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Local News

Miners Win Home Opener

Prior to kickoff Friday night, Park City head coach Josh Montzingo told his team he needed “some dawgs.” He needed players to stop looking at others to make a play and rather, be the ones to make it. He needed players to play fast, physical, and smart, and be the spark the Miners were looking for.

It’s safe to say that Montzingo found his dawgs.

Led by junior Max Alford’s three touchdown night and a defense that finally found its footing, Park City took down visiting Juan Diego 44-10 at Dozier Field.

“Coach told us that he needed some dawgs, some guys who were going to make a difference out there and that’s who I tried to be,” Alford said postgame. “We have multiple guys who can be like that and I think that’s what we really found out tonight. When we get into a rhythm and take it play by play, we are dangerous and that’s what we showed out there.”

It’s fitting that Montzingo, following last week’s disappointing 49-35 loss to rival Wasatch to open the season, would talk to his team about finding some studs on the field when members of last season’s state runner-up squad were on the sidelines watching — including star running back Dylan Bauer, quarterback Jack Skidmore and two-way star McKnight Pederson.

“Last year we were lucky and blessed to have the seniors that we did, especially with all of the hard work they put in throughout the years and how they set the stage for us moving forward,” Montzingo said. “That’s why I told these guys that I needed to find some dawgs like we had last year. They definitely showed me that in the second half. We got off to a slow start, but we found our footing and began to assert ourselves later on once we calmed down.”

It was a slow start for both teams as neither was able to establish a rhythm on offense, especially the Miners. But then Alford broke through with a 36-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which was followed by a Miners safety for the 9-0 lead at the end of the opening frame.

Juan Diego responded with a field goal late in the second quarter, which was aided when Miners senior safety Kirby Baynes was ejected on an extremely questionable call. On third down, he tackled a receiver but was whistled for targeting when his shoulder made contact with the defenseless receiver. Rather than just being assessed a personal foul, the officials deemed the contact unnecessary and intentional, ejecting him from the game.

“It was a tough call for sure, one that definitely changed the momentum of the game,” Montzingo said. “I didn’t think it was worthy of an ejection, but it happened so we had to move on from it. The good news is that while we always know what we get with Kirb, we got to see other players step up in his absence and that was huge for us.”

The second half didn’t start well for Park City after sophomore quarterback Chase Beyer was intercepted following a tipped pass. Juan Diego took over at the Park City 38 yard line and promptly scored a touchdown a minute later for the 10-9 lead.

Facing the deficit and without momentum, the Miners were able to turn things around thanks to the play of Alford and junior quarterback Carson Tabaracci.

Tabaracci found Alford on a swing pass, who broke two tackles before taking it 55 yards to the house for a lead the Miners wouldn’t relinquish.

Leading 16-10 early in the fourth quarter, Park City’s defense got a big stop when it held Juan Diego on 4th-and-2 from its own 10-yard line to get the ball back. Then two plays later, senior Seth Warner scampered 89 yards for a massive touchdown, breaking numerous tackles and hurdling one of his own teammates for the 23-10 lead.

Park City extended its lead the next possession when, following another fourth down stop on defense, Alford scored from four yards out.

After the Miners defense forced a fumble on the next possession, Tabaracci added to the scoring when he found junior Sam Alford with a 30-yard touchdown pass that sealed the game.

Sophomore Matthew Demarco, who handled kicking duties throughout the night, completed the scoring when he ran for a 67-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Sophomore cornerback Carson Baynes stopped Juan Diego’s final drive with his first interception of the season.

“It always feels good to get that first win, especially after last week,” Tabaracci said. “Even though we didn’t get off to the best start, we stuck together and trusted one another, and it started to show. Next week is going to be a tough one but we’ll get back to work this week and be ready.”

Park City returns to action next week when it hosts Pine View in a rematch of last season’s Class 4A state semifinal, a game in which the Miners won 48-21. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Dozier Field.

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