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Park City’s Football Season Ends in Heartbreaker in 4A Quarterfinals

Ryan Kostecka

Regardless of how good the football game was and how good the two opponents were, somebody was going to win and somebody was going to lose. 


The type of football that took place at Ridgeline High School in Millville on Friday night in the UHSAA Class 4A quarterfinals was nothing short of elite according to coaches from both No. 5 Park City and No. 4 Ridgeline.


Unfortunately for the Miners, they were the team on the losing end after falling 42-35 to the Riverhawks on a last second touchdown. 


“I’m heartbroken for my team, especially for the seniors,” Park City head coach Josh Montzingo said. “That was a great football game, two of the top teams in the state going head-to-head. It really sucks that somebody had to lose and sucks more that it was us. But I’m so proud of the boys and how they fought through this game to have a chance in the end to win it.”


Early on, the Miners found themselves in a 14-point hole at the half. 


The Riverhawks struck first in the opening quarter after on fourth-and-one from the one-yard line, they punched it in. Park City responded with a touchdown by senior Seth Warner at the 4:08 mark of the second quarter. The Miners were aided in the drive when sophomore quarterback Chase Beyer four senior tight end Troy De la Vega for a 40-yard completion on third-and-eight to set up the touchdown.


The tie was short-lived as Ridgeline took the ball and drove down the field for a touchdown on its ensuing possession. Then disaster struck when after getting the ball back, the Miners were forced to punt with less than a minute on the clock. But after a bad snap and a fumble, Ridgeline returned the ball 50 yards for a touchdown and the 21-7 advantage at the half.


“Going into the halftime we were definitely a little down,” Warner said. “But we’d been there before and we knew we could come back. We’ve been a second half team all season long so we felt like we still had a chance. … We had so much trust in one another that we knew we could get the job done.”


Park City came out on fire to start the second half when senior Kirby Baynes bolted 60 yards on the second play of the drive to put the Miners at the Ridgeline 9-yard line. Warner then scored his second touchdown two plays later. 


This is when things got interesting, and frankly, very entertaining. 


Baynes intercepted Ridgeline quarterback Kaden Cox on the next play, giving the Miners the ball at their own 48. But then junior running back Max Alford, who’s been Park City’s top rusher this season, fumbled on the next play which was recovered by the Riverhawks.


Ridgeline then drove the ball deep into Miners territory before Cox threw his second interception. Miners sophomore linebacker Brayden Beyer tipped the ball into the air before senior safety Ben Hale got the interception at Park City’s own 18 yard line.


The Miners drove the ball to its own 48, and when faced with a fourth-and-eight, had a decision to make. Montzingo called a timeout to talk it over with coaches and what ensued was a beautifully executed halfback pass.  


Beyer pitched the ball to Carson Tabaracci, who sprinted towards the sidelines for a few yards before stopping, planting his foot and throwing the ball 45 yards on a dime to senior Trond Grizzell for the touchdown, tying the score at 21 late in the third quarter.


Ridgeline responded on the first play of the fourth quarter, when its own halfback pass went for a 48-yard touchdown. The Miners responded on the next drive when Chase found De la Vega for a 35-yard touchdown, tying the game at 28.


The Riverhawks took a 35-28 look on its next drive, but Park City refused to quit. On the second play of their drive, Baynes ran 72 yards for the touchdown, tying it at 35 with 5:59 to play.


Warner gave Park City a chance to win it at the end when he intercepted Cox at the 3:57 mark, giving the Miners the ball at their own 19. But the drive stalled and Park City was forced to punt, giving Ridgeline the ball at its own 33 with 57 seconds to play. 


The Riverhawks then scored a touchdown with seven seconds left, thus ending the Miners season.


“It hurts a lot but I couldn’t be more proud of this team and the way we fought,” Baynes said postgame. “A lot of teams talk about being a family, but we actually are one. … I have total faith that next season’s team will take care of things. I’m just honored to have been a part of this program and hopefully inspire the next generation of players.”


Park City ended the season 9-3 overall and 7-0 in Region 10, winning another region title for the second consecutive season. The Miners will send at least five seniors to college on football scholarships, led by De la Vega, Baynes, Warner and Coco Lukrich, where the Pac-12’s Stanford is seen as the favorite to land the three-star’s services.