The Grand County High School football team had three of its players surpass 100 yards rushing as the Red Devils defeated archrival San Juan 42-19 on Friday, Oct. 13, in Blanding.
Junior Trent Elmore led the way for Grand with 165 yards on 12 carries, while senior Dakota Johnson rushed for 112 yards on 11 carries and sophomore Bryant Troutt carried the ball 14 times for 106 yards. As a team, Grand tallied 385 yards rushing. It was the second consecutive game in which the Red Devils had three 100-yard rushers.
Grand football coach Dennis Wells attributed the Red Devils’ offensive success to reacting to how the defense played with misdirection. For example, he said if the linebackers are following the pulling guard, he’ll run plays away from the pulling guard.
“We just take what the defense gives us,” Wells said. “We adjust to how the linebackers are reading the play and keep the other team off balance.”
The Red Devils had to overcome some self-inflicted adversity in the first half as Grand fumbled the ball away twice in the early-going. However, unlike the week before against Beaver, Grand was able to overcome its mistakes. The Red Devils got on the board first with a 15-yard run touchdown by Johnson in the first quarter, followed by a 40-yard touchdown run by Troutt in the second quarter, giving the Red Devils a 14-0 lead. Grand had an opportunity to get the ball back with good field position by stopping San Juan on fourth-and-10, but a roughing-the-passer penalty allowed the Broncos to keep the ball, which led to Ethan Vess’ 20-yard touchdown run, cutting Grand’s lead to 14-7.
The Red Devils got the ball back shortly before halftime and were able to get down the field for a 1-yard touchdown run from Johnson to go into intermission up 21-7. Grand got the ball back to start the second half and put the game out of reach with a 49-yard Johnson touchdown run, his third of the evening and 2A-leading 14th of the season, putting the Red Devils up 28-7. Elmore found paydirt later in the third quarter from one yard away to give Grand a 35-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
San Juan scored on a 55-yard touchdown from quarterback Baylr Eldredge to cut the deficit to 35-13, before Grand senior Chris Thompson intercepted a Bronco pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 42-13. Vess scored from two yards out for the game’s final of 42-19.
Grand senior Bruin Meador also had an interception, giving the Red Devils two for the night. Senior Jared Smith led the Red Devils with nine tackles, followed by freshman Dante Wells, who made his first start at safety, with seven tackles. Dante Wells also had two passes defensed.
“(Dante) did a good job with tackling and knocking down passes,” Dennis Wells said. “He also played a good game at kicker, making all his extra points.”
The Red Devils finished the regular season with an 8-1 record, 4-1 in 2A South play, which grants Grand a first-round bye in the state playoffs. The Red Devils play either Millard or South Sevier on Friday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m., in Moab. The Red Devils defeated South Sevier 21-7 on Sept. 15 in Monroe and defeated Millard 40-7 on Sept. 8 in Fillmore. The game versus the Rams was the Red Devils’ lowest scoring output of the season.
“Millard’s a tough team and South Sevier gave us one of our better games all season,” Dennis Wells said. “We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Following the quarterfinals at home fields of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds from each region, the 2A semifinals will be played at Weber State University in Ogden on Saturday, Nov. 4, and the 2A final will be played on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
Grand clinches No. 2 seed, bye week in state playoffs
1. Beaver 8-1, 5-0
2. Grand 8-1, 4-1
3. North Sevier 5-4, 2-3
4. San Juan 3-6, 2-3
5. Enterprise 2-6, 1-4
6. South Sevier 3-6, 1-4
1. South Summit 9-0, 5-0
2. Delta 7-2, 4-1
3. Millard 6-3, 3-2
4. American Leadership 3-6, 2-3
5. North Summit 2-7, 1-4
6. Gunnison 0-9, 0-5
We just take what the defense gives us … We adjust to how the linebackers are reading the play and keep the other team off balance.