The Grand County High School football team shut down South Sevier’s offense and junior quarterback Bryant Troutt scored four rushing touchdowns en route to a 34-14 Red Devil win over the Rams in Moab on Friday, Sept. 14, in what was both Grand’s homecoming game, and its 2A South region opener.
Troutt scored all four of his touchdowns in the first half, helping the Red Devils build a 27-0 lead before a rare double-turnover led to a South Sevier score as the first half expired left the halftime score at 27-7.
Troutt’s first score, a 15-yarder, capped off Grand’s opening drive, giving Grand a 6-0 lead after a mishap on the snap led to an incomplete pass on a two-point conversion attempt. Troutt scored again on Grand’s second drive, this time from 2 yards away, putting the Red Devils up 13-0.
Grand was forced to punt after a pair of incomplete passes on its next drive, but senior safety Andrew Hansen intercepted a South Sevier pass, which led to a 1-yard Troutt score early in the second quarter for a 20-0 lead. After trading the ball back and forth for most of the second quarter, Troutt scored from 2 yards away again for a 27-0 lead.
Grand nearly held South Sevier scoreless in the first half as senior safety Bailey Shelton intercepted a Ram pass on the final play of the first half, but during his return, South Sevier’s Tucker Gayler ripped the ball away from Shelton and ran untouched for a score.
Grand’s defense continued strong play in the second half, forcing the Rams to punt in their opening drive. The Red Devils then scored on a 2-yard run from senior Trent Elmore to go up 34-7. Later in the quarter, the Rams scored on offense for the only time in the game on an 8-yard pass from Tracen Winkel to Branson Palmer, cutting Grand’s lead to 34-14.
After the score, the Red Devils held the ball the last 2:44 of the third quarter and almost all of the fourth quarter, running 23 consecutive offensive plays, thanks to penalties on both teams as well as a second double-turnover, this time in the Red Devils’ favor. On the 19th play of the drive, midway through the fourth quarter, the Red Devils faced third down and more than 30 yards to go, and Troutt threw an interception. During the return, however, Troutt forced the Rams’ Yates Taylor to fumble the ball, and Elmore recovered, extending Grand’s drive another three plays before they punted. A few plays later, Shelton intercepted another Ram pass on the final play of the game, capping off the Red Devil win. Shelton said it was an “amazing feeling” to gather a pair of picks.
“It makes me really happy that I can switch the ball to the offense for the team,” he said.
Altogether, the Red Devils forced five turnovers — two interceptions by Shelton and one by Hansen, a fumble recovery by Elmore and a fumble recovery in the first quarter by senior Jarett Reidhead following a quarterback sack by junior Trea Meyer. Reidhead and senior Austin Johnson each had six tackles to lead the Red Devils, who held the state’s leading rusher, Ram senior Tyson Chisholm, to 81 yards on nine carries. Even after the Grand game, Chisholm leads all other 2A rushers by more than 200 yards and four touchdowns (Chisholm has 12 rushing touchdowns, while Grand’s Troutt is second in 2A with eight).
Grand football coach Dennis Wells said the Red Devils knew they had to show up ready to play after losing 20-19 at home to Millard the week before.
“I saw it in the players after we beat American Leadership Academy, they thought they were so good that all they had to do was show up and they’d beat anyone,” he said. “I believe we’re the kind of team that can beat anyone in the state, but last week showed we can also lose to anyone in the state if we don’t show up to play.”
Shelton said the win gives the Red Devils a renewed sense of hope that they can go far in the state tournament.
“This win means everything,” he said. “We studied game film all week — we worked so hard all week. Everyone on the defense did a great job.”
Troutt led the Red Devils in rushing versus the Rams with 142 yards on 24 carries, while Elmore had 44 yards on 12 carries. The Red Devils completed 8-of-13 passes for 82 yards, with six different players catching a pass.
Grand (3-2, 1-0 2A South) regained the No. 3 ranking in 2A with the win, behind South Summit and Beaver. The Beavers remained in the two spot despite losing at home to San Juan, 27-25.
The Red Devils next play in Salina at North Sevier (4-1, 1-0) on Friday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. The Wolves’ only loss was a 26-7 decision at Millard on Aug. 31. The Red Devils lost 20-19 at home versus Millard on Sept. 7. North Sevier opened region play with a 25-7 win at Enterprise on Sept. 14.
The Wolves have the leading passer and the two leading receivers in 2A. Taylor Crane has 841 yards and 17 touchdown passes, while teammates Burke Mickelson and Kody Christensen have 7 and 5 touchdown catches respectively.
Wells said he believes that the Wolves are confident that they can beat the Red Devils.
“It’s going to be a good game,” he said. “They’re 4-1. They’re confident, they think they can win and any team that thinks they can win is going to be a tough game.”
Wells said San Juan’s win at Beaver showed everyone that 2A South is wide open.
“We’ve got to show up and take care of business every week — can’t take a week off,” he said. “With San Juan pulling off the upset at Beaver, it shows that anyone can get beat.”
Grand bounces back on their home turf after tough loss the week before
“This win means everything. We studied game film all week — we worked so hard all week. Everyone on the defense did a great job.”