Scroll to bottom of story to see Park City Felt's Facts
Note: Park City finished with a 3-8 overall record and was 3-2 in Region 10 in 2011. It lost, 34-14, to Desert Hills in the 3A first round of the 3A playoffs.
PARK CITY — It was a jack-in-the-box season for the Park City football team last year. No one — the media, coaches, players, parents, boosters, cheerleaders, dogs or cats — expected a losing season.
But that's exactly what happened. The Miners stumbled out — strike that — fell out of the gates with an 0-5 start in preseason play en route to the school's first losing season since 2005.
“I think it was a surprise to everybody,” said Park City coach Kai Smalley. “It took us a lot longer to mesh together to form that team unity than it should have. This year, I feel like we’re on top of that. They have that bad taste in their mouth from last year and they don’t want it back.”
Park City, typically revered as an upper-echelon contender in the 3A ranks, started to calibrate towards the end of the 2011 campaign. In Region 10 play — aside from a 44-9 loss to powerhouse Juan Diego — the Miners outscored their region foes 172-77 (though they did also give up 14 fourth-quarter points in a loss to Judge.)
“I just hopin’ that our kids come out and pick up where we left off last year. We had a slower start and finally got the ball rollin’ towards the end of the season,” Smalley said. “We played a great team in the playoffs with Desert Hills but I think we still played some pretty good football down there. Our kids continue to feed off that.”
With five returning starters back on both sides of the ball, Park City believes that the winning ways will shine brightly once again.
“We had a lot of young players by the end of last season that were gettin’ a lot of experience,” Smalley said. “Hopefully we have more of those veteran players coming back and being able to lead the younger kids (is) kind of what we expect on the field.”
Right now, with a week until their opening-week matchup against Spanish Fork, the Miners are working out the necessary kinks.
“We’re getting to that fourth day of doubles and our kids are startin’ to brain cramp as much as they’re leg cramping. I’d rather have those mistakes happen on the practice field than in a game,” Smalley said in reference to a confusion-filled practice. “It’s good to see our coaches are on top of them. That’s one thing that I’ve been happy with this year. We have coaches that are intense about it and are working hard to make sure our players get better.”
Park City Miners at a glance
Coach: Kai Smalley has a 9-12 record after two years at the helm of the Park City program. He’s a graduate of Oregon University.
(5 returning starters; Spread offense)
Commonly when fans hear the word "spread" associated with football — it can only mean a couple things: finger food spread across the table or a specific type of offense. Dealing with the later, a stigma is attached to the offense — that it's an air-it-out way of life, i.e. the Mike Leach, Rich Rodrigues and Mike Gundy-like play-sheets.
Smalley takes a page out of his alma mater’s philosophy at Oregon.
“To be able to hopefully establish our run game and be able to balance that out with our passing game,” Smalley explained when asked what his intentions are on offense. “I don’t like the concept of being an air-raid offense. I don’t want to pass it every time. I want to have a run game and establish that first.”
“We want to see who’s going to get downhill the most,” Smalley said. “That’s our biggest thing is we want to establish our run game by running downhill on people. We have to find a running back that’s willing to do that and not try to dance everywhere.”
Smalley is excited about Alec Wing emerging as a diverse quarterback with his get-out-and-go speed marinated with his capabilities to deliver through the air.
“We’re hoping that we can use him as a duel threat because he’s a track guy — very fast. Hopefully we can get him in the open field. He’d be a good runner but he’s also got a strong arm and he’s a smart kid,” Smalley said. “I think we’re in good hands 'cause he’s done a good job of learning how to read the defense when we’re running the option – to be able to find his keys and make the right choices instead of just guessing.”
(5 returning starters; Base 3-4 defense)
The Miners are extremely outsized across the board. For the most part, skill players are interchangeable with linemen strictly based on size, making Park City one of the smallest teams in 3A.
But, as Smalley explained, that’s not unusual.
“One of the things we’re looking forward to is our team speed,” Smalley said. “Hopefully that can benefit us, whereas we don’t have the biggest team and that’s not going to surprise anybody — we never do. But that’s OK as long as we have guys that are willing to hit.”
Kelsch and Papineau highlight the defensive front along with Konnor Andersen.
Coaches’ Region 10 straw poll: Fourth
Deseret News Region 10 prediction: Fourth
Bottom line: With one week left until the start of the season, the Miners clearly are lagging behind the rest of the leading pack in 3A. In terms of Region 10 play, it should come down to Park City and Uintah vying for the fourth and final playoff position. That said, making the playoffs is a serious question mark moving forward. If Park City can find consistent play on offense and find ways to disguise its glaring lack of size an improvement in 2012 is imminent.
Aug. 17 — at Spanish Fork, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — STANSBURY, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — SNOW CANYON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — DELTA, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — at Juab, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — at Judge Memorial, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Union, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — UINTAH, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — at Juan Diego, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — WASATCH, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Park City High School
All-time record: 395-397-23 (104 years)
Region championships: 23 (1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1941, 1945, 1961, 1969 co, 1980, 1981, 1982 co, 1983 co, 1987, 1988, 1991 co, 2001 co, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010)
Playoff appearances: 37
All-time playoff record: 27-37
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-5
Most played rivalry: 92 meetings with North Summit dating back to 1926. North Summit leads 47-42-3. Last met in 2004.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Park City, which began its football program in 1901, is the third oldest in Utah following West (1893) and Ogden (1898). ... PC holds the season rushing yards record of 4,923 set in 2009.
Park City coaching history
2010-current — Kai Smalley (9-12)
2005-2009 — Brandon Matich (39-18)
1998-2004 — Mike Shepherd (53-28)
1995-1997 — Paul Tomasiewisz (6-22)
1994 — Gary Anderson (3-7)
1993 — Randy Schreiter (0-8)
1978-1992 — Robert Burns (101-53)
1977 — Rich Groth (1-7)
1976 — Steve Leatham (0-8)
1972-1975 — Unknown (8-30)
1971 — Wayne Carlson (3-2-4)
1968-1970 — Unknown (12-14-1)
1967 — Ed Severance (3-5)
1966 — Elliott Jordan (4-4)
1962-1965 — Gary Knudsen (6-25-1)
1958-1961 — Jack Woodbury (11-17-1)
1957 — Bill Bell (1-5)
1956 — Dave Germann (0-6-1)
1953-1955 — Jack Adamson (4-18-1)
1951-1952 — Ralph Peterson (4-11)
1946 -1950 — Unknown (21-15-4)
1945 — Mark Reeves (6-3-1)
1943-1944 — Unknown (9-6)
1937-1942 — Max Warner (27-14-1)
1935 -1936 — Pete Carltson (9-2)
1934 — Grey M. Lusty (4-1-2)
1933 — Robert Bailey (5-1)
1932 — Bob Birbeck (5-0-1)
1925-1931 — Unknown (15-22-4)
1924 — Floyd Romney (3-2)
1901-1923 — Unknown (23-28-2)
Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
2009 — Dylan Chynoweth, RB
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2011 — Jono Schettler, WR
2010 — Paul Flake QB
2010 — Jake Adams DL
2010 — Jono SchettlerWR
2009 — Scott Adams, OL/DL
2009 — Erik Walker, QB/FS
2009 — Cash Knight, OL
2008 — Dylan Chynoweth, RB
2008 — Tony Epperson, DB
2008 — Ben Portwood, K
2007 — Matt Wright, RB
2007 — ColtonNichter, OL
2006 — Jared Tew, RB
2006 — Patrick Kruse, OL
2006 — Nick Vought, DB
2004 — Drew Shepherd, QB
2004 — Kyle Mutcher, OL
2004 — Brian Kadziel, DL
2004 — Jack Bevins, LB
2003 — Woody Sideris, RB
2003 — Drew Shepherd, WR
2003 — Owen Koeppen, LB
2002 — Ashton Ferrin, OL
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.