OGDEN — This was the dandy, dramatic kind of duel that should decide a state championship, not merely second place in the Region 11 standings.
But when Grantsville and Ogden High squared off Wednesday night, the two teams came up with an entertaining showdown filled with big plays and plenty of offensive fireworks, with the Cowboys coming away with a wild 33-32 win at Maurice "Rete" Conroy Field.
By virtue of its narrow victory, Grantsville grabs the No. 2 spot from Region 11 with a 5-1 league record and improves to 6-4 overall, while Ogden finishes fourth in the region race at 3-3 and falls to 4-6 on the season.
Both teams will advance to next week's 3A state playoffs, and Grantsville gets to stay home for its postseason opener.
"Wow, what a ballgame, with so many ups and downs and I don't know how many times the lead changed hands. What a fun ballgame, especially for us because we were on the winning end" said Grantsville coach Tony Cloward.
"We'll be hosting a playoff game and that's huge for us, because we're a young football team. We we only have two seniors that start on defense and three who start on offense, so to host a playoff game just gives you that momentum and confidence going into the playoffs."
Sophomore fullback Ky Fisher, nursing a sore shoulder, only carried the ball four times from scrimmage, but the soft-spoken redhead scored four touchdowns on runs of 5, 5, 1 and 2 yards — the first four-TD game he could remember, or at least since little league.
"It was tough standing on the sidelines," Fisher said, "but winning like this makes you feel good."
"We've been doing that the last couple of weeks," he said of being the Cowboys' main man near the goal line, "and it kept working, so they kept doing it."
"He's my starting fullback, but he's got a bum shoulder," Cloward said of Fisher. "So we put him in when we needed him. ... He's got a nose for the end zone."
Ogden built a 26-14 halftime lead on the strength of four touchdown passes by senior quarterback Anthony Sattiewhite, who wound up completing 17-of-32 attempts for a whopping 333 yards.
"He's the best quarterback I've seen in awhile," Cloward said of Sattiewhite, who also ran 10 yards for Ogden's last touchdown that gave the Tigers a 32-27 lead with 6:32 remaining. "He runs well, he throws it well, he keeps things alive. I was very impressed with him."
Sattiewhite hooked up with Malik Doss on 90-yard TD bomb on Ogden's first possession, then found sure-handed sophomore Josh Shackleford, who made a great grab on his way to a 45-yard scoring strike in the second quarter.
Sattiewhite then connected with Hyrum Osguthorpe on a 33-yard touchdown pass and found Shackleford all alone for a 25-yard TD toss with just 1:55 to go before halftime.
Fisher had two 5-yard scoring bursts for Grantsville in the first half, but Cloward wasn't pleased with the way his team was playing, and he let them know about it at intermission.
"Sometimes at halftime, you don't need X's and O's — you need a butt-chewing," Cloward said. "Sometimes you don't need to make corrections, sometimes you've just got to motivate your kids and challenge them. And that's what we did at halftime.
"We said, 'Look, guys, you have an opportunity here to host a playoff game next week. Are you gonna throw that away?' And you saw how they responded. They played like they really, really wanted it."
Indeed, the Cowboys came out looking like a much different team in the second half, as they went on a 77-yard scoring march led by the play of quarterback Max Cook and running back Jared Lambert. Fisher went the final two yards to make it 26-21.
On their next possession, Grantsville again rode the Cook-Lambert tandem downfield on a 94-yard drive to set the stage for Fisher's 1-yard TD and a 27-26 lead.
Sattiewhite's 10-yard scoring run gave Ogden a 32-27 lead, but Braxton Sparks' superb return on the ensuing kickoff kickoff had the Cowboys riding high in the saddle near midfield. Lambert led a bruising 53-yard scoring drive, capped by his powerful, clinching 11-yard touchdown run that gave Grantsville a 33-32 lead with two minutes left.
And Ogden's last drive died when Sattiewhite was sacked on a fourth-and-1 play in Tiger territory.