PARK CITY — Two consecutive blowout losses to open the season didn't sit well with Park City. The Miners are a team used to winning — often by big margins — and being on the other end of that equation two straight weeks was unacceptable.
"We were talking about it all week long," junior receiver Jono Schettler said. "Two losses — yeah, that affects us, but we still have to step up. Shake it off and step up."
Schettler made sure his own play matched the pregame talk. He scored an 80-yard touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter, giving Park City the first of two big touchdowns that helped the Miners rally for a 20-19 victory over Delta on Friday night.
After gaining just six yards of total offense in the third quarter, Park City (1-2) came to life when junior quarterback Paul Flake hit Schettler on a post route and he raced down the sideline 80 yards to put the Miners within six at 19-13.
Park City completed the comeback later in the quarter when the Miners forced the Rabbits (0-3) to turn the ball over on downs at the Park City 34 and then covered 66 yards in less than two minutes. Blake Thorne punched in a touchdown from 12 yards out to cap off the drive and make it 20-19 with 2:25 remaining.
"It was a big momentum changer," said Flake of his big touchdown pass that opened the quarter. "We never give up, but it definitely helped (us) get off to a (fast) start."
It definitely reversed the tide of a third quarter where everything went wrong for Park City and went right for Delta.
With the Miners clinging to a 7-6 halftime lead, the Rabbits took charge in the third quarter by capitalizing on favorable field position.
A short punt gave Delta the ball at its own 49-yard line on the team's initial possession of the half. The Rabbits cashed in with Hadley Myers finished off a seven play 51 yard drive with a 3 yard touchdown run to make it 12-7.
Kyle Church then recovered a fumble at the Park City 37 to set up another the next scoring drive, which ended in a 2 yard keeper by Colin Christensen and a 19-7 lead for Delta with 4:49 left in the third quarter.
Park City coach Kai Smalley credited his players with keeping a positive attitude that allowed them to mount a final quarter rally.
"We were never dead in the water," Smalley said.
The same could not be said for the Rabbits in the fourth quarter. Even after punting the ball away and then turning it over on downs on successive drives, Delta had a chance to drive for at least a field goal in the waning minutes.Comment on this story
Any hope of holding on and escaping with a victory soon died when Jack Rinehart stepped right in front of a pass by Christensen and picked it off with 2:01 left. Flake said the Miners counted on their defense to come through on that final drive.
"We trusted the defense totally," Flake said. "We knew they would step up and they did tonight."
Flake helped galvanize the Park City offense with a solid outing through the air. The junior threw for 234 yards and a touchdown while completing 13 of 24 passes. Senior running back Blake Thorne also came up big on the ground with the Miners' other two touchdowns.
Delta enjoyed a solid night from Zach Harris, who rushed for 99 yards on 21 carries.