After shutting down Morgan on their first possession and scoring on their second, Grantsville football held a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Unfortunately a rough second and third quarter where the Cowboys were held scoreless was the difference Friday night as the Trojans pulled out the 35-21 victory in Grantsville.
Bridger Boman had a big day for the Cowboys at the quarterback position. Boman passed for 99 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 130 and another score with his legs. Tyson Hutchins was the main target in the passing game as he caught five balls for 90 yards and a score. Grantsville was hurt by the rushing tandem of Jordan Wamsley and Lawson Toomer who combined for 140 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Morgan victory.
With both offenses putting up three-and-outs to start the game, Grantsville made a move with its second possession. Starting its drive at mid-field, Grantsville earned a first down on a sevenyard run from Boman but after a holding penalty on Grantsville, the Cowboys appeared to be heading for a punt.
Grantsville thought nothing of a punt on first-and-25 as a short screen pass to Hutchins caught Morgan by surprise. Hutchins earned about 35 yards after the catch and found his way into the end zone for a 7-0 Cowboy lead.
“I think our kids understood two things about this game with Morgan,” said Grantsville football coach Tony Cloward about the way his team opened up the game. “They understood the rivalry with Morgan that Grantsville has and they understand it is a region game and each region game is important.”
On Morgan’s ensuing drive the Trojans found that right players at the right time. On a key fourth down, Trojan quarterback Matt Largent hit Braden Saunders for 15 yards and a first down. Largent, later on third down, again found Saunders for 17 yards to keep the drive alive. Those clutch passes enabled Largent to scramble into the end zone from two yards out to tie the game 7-7 in the first.
Morgan received a little help from Grantsville for their next score. The Cowboys lost a fumble on their second play and gave the Trojans the ball 25 yards from another score. Wamsley carried the ball over the goal line from a yard out to put Morgan up 14-7 in the second.
Moving the ball on their next drive, Grantsville’s Boman found Hutchins twice to move the ball into Morgan territory. On a second down play however, Morgan’s Saunders dove toward a Grantsville pass as the ball appeared to hit the ground but the officials ruled it an interception to end the Cowboy drive. Both team’s offenses sputtered out the rest of the half to keep the game 14-7 in Morgan’s favor.
The second half started out good for Grantsville as they were able to force a Morgan fumble that Cowboy Dakota Leetham recovered. Grantsville even moved the ball into Morgan territory and got as close as 30 yards away from tying the game. But a big illegal forward pass penalty stalled the Cowboy drive.
The defensive stop for Morgan must have fueled their offense. With big runs of 14, 11 and 14 yards from Randon Prochnow helped set up a pass from Largent to Wamsley to put the Trojans up 21-7 in the third.
For the second consecutive time, Grantsville again got into Morgan territory but again stalled and turned over the ball on downs. Two big runs in a row, 36 yards from Toomer and a 13- yard run by Largent helped set up a touchdown run by Toomer from two yards out to make the score 28-7 early in the fourth.
Starting off the drive with three consecutive big plays, a pass play for 12 yards sandwiched by two running plays of 27 and 11 set another Morgan score. A three yard run by Wamsley helped Morgan score on their third straight possession and build a 35-7 lead with 5:05 left in the game.
Trailing by 28 points didn’t prompt the Cowboys to quit, in fact they put together one of their most impressive drives of the game. Boman and Kort Fonger had big runs of 14 and 12 respectively to keep the ball moving for Grantsville. Turning to the passing game, Boman found Hutchins and Dalen Erickson on back to back plays, with the pass to Erickson being a 10-yard touchdown to cut the Morgan lead to 35-14.
Looking for a miracle, Grantsville tried an onside kick and Dane Durfee kicked the ball well enough for the Cowboys to recover with 1:38 left in the game. It took Grantsville two plays and a facemask penalty to knock another score in the end zone when Boman scored from three yards out to again cut the Morgan lead 35-21.
“These kids don’t quit and they are starting to believe in themselves,” Cloward said. “We have to win the little battles in the game and if we can put together four strong quarters then we can beat anyone.”
Durfee booted another onside kick with 1:17 left in the game. He curved the ball perfectly just over the 10-yard minimum, but Morgan was able to recover the ball to put away the Cowboys.
“Our kids are battling and playing hard on each down,” Cloward said. “I was pleased with how many empty tanks there were after the game, the kids gave it their all.”
Grantsville will look for their first region victory when they travel to South Jordan to face Juan Diego on Friday at 7 p.m.