Grand County High School player Brayden Troutt ran with the ball during the Red Devils' home game with American Leadership Academy on Friday, Sept. 1. Troutt made seven tackles during the game, which the Red Devils won by a score of 31-9. [Photo by Murice D. Miller / Moab Sun News]

Grand’s Dakota Johnson scored a pair of touchdowns as the Red Devils collectively topped 300 rushing yards in a 31-9 home victory over American Leadership Academy on Friday, Sept. 1.

As a team, the Red Devils rushed for 305 yards, making adjustments in a chess match of sorts with the Eagles of ALA. Johnson led the Red Devils with 133 yards on 14 carries. Senior Josh Jones had 72 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, while also completing 3-of-9 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Senior Brayden Schultz had 59 yards on 15 carries, while also collecting an interception on defense.

Grand jumped out to a 14-0 lead after two quarters, scoring on touchdown runs from Jones in the first quarter and Johnson in the second quarter. Grand scored a third touchdown early in the third quarter to go up 21-0 shortly after ALA fumbled the second half’s opening kickoff.

“Offensively we did a really good job,” coach Dennis Wells said, noting that ALA was bigger than Monticello or Montezuma-Cortez, while also employing a different formation the Red Devils had to adjust to.

The Red Devils, however, did struggle with penalties and turnovers, especially in the third quarter. After scoring to begin the quarter, Grand subsequently had three fumbles, two of which were recovered by ALA.

After their second recovered fumble, ALA finally got on the board with a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, which made the score at the time 21-3. Johnson scored a rushing touchdown in response on a reverse play with a key block from Jones to put Grand up 28-3.

A 70-yard passing play exposed some inexperience as Grand put some younger players in, and ALA was able to score a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to pull to 28-9. Grand freshman Dante Wells booted a 41-yard field goal late in the game to extend the final to 31-9. Wells remains perfect on the season with 14 made extra points and two made field goals.

Defensively, Grand had another strong performance, led by Brayden Troutt, who had seven tackles. Jarett Reidhead and Jared Smith collected sacks and Schultz had an interception.

Wells praised the defense for shutting down a third-straight opponent, with the exception of the 70-yard pass that set up the Eagles’ only touchdown. Wells chocked that up to ALA lining up in a formation a couple of the backup players weren’t used to, taking advantage before Grand was able to adjust.

Overall, Wells said he was proud of Grand’s performance versus the Eagles. “(ALA) came to play and our guys took care of business,” he said.

Grand’s final test before region play comes in a road game at Millard this weekend. The Millard Eagles are off to a hot start, similar to that of the Red Devils. Millard is 3-0 and ranked fourth in 2A early on, while Grand, also 3-0, is ranked fifth. Wells said that Millard has strong position players and executes well on offense, both via pass and rush. He said their key play is the option, in which they differ from other teams Grand sees in that they set up the pitch man to run outside.

“We’re right where we want to be,” Wells said. “(Millard) is nowhere near as big as ALA so they’re going to do a lot of things differently. It’ll be a good test for us.”

Kickoff in Millard is set to take place Friday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m.

Red Devils continue stout defensive play

We’re right where we want to be. (Millard) is nowhere near as big as ALA so they’re going to do a lot of things differently. It’ll be a good test for us.