The Grand County High School football team’s offense could do no wrong and its defense forced five turnovers in a lopsided 56-14 road win over the American Leadership Academy (ALA) Eagles on Friday, Aug. 31, in Spanish Fork.
The Red Devils scored 49 unanswered points after falling behind 7-0 less than three minutes into the game as ALA marched down the field on the opening drive. It took Grand less than three minutes to respond with a Dante Wells 3-yard touchdown run. The Eagles looked poised to turn the game into a slug fest with a big return on the ensuing kick, but they fumbled the ball away to Grand senior Jarret Reidhead on the next play, after which the Red Devils seized the momentum, capitalizing with a 5-yard rushing score by senior Trent Elmore to go up 14-7.
The Red Devil defense followed up Elmore’s touchdown by nearly forcing a safety, leading to a punt. Junior Bryant Troutt ran the ball in from 19 yards out on the first play of the second quarter to put Grand up 20-7. Grand scored again less than 30 seconds later as an interception by junior Brayden Cloud on ALA’s first ensuing play led to Red Devil senior Corbin Arbon breaking free from 31 yards away for a rushing score, putting Grand up 27-7.
The Red Devils and Eagles would trade the ball back and forth for a few minutes before Troutt found senior Stacy Randall on an 88-yard touchdown pass to put Grand up 34-7 before halftime. With 8:45 to go in the third quarter, Troutt scored on the ground for the second time, this time from 3 yards out, and Elmore ran in the two-point conversion for a 42-7 lead, which activated the 35-point mercy rule, which means the clock continues to run except for timeouts, changes of possession or injuries.
After Reidhead’s second fumble recovery, Cloud got in on the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run, putting the Red Devils up 49-7. ALA scored on a 20-yard pass early in the fourth quarter, but the Red Devils answered with a touchdown on a 7-yard run by senior Chris Thompson for a final score of 56-14.
The Red Devils attempted only two passes, one by Wells and one by Troutt, both of which were caught by Randall, who accumulated 129 yards receiving on the pair of long balls. In the past two weeks, the Red Devils have completed a combined 10-for-11 passes.
“When you’re a good running team and you pass at just the right time, you can get some wide open receivers, especially with the speed we’ve got from guys like Randall,” coach Dennis Wells said.
Grand got rushing yards from 10 different players, led by Arbon with 112 yards and Troutt with 84 yards. Both Elmore and Cloud had 65 yards.
“It’s one of those games where it didn’t matter what I called, they executed it well and had success,” Wells said.
Defensively, Grand clamped down after ALA’s game-opening score, forcing five traditional turnovers as well as numerous punts and turnovers on downs. In addition to Reidhead’s pair of fumble recoveries and Cloud’s interception, sophomore Ryelan Jones had a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter.
“We’re seeing spread offenses every week and we’re getting better and better at defending them,” Wells said. “Coach (Scott Horton) does a good job — when they start moving the ball on us, we dial up the pressure, and that creates turnovers.”
Junior Brayden Troutt led the Red Devils in tackles with 10, followed by senior Austin Johnson with six. Cloud, Thompson, senior Bailey Shelton and Bryant Troutt each had five tackles.
The Red Devils return home this week to conclude their non-region portion of the schedule against Millard, which is undefeated at 3-0 with wins over Enterprise, Parowan, and most recently a 26-7 win over North Sevier. Grand played Millard twice in 2017, winning 40-7 at Millard during the regular season and 35-7 in Moab in the 2A quarterfinal. Although the scores were nearly identical, Wells said that Millard improved greatly from the first game to the second.
“Millard will be hungry,” he said. “They’re probably not as talented as the teams we’ve played so far, but they’re different. They won’t give up. They’ll bring it the whole game so I expect it will be a good game.”
In the Deseret News, 2A rankings released on Sept. 1, Millard is ranked No. 3 and Grand is ranked No. 4. Kickoff between the non-region foes is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, in Moab.
Grand offense unstoppable in non-region contest
When: Friday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.
Where: Grand County High School football field, 608 S. 400 East