MOAB – The Grand County High Red Devils broke open a tight game against the Carbon Dinos Friday night, scoring two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter to pull away with a 27-7 victory in their home opener.
The game was much closer than the final score indicated. In fact, with about eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Carbon seemed poised to actually win the non-region contest.
Grand had held a 12-7 lead since before halftime, but committed a costly roughing the passer penalty deep in their own territory, giving the Dinos an automatic first down and goal to go inside Grand's own 10-yard line. Carbon made it as close as the 5-yard line on the next play. However, on 2nd-and-5, Carbon quarterback Dakota Cisneros' pass attempt into the end zone was tipped and picked off by Grand's Joseph Hawks, making his second interception of the night and Grand's fifth overall.
On the ensuing drive, the Red Devils marched all the way downfield, sparked by a 47-yard run by Billy Keddington that brought Grand to the Carbon 14-yard line. Two plays later, Keddington scored a 10-yard rushing TD, and Sean Black added the two-point conversion to finally give Grand some breathing room, 20-7.
Carbon struggled to move the ball on its next possession, eventually turning it over on downs with under two minutes left. With 1:31 remaining, Grand senior Garrett Stephens scrambled up the middle and cut sharply left for a 26-yard TD. Taylor Farnsworth added the extra point to make it 27-7 and wrap up the scoring.
"We were in the same situation last week at Monticello," said Grand coach Dennis Wells, noting the Red Devils had hung on to defeat the Buckaroos 14-8 last Friday. "Once again, our defense stepped it up at the end, and our offense just powered it downfield."
"We shot ourselves in the foot all night, with tons of penalties and mental mistakes," Wells added. "Carbon played us really tough. They've come a long way."
Keddington rushed for 154 yards on 28 carries, scoring one TD rushing and passing for another. He completed 6 of 14 passes for 110 yards.
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Grand intercepted Carbon five times, with Hawks and Stephens each getting two interceptions and Dylan Jochim adding another.
The Red Devils scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters to take a 12-0 lead, but failed on both of the conversion attempts. Carbon managed to cut the deficit to five with 3:18 left in the second quarter, thanks to a 44-yard scoring run by Jordan Blanc, followed by Tanner Gagnon's extra-point kick.
Grand (now 2-1 overall) next faces Millard at Moab for its region opener next Friday, while Carbon (1-2) will travel to play Emery.