GRANTSVILLE — Juab's players are going to give coach Mike Bowring a heart attack at the rate they're going.
For the second straight game Juab failed to close a game with much conviction, but despite giving up 14 points in the final four minutes — and allowing a late onside kick that that could've been more damaging — Juab held on for the 21-14 victory over Grantsville on Friday night.
"I know we won, but we have to finish games. We have to play defense for four quarters," said Bowring.
A week ago Juab struggled in the fourth quarter in a win over Canyon View, and it didn't really learn its lesson on Friday after nearly letting a 21-0 lead on Grantsville slip away.
All in all though, Bowring was thrilled with the performance against a quality Grantsville team.
"I'm so proud of our kids. We have some young kids playing, but they're getting better every week," he said.
If the Wasps can develop a killer instinct in the fourth quarter, they'll be much better than a middle-of-the-pack 3A defensive team like last year. They forced four Grantsville turnovers through the first three quarters in methodically building a three touchdown lead.
Numerous players contributed defensively, including Dedrick Davidson, who picked off Grantsville's quarterback twice in the second half. He returned his second pick midway through the third quarter down to Grantsville's 4-yard line, which Juab punched in four plays later for the 21-0 lead.
"Me and my brother have been watching film all the time, and we were noticing screens, so as soon as I saw it I jumped it and there it was," said Davidson, whose eyes lit up at the prospects of scoring a defensive touchdown before he was tripped up.
Juab reverted to a little trickery on fourth down to take the 21-0 lead on a halfback pass from Dalton Harmon to Dalton Brooks.
"We've been trying it in practice a couple times, but I usually screw it up," said Harmon. "But we finally got it to work."
Grantsville made things interesting down the stretch as Ky Fisher cut the lead to 21-7 on a 4-yard TD run with 4:22 remaining and then 21-14 with 1:34 left on a 3-yard score following a Juab fumble.
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"We've played two pretty good games, and these guys are kind of growing up overnight," said Bowring, whose team was outgained offensively by Grantsville 277 to 215.
A good chunk of Grantsville's yards came in the fourth quarter well after Juab had seized momentum with the 14-0 halftime lead. Kaden Kelson hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Rowley midway through the first quarter to start the scoring, and then Harmon doubled the lead with a 1-yard score just before halftime.
"Our whole thing was we wanted to win the first quarter, we thought winning the first quarter would propel us to the win and it did," said Bowring.