway intercepted a pass early in the fourth quarter, he added to Grand’s lead five plays later with a 14-yard touchdown run, putting the Red Devils up 21-0.
The Wolves wouldn’t go quietly into the night, however, responding with a 20-yard touchdown scramble from quarterback Brandell Shumway. Joseph Shumway caught the ensuing onside kick and took a knee, giving the Red Devils prime field position, which they took advantage of with a 35-yard run from Downard to once again go ahead by three scores at 28-7.
Enterprise used its passing game to get down the field quickly and score on a 10-yard pass just over a minute later, but weren’t able to get the ball again as Grand ran out the clock for the 28-14 victory.
McElhaney said that after back-to-back blowouts at the hands of San Juan and Beaver, the Red Devils came out more prepared an ready to play.
“Our defense came out and shut them down,” he said. “Our secondary has struggled in the past, but they played well tonight.”
Grand football coach Dennis Wells echoed McElhaney’s sentiments.
“We knew the two-game stretch with San Juan and Beaver was going to be tough – Beaver flat-out shut us down, but we came out ready to play tonight.”
“They’re a good passing team and what was good is we didn’t gave them any big pass plays,” he added. “We took away the run and put pressure on the quarterback to make him have trouble throwing the ball.”
The Grand win and the Enterprise loss puts both teams at 4-4, 2-2 in 2A South play. The Red Devils play their regular-season finale in Monroe versus South Sevier on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. The Rams are coming off a 21-20 win over North Sevier and possess a 1-7 record, 1-3 in 2A South play. The Wolves play a home game versus San Juan in their regular-season finale.
Both games have playoff implications for every team involved. A Grand victory and an Enterprise loss guarantees Beaver the No. 1 seed, San Juan the No. 2 seed, Grand the No. 3 seed and Enterprise the No. 4 seed. Victories by both Grand and Enterprise would result in a three-way tie for the No. 2 seed, which would be settled via coin toss, being the only possible way Grand earns a first-round bye. A victory by Enterprise and a loss by Grand gives Enterprise the No. 2 seed, San Juan the No. 3 seed, South Sevier the No. 4 seed, and Grand the No. 5 seed.
If both Grand and Enterprise lose, San Juan clinches the No. 2 seed and Grand, Enterprise and South Sevier end up tied for No. 3 seed. In that case, three coins would be flipped. The odd coin out on the first flip would determine the No. 3 seed, then a coin flip would determine which remaining team gets the No. 4 seed and which one gets the No. 5 seed.
The top two seeds in each region get first-round byes, while the No. 3 seeds host the No. 6 seeds from the opposite regions and the No. 4 seeds host the opposite region’s No. 5 seeds. The crossover play-in games take place on Friday, Oct. 23, followed by the quarterfinals at the No. 1 and No. 2 seed home fields on Friday, Oct. 30.
“We have to win this game,” Wells said of the regular-season finale versus South Sevier. “We should be able to go in there and handle them.”
Red Devils control playoff destiny in final week of regular season
“Our defense came out and shut them down. Our secondary has struggled in the past, but they played well tonight.”