The Grantsville football team is closing in on clinching home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but so far this season, the Cowboys have had more success on the road.
They’ll look to change that Friday night as they play host to Judge Memorial in a pivotal Class 3A North contest at Cowboy Stadium. The winner will have the inside track toward second place in the region standings and a potential first-round bye.
“It’s our goal to host a playoff game, though we’ve played better on the road,” Grantsville coach Kody Byrd said. “Hopefully, we can get our game going in front of our home fans this week.”
The Cowboys (3-4, 2-1 Class 3A North) have been on a roll the past two weeks, spoiling back-to-back homecoming games for Union and Carbon. Grantsville’s rushing attack has been stellar, and the defense has forced a high number of turnovers in recent weeks.
“We’ve got to run the ball and be able to control the clock,” Byrd said. “It was a big key (against Carbon) and it will be a big key this week. Any time we’re able to successfully run the ball, it opens up the offense for us.”
A win on Friday could ensure the Cowboys won’t leave Grantsville again unless they advance to the Class 3A semifinals next month at Weber State University in Ogden. However, Grantsville is 0-3 at home this season and 3-1 on the road, with the three wins coming after long bus rides to Pocatello, Idaho, Price and Roosevelt.
“We might have to take a drive out to Wendover or something (before the game),” Byrd joked.
Judge Memorial (3-4, 1-2) has had an up-and-down season. The Bulldogs beat Emery 35-33 in their first region game, but lost 28-21 to Morgan and were blown out 53-24 by a Union squad that lost 43-15 to Grantsville a week earlier. Judge Memorial was without quarterback Parker Edgington against Union, but the Bulldogs still managed 324 yards of offense.
Judge’s primary problem against Union was its defense, which allowed the Cougars to run for 301 yards a week after they ran for 6 yards against Grantsville. They will certainly need to tighten things up against Grantsville’s Parker Thomas and Gage Schmidt, as well as big-play threat Justin Richardson.
Friday’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Grantsville High School.