On Grantsville’s homecoming night, the Cowboys football team capped the week of festivities off with a 27-15 victory over the visiting Ben Lomond Scots.
In its region-opening game, the young, inexperienced Cowboys faced a senior-laden Scots team who came into the match with a 3-2 overall record. In the first quarter, the Cowboys capitalized on one untimely Ben Lomond penalty after another.
A first drive three-and-out by the Scots led to great field position going the other way and Grantsville wasted no time on their first possession. A 35-yard-pass by quarterback Dallan Van Vliet set up a one-yard touchdown run, opening the scoring at 7-0. Van Vliet finished the game with 104 passing yards, completing seven of his 19 passes.
Running back Alexander Garcia was also a big contributor throughout the game, as he recorded 112 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run toward the end of the second quarter to put Grantsville ahead 14-0.
On the other end of the ball, Ben Lomond continued to be plagued by penalties over the game’s first 24 minutes, which hindered their ability to create quality drives. Though the Scots managed to get on the board early in the second, cutting Grantsville’s lead to 14-6, the Cowboys made them pay on two costly penalties on the next drive.
This time, it was Van Vliet connecting with Isaac Riding on a 25-yard touchdown pass, to regain the two-score margin at 21-6.
After what Grantsville head coach Kody Byrd called his team’s best first half of the season, the Cowboys found themselves under considerable pressure for the remainder of the game. Ben Lomond came out of the half with a purpose and, in their opening drive of the third quarter, strung together a solid five-play scoring drive to bring the score to 21-12.
Byrd said his players did well weathering the storm following the touchdown, as each team made defensive stops to keep the score close, which also led to turnovers and punts on most drives.
“They [Ben Lomond] picked up their effort right out of half[time],” Byrd said. “We just told our guys that we need a first down; just concentrate on us.”
A field goal by the Scots late in the third set up a tense fourth quarter and found Grantsville clinging to a narrow 21-15 lead. While a 51-yard field goal by kicker Joe Wright widened the gap to 24-15, Ben Lomond kept pressing. Wright later kicked a 38-yard field goal to put the game at 27-15 late in the quarter.
The field goal wound up being the killing blow, as an interception by the Cowboys on the next drive enabled them to run the clock out and clinch the win.
While he was satisfied with the overall effort, Byrd felt there were still kinks the team needed to address.
“We needed to have a couple better drives to stop the momentum,” he said. “But the kids made the plays when they had to.”
Grantsville brought its record to .500 with the victory, as their overall record is 3-3. The team takes its 1-0 region record into Ogden this week, as they face the first-place Tigers on Friday.
“It’s a really tough Ogden team,” Thanks Byrd said. “[Though] I told them in the huddle, ‘we need to worry about us’ — but we’ve been improving every week.”