The Grand County High School (GCHS) football team ran 75 offensive plays, keeping the ball out of opponent Beaver’s hands in the 2A semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Provo, helping the Red Devils advance to the state championship game with a 10-0 victory.
Much like their Oct. 5 matchup, in which Grand won 21-0 in Moab, the Red Devils and Beavers both had opportunities to score in the first half, but neither capitalized, resulting in a scoreless tie at intermission. The Red Devils turned the ball over on downs in Beaver territory twice in the first half, the second of which was a dropped snap on what would have been a field goal attempt. The Red Devils blocked a Beaver field goal attempt in the first quarter after the Beavers’ sophomore running back EJ Allred had a 52-yard rush, accounting in one play for nearly half of Beaver’s total yardage for the game. The Red Devils threatened to score a third time right before halftime, but the Beavers intercepted a GCHS pass and ran out the second-quarter clock.
“Our defense stepped up and shut them down,” said Dennis Wells, GCHS football coach. “We prepared really hard. We knew what they were going to do and we were able to stop it. That’s exactly what type of effort it’s going to take this week.”
The Red Devils reached into their bag of tricks to find the scoreboard late in the third quarter. After forcing a Beaver punt to begin the second half, it appeared GCHS was about to punt the ball back from near midfield, but sophomore punter Dante Wells sprinted toward the marker, just barely passing it before getting tackled. Wells capped off the drive with a 38-yard field goal for a 3-0 GCHS lead.
The Red Devils parlayed the momentum from the ice-breaking field goal into a fumble recovery by sophomore Jaymmin Hester, leading to a 1-yard Troutt touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, for the final of 10-0, and for the second time in less than a month, the Red Devils shut out the Beavers.
The Red Devils ran 75 offensive plays for 331 total yards, while the Beavers ran less than half that many at 37 plays for 114 yards. Troutt had 124 yards rushing on 31 carries, while senior Corbin Arbon had 100 yards on 19 carries, and senior Trent Elmore had 83 yards on 11 carries. Defensively, junior Brayden Troutt had 11 tackles and senior Chris Thompson had 10. Senior Bailey Shelton and junior Brayden Cloud both caught interceptions from the Beaver offense.
Coach Wells said the Red Devils’ ability to control the ball with their rushing offense, like they did against the Beavers, will be critical versus South Summit in the championship game. The Wildcats are the defending state champions, playing in their sixth straight state title game, the first of which was a 42-8 win over GCHS in 2013, which was the Red Devils’ most recent appearance in the title game.
“I think the reason our defense is so tough is that we have a physical offense that the defense practices against every week,” he said.
The Wildcats are 10-1 this season, their only loss coming to 4A Park City 27-13 on Aug. 31. They advanced to the title game with a 34-10 victory over Millard on Nov. 3, in Provo. In that game, senior quarterback Kael Atkinson had four touchdowns total.
“We’ll definitely have our hands full,” coach Wells said. “They’re a totally different team than anyone we’ve played. They’re quarterback is a really good football player — I’m sure he’ll be playing college ball somewhere.”
Wells said putting pressure on Atkinson and staying with the Wildcats’ athletic receivers will be key for the GCHS defense.
“We have a game plan — basically we need to do what we do,” he said. “Keep their offense off the field by pounding the ball with long, sustaining drives, and take advantage of our scoring opportunities. We’re one of the better teams in 2A to match up against South Summit because of our style of offense. You can’t get in a shoot-out with these guys, because you’re not going to win.”
In 2013, The Red Devils and Wildcats played in the afternoon, following the 1A title game, and it snowed throughout the day prior to frigid temperatures at game time. This year, the forecast is sunny and low-to-mid 40-degree temperatures for the 2A title game, which takes place on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m., at Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Stadium on Weber State University’s campus in Ogden.
GCHS shuts out Beaver, 10-0, in semifinal
“I think the reason our defense is so tough is that we have a physical offense that the defense practices against every week.”
When: Saturday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m.
Where: Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Stadium, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden