Grantsville shut out Tooele 21-0 Friday night with three first-half touchdowns. Neither team could muster a score in the second half.
The Cowboys were unstoppable on their methodical opening drive, which included mostly running plays between the tackles. Grantsville drove 78 yards on 18 plays and burned eight minutes off the clock to go up 7-0 with three minutes left in the first quarter.
The drive included solid runs by Wyatt Smith, Ky Fisher and quarterback Nephi Meono. The Cowboys converted on a long third-down play with a pass to Dillon Hutchins, and were able to keep the drive alive converting on a fourth-and short. After a 10-yard run by Fisher down to the 15, a face mask penalty hurt the Buffaloes and put the ball on the 5-yard line. Fisher scored from 5 yards out.
Tooele gave up its first of four turnovers on its next offensive series on a double blitz by the Cowboys. A big hit knocked the ball to the turf and Grantsville’s Devin Adams pounced on it at the Tooele 28.
Grantsville went for it on a fourth-and-eight at the 26, and Fisher ran to the 22. But a THS personal foul bailed out the Cowboys and put the ball on the 11 to allow the drive to continue. A chop block hurt the Cowboys, and Tooele’s Zac Cruz came up with a big tackle to give Tooele the ball back at the 3-yard line. But Tooele fumbled it right back to the Cowboys.
Penalties on both teams eventually gave Grantsville the ball at the THS 5-yard line on third down. Two runs by Fisher pushed the ball into the end zone, and Grantsville led 14-0 with 7:51 left until halftime. Ethan Steinfeldt kicked the PAT.
Grantsville needed only one minute to score its third touchdown of the game with an 80-yard drive.
Smith gained a big chunk of yardage on a run, and the Cowboys were soon at midfield after a pass completion to tight end Devin Adams. Meono scrambled for 15 to the 35, and then hit tight end Jacob Riding with a pass down to the 5-yard line. Fisher ran it in for the final TD of the game with 1:07 left until halftime.
“Our defense was as good as advertised, but I walked off the field a little disappointed with our offensive production in the second half,” said Grantsville coach Tony Cloward.
“To be a championship-caliber team we have a goal to put up 28 points a game. I would have liked to have duplicated the first-half 21 points with another 21 in the second half,” the coach said.
The Grantsville coach said Tooele made the right adjustments on defense at halftime.
“You have to give credit to Tooele. They always play us tough in Tooele, and their team is much improved from last year,” he said.
Tooele coach Kyle Brady said his team improved only slightly from week one at Cyprus to week two at home against Grantsville.
“We played a little better, but we gave up two big long drives. We let them convert on fourth down and long third-down plays,” Brady said. “On offense we just gave up too many turnovers.”
Grantsville’s defense attacks and thrives on forcing turnovers.
The Cowboys’ two defensive ends, Adams and Riding, are senior three-year starters. They both are 6-feet-3-inches tall and weigh about 195 pounds.
“We’re not the heaviest players so we like to rely on our speed and we like to attack on defense. It’s a fun defense with a lot of blitzes,” Adams said.
In the middle of the defensive line between Adams and Riding are nose tackles Colton Adams and Noah Mecham who alternate throughout the game.
“We’re always blitzing and our defense confuses offenses. We can have up to five players blitzing on a play. Our defense is built for fun,” Riding said.
Defensive coordinator Curtis Ware said this year’s defense is better at nearly all the positions.
The Cowboys will need to be at the top of their game when Manti visits Grantsville on Friday. The Templars moved up to 3A this year after ruling 2A football the past two seasons as two-time defending 2A champions. The Templars are 2-0 this season with relatively easy wins over 4A teams Mountain View and Provo. The game will be a big challenge for the Cowboys.
Tooele has an excellent chance to win on Friday when it hosts Canyon View. Canyon View won one game all last season. This year the Falcons have lost to Beaver 45-13 and Cedar 63-2.