Grantsville’s football team punched a ticket to the Class 3A state quarterfinals for the second-straight season with a 47-14 shellacking of Emery on Friday at Cowboy Stadium.
Grantsville’s defense limited the Spartans to one fourth-quarter touchdown, while the offense poured it on early with four first-half TDs, plus a 74-yard kickoff return for a TD by Ethan Rainer, to score 33 first-half points.
Grantsville (6-5) held the Spartan offense scoreless in the first half, but gave up a 17-yard interception return for a TD to lead 33-7 at intermission.
“The boys had a good week of practice and stayed focused. We talked to them about playing for each other, not just for themselves individually, and to show the seniors how much they cared about them by keeping the season alive and moving on in the playoffs,” Cowboys coach Kody Byrd said. “It was good to see after a couple of rough weeks.”
Emery took the opening kickoff and drove to the Grantsville 23-yard line, but Noah Mouritsen intercepted a Spartan pass at the 1-yard line and returned it 64 yards to snuff out the drive and set up the Cowboys’ offense in great field position.
“That was a big play, and shifted the momentum,” the coach said. “We threw a few different coverages at them that they weren’t used to.”
Grantsville played physical and aggressive on defense all night. Coaches changed up the defensive scheme not only to confuse Emery, but to get their own players excited.
“We wanted to get them excited with something new and it kind of flipped a switch,” the coach said.
The Cowboys needed only three plays to score after Mouritsen’s interception put the ball on the Emery 36. Caleb Sullivan gained yardage on a keeper and completed a pass to Grant Rounds before a 17-yard TD run by Blake Thomas. Nate Wright added the PAT to make it 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
The Cowboys scored on a 66-yard drive to close out the first quarter. Dillen Richardson grabbed a 36-yard pass during the drive and Sullivan connected with Josh Staley to push the ball inside the 10-yard line. Kaden Kelley hauled in a 3-yard TD pass to give the Cowboys a 13-0 lead. The PAT failed.
Grantsville scored two touchdowns in the second quarter on a 37-yard pass from Logan White to Staley and a 4-yard run by Thomas. Thomas’s run was set up by lengthy runs by Sullivan, who rushed for 108 yards on nine carries in the game.
An interception return for a touchdown by Emery made it 26-7 Cowboys with 57 seconds until halftime, but Rainer took a short kickoff and raced 65 yards to make it 33-7 at halftime.
Grantsville added two third-quarter touchdowns with a 30-yard run from Thomas and a 65-yard run by Cage Johnson.
Thomas rushed 13 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns and Cage Johnson ran three times for 81 yards.
Sullivan completed 10-of-15 passes for 97 yards. Kelley caught two passes for 20 yards and Staley snagged two tosses for 53 yards.
Senior linemen Branson Yager and Hunter Johnson combined for three pancake blocks. Tackle leaders included Thomas with eight; Kelly, six; Gabe Mouritsen, five; Rounds, five; Rainer, four; and Karter Bohman, three.
Kai Tanaka, Gabe Mouritsen, Rounds and Kelley each had a sack. Tyson Hodgson recovered a fumble.
Grantsville plays at Summit Academy on Friday at 6 p.m.