They are going to be key this weekend, because I think it will come down to who controls the line of scrimmage. —Grand County assistant coach Ron Dolphin, on the team's offensive line
CEDAR CITY — All season long, the Grand County High offensive line has been quietly making things happen.
The four seniors and one sophomore that make up the crew have been the unsung heroes on a team that lost just one regular-season game, is third in 2A in offensive production with 33.0 points per game, and is marching back to its second consecutive 2A semifinal game on Saturday morning.
“They have done a fantastic job of creating opportunities for our position players,” Grand County assistant coach and athletic director Ron Dolphin said of Edgar Gomez, David Bentley, Austin Day, Justin Cresswell and Brandon Secrest.
“They are going to be key this weekend,” Dolphin said, “because I think it will come down to who controls the line of scrimmage.”
Grand County, the second-seeded team from the 2A South region, will meet North Summit, the No. 1 seed from the northern region, at 11 a.m. at Southern Utah University. After winning just two games all of last season, the Braves have averaged 25.8 points per game this year, lost just twice during the regular season, and upset county rival South Summit to earn the top region ranking en route to earning their spot among the final four.
“The games just get harder the deeper we get into the tournament,” Dolphin said. “North Summit looks good on film; they look like they have some speed. We have a good offensive line and so do they. They engage their defenders and create alleyways just like we do.”
Leading the North Summit offense is junior playmaker Ryan McMichael, who scored twice in the Braves’ quarterfinal victory over Gunnison. McMichael leads the team with 675 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns along with all 571 of the team’s passing yards and seven passing touchdowns.
Seniors Koi Cook and Jacob Francis top the both the rushing, passing and defensive stat boards for Grand County, which has also received major contributions from Layton Call and Cameron Taylor, who scored twice in the Red Devils’ win against South Sevier in the quarterfinal round.
“This has been a special year in a lot of ways,” Dolphin said. “This group of seniors has been talking about playing for a state title since eighth grade. This is their last opportunity, and they have been working harder for it this year.”
North Summit statistical breakdown
(Note: Does not include quarterfinal stats)
Scoring offense: 25.8 ppg (6th in 2A)
Scoring defense: 16.2 ppg (4th in 2A)
Passing leader: Ryan McMichael (42-74, 56.8%, 571 yards, 7 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Ryan McMichael (119 carries, 675 yards, 13 TDs), Josh Birk (94 carries, 650 yards, 5 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Nick Rees (13 catches, 131 yards, 2 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Not provided
Sack leaders: Not provided
Interception leaders: Josh Birk (3 INTs)
Grand County statistical breakdown
(Note: Does not include quarterfinal stats)
Scoring offense: 33.0 ppg (3rd in 2A)
Scoring defense: 11.6 ppg (3rd in 2A)
Passing leader: Jacob Francis (25-43, 58.1%, 438 yards, 5 TDs), Koi Cook (34-60, 56.7%, 565 yards, 4 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Koi Cook (133 carries, 890 yards (11 TDs), Cameron Taylor (90 carries, 597 yards, 9 TDs), Jacob Francis (77 carries, 564 yards, 8 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Cameron Taylor (14 catches, 229 yards, 0 TDs), Layton Call (15 catches, 231 yards, 2 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Koi Cook (66 tackles), Edgar Gomez, David Bentley (37 tackles)
Sack leaders: Edgar Gomez (3 sacks)
Interception leaders: Ronnie Dolphin (3 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for North Summit High School
All-time record: 416-360-23 (88 years)
Region championships: 22 (1928, 1929, 1930 co, 1937, 1955, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 co, 1978, 1983 co, 1989, 1990, 1991 co, 2006, 2007, 2013 co)
Playoff appearances: 46
All-time playoff record: 48-38 (including 2013)
State championships: 7 (1964, 1972, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2007, 2008)
State championship record: 7-4
Felt’s Factoid(s): North Summit is tied with two other teams for the most shutouts in one season with 10 (1974). ... Brave Andy Carlsen set the state record for season rushes with 323 in 2002.
Felt’s Facts for Grand County High School
All-time record: 401-359-18 (93 years)
Region championships: 23 (1923, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1932, 1950, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1984 co, 1995 co, 2005 co)
Playoff appearances: 48
All-time playoff record: 27-46 (including 2013)
State championships: 1 (2005)
State championship record: 1-5
Felt’s Factoid(s): Grand County’s Tanner Brown is one of just two Utah gridders to rush for more than 5,000 career yards. He ran for 5,060 from 2003-06.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.