Park City’s strength all season has been team speed, both offensively and defensively.
That speed allowed the program to earn a share of its first region title since 2010 and then also upset Sky View in the 4A quarterfinals last week to reach its first state semifinal since 2009.
On Thursday, however, the Miners met their match. Against a very stingy Dixie defense, they only tallied 198 yards of total offense and turned the ball over four times in suffering their only shutout of the season.
“That’s a really good football team over there, they could match us with team speed, and they maybe even beat us with team speed,” said Park City coach Josh Montzingo. “Every time we tried to get to an edge they were there. Great coaching, they had a great game plan put together.”
Park City knew that moving the ball against the top scoring defense in 4A would be tough, but also knew that if it could hit some big plays in the passing game that could open things up and give Dixie troubles.
Those big plays had been there most of the season, including in last week’s 15-14 win over Sky View, but they were lacking in the 4A semifinals.
Park City’s quarterbacks completed just 6 of 26 passes for 114 yards and had three interceptions.
“We had some open shots that could’ve opened space up, when we don’t hit them they kept crowding the box, crowding the box, and when we’re not the biggest team that makes it hard to run,” said Montzingo. “We made them a lot this year, tonight we missed them.”
Park City only recorded nine first downs and crossed into Dixie territory twice. Midway through the third quarter it was still very much in the game despite trailing 14-0.Comment on this story
The defense forced a Dixie fumble with 5:20 left in the third quarter setting the Miner offense up with great field position at the 25-yard line. The momentum was extremely brief as Park City promptly threw an interception in the end zone on the very next play, and the offense didn’t threaten the rest of the game.
“We knew we were maybe going to have to pass it more than we liked, and we were going to have to hit those,” said Montzingo.
A year ago Park City went 4-7 and lost to Dixie in the first round of the 4A playoffs, but a year later the program made tremendous strikes with a 9-4 record and losing to Dixie in the semifinals.
“It’s been a great run. It’s good for confidence, it’s good for that offseason building to have that fire,” said Montzingo.