The Grand County High School football team used a 20-point second quarter to pull away from the Millard Eagles on Friday, Sept. 8, finishing their non-region slate an undefeated 4-0.
Senior Brayden Schultz had three rushing touchdowns, while senior quarterback Josh Jones added two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown. The Eagles forced Grand to employ a more balanced offense than the Red Devils are used to by loading up to stop the run. As a result, Jones was 7-of-13 passing for 148 yards. As a team, Grand rushed for 156 yards.
“They forced us to pass more as they put eight or nine guys in the box to shut down our running game,” Grand football coach Dennis Wells said. “It’s nice to be able to do what we had to do to move the ball on offense.”
Grand had only a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter after a 4-yard touchdown run from Jones on the higher-ranked Eagles, who entered the game ranked No. 4 with an identical 3-0 record to the Red Devils, who were ranked No. 5. In the second quarter, the Red Devils got a pair of rushing scores from Schultz, a 1-yarder and a 5-yarder, as well as a 70-yard pass from Jones to Dakota Johnson, to score 20 points and claim a 27-0 lead at halftime. Freshman kicker Dante Wells missed for the first time this season on a point-after shortly before halftime.
In the third quarter, Schultz turned a bungled hand-off into a rushing score as he picked up the fumbled exchange from Jones to himself and ran it around the end 27 yards into the end zone. Following the score, Grand went for a two-point conversion to put the mercy rule in effect, but the Eagles thwarted a rush by Jones, leaving the score at 33-0. Schultz finished with 70 yards on 15 carries, while Jones had 42 yards on 15 carries and Johnson had 44 yards on seven carries. Senior tight end Nick Downard caught three passes for 56 yards.
Jones added a 3-yard run touchdown run in the fourth quarter and Millard scored on a 9-yard pass from Brooks Myers to Jaxon Wardle for a final score of 40-7. Grand continued the strong defensive play it has shown all season, collecting four sacks and a handful of passes defensed. Jarett Reidhead led the team in both tackles and sacks with seven tackles and two sacks. Johnson and junior Trent Elmore also had seven tackles, while Johnson also had a sack. Also standing out defensively on the stat sheet were sophomore Brayden Troutt with six tackles and junior Jarom Shumway with a sack.
Dennis Wells said the early-season Deseret News rankings relied on reputation and tradition, giving teams like Millard and San Juan the higher rankings, while Grand has had to prove itself in the earlty going.
“I knew watching film that if we came ready to play, we would beat them,” he said. “Knowing what we were bringing back and what those other teams lost, I knew we were a better team.”
Grand next plays at South Sevier on Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. The Rams spoiled the Red Devils’ homecoming with a 33-6 trouncing in 2016, but that’s not the primary motivator for Grand this week, Dennis Wells said.
“Our motivation is that we need to finish as high in the region standings as we can and they’re our first region opponent,” he said.
He said that on tape, it appears the Rams are better than the Eagles. The Rams are led by Tyson Chisholm on both offense and defense. In 2016, he shredded the Red Devils for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding 13 tackles and an interception defensively.
“We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Dennis Wells said. “We have to keep (Chisholm) in mind and make sure we account for him on every play.”
In other action on Friday, Sept. 8, defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Beaver lost 30-7 to No. 2 South Summit in a non-region rematch of last year’s state title game. South Summit assumed the No. 1 ranking, while Beaver is ranked No. 2, Delta is ranked No. 3, Grand is ranked No. 4 and Millard is ranked No. 5. Dennis Wells said that because the loss was in non-region action, it doesn’t hurt Beaver, but potentially makes them better.
“If anything, it adds motivation for them to get that win back in the playoffs,” he said.
Red Devils use 20-point second quarter to pull away from Eagles
I knew watching film that if we came ready to play, we would beat them.