PARK CITY— It seemed like just yesterday that Park City (3-7) was coming off an impressive 40-0 victory over Ben Lomond while also strutting to 3-0 in region play.
That was way back on Oct. 4.
The Miners, in their final three games following the Oct. 4 shutout, hobbled into the end zone just four times and finished the season with a 52-7 blowout loss to Juan Diego.
“It’s one of those things where our team just got deflated,” said Park City head coach Mike Shepherd, referring to his starting quarterback suffering a concussion versus Bear River. “We’ve had so many injuries this year, so when we lost a starter we lost our confidence. The end result is the boys didn’t try as hard as they would’ve if our QB was playing.”
Friday night’s first-round matchup pits Cedar (4-6) against a struggling Park City that has lost three consecutive games in its crash course into the 3AA playoffs.
The Redmen, for their part, haven’t made much of a case for themselves either, heading into Friday’s first round.
The lack of a passing threat all season is the key problem glaring at this team on paper.
Brecken Lewis has been under center for the majority of the workload in Cedar's passing game, throwing just one touchdown and six interceptions. Lewis does lead the team in rushing touchdowns with eight, and against a Park City defense that has given up 15 rushing scores in the past three games, it seems like a perfect storm for Cedar.
“I’m hoping were going to be back to the team that won three games and played ahead of Bear River for a half, but that remains to be seen,” said Shepherd.
Dallin Grover and Brock Oldroyd are big contributors to the Redmen’s rushing attack as well, and will be relied on heavily Friday night.
Park City quarterback Ian Moritz, who is returning from a concussion, has been relied on to score through the air and also on the ground this season, as shown through his team-high five rushing touchdowns in 2013. In the passing game, Carson Dutkanych (44) and Konnor Andersen (39) have seen the bulk of the targets from Moritz, and it’s likely the two will have the quarterback looking their way a majority of the night.
Friday’s game also could be a chance for Park City to shake off a playoff run that has been far from ecstatic.
“Just having Ian back this week, you can tell the kids are a lot more excited and practice has been very upbeat and positive, so we’re really hoping everyone comes out to play,” said Shepherd.
“The program has been really down these past years, and when I took over in the spring I knew there was a lot of work but our focus has been on being competitors and not worrying so much about winning or losing.”
Cedar statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 18.3 ppg (11th in 3AA)
Scoring defense: 19.0 ppg (4th in 3AA)
Passing leader: Brecken Lewis (27-59, 45.8%, 484 yards, 1 TD)
Rushing leaders: Dallin Grover (94 carries, 365, 5 TDs), Brecken Lewis (80 carries, 260 yards, 6 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Jeff Rogers (21 catches, 403 yards, 2 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Brecken Lewis (54 tackles), Dallin Brooks (46 tackles)
Sack leaders: Dallin Brooks (3 sacks)
Interception leaders: Bubba Allred, Jeff Rodgers (1 INT)