Football teams that commit more turnovers than their opponents usually have a hard time winning — in fact, according to FootballPerspective.com, National Football League teams that lose the turnover battle only win 22% of the time.
That trend holds true at the high school level, as well. Grantsville was the latest team to suffer the consequences of too many turnovers, as four interceptions and a lost fumble led to the Cowboys’ 22-16 loss to South Summit in their homecoming game Friday night at Cowboy Stadium. Despite outgaining the visiting Wildcats 363-286, picking up 16 first downs to South Summit’s 14 and committing just six penalties to the ’Cats’ 10, the turnovers were too much to overcome as the Wildcats scored 16 points off Grantsville’s mistakes.
The Cowboys (4-3, 0-1 Region 13) committed their first turnover of the game late in the first quarter, as quarterback Caleb Sullivan’s pass was snagged by South Summit’s James Lott. The Wildcats (4-3, 1-1) coughed up the ball four plays later when Joey Scorsone knocked the ball away from quarterback Kyler Sudweeks and Kaden Kelley recovered the fumble, but Grantsville gave it right back on the next play. Sullivan’s pass was deflected by Bobby Freeman and Marshal Cox picked it off, giving the Wildcats the ball on their own 41-yard line early in the second quarter.
South Summit moved the ball 59 yards over the next 10 plays, as Sudweeks hit Hunter Zenger for an 11-yard pass and Caleby Thompson had a 23-yard catch and run. Sudweeks found Thompson for a 5-yard touchdown pass to put the Wildcats in front, though Zenger’s point-after attempt was blocked to keep South Summit’s lead at 6-0.
That’s where the score stayed for a while, as another turnover foiled Grantsville’s most promising drive of the first half. After an 18-yard shovel pass from Sullivan to Dillen Richardson moved the ball to the South Summit 22 late in the half, Sullivan’s next pass was picked off by the Wildcats’ Nick Smith. The ’Cats quickly moved into Grantsville territory on a 38-yard run by Dart Sanchez, but Sudweeks was intercepted by Blake Thomas on the next play.
The teams traded punts on their first possessions of the second half, but Grantsville had something going on its second drive. Sullivan hit Noah Mouritsen for an 18-yard completion, and then ran for 24 yards on a quarterback keeper to move the Cowboys into the red zone. Unfortunately for Grantsville, Kelley had the ball stripped away on the next play and South Summit recovered on its own 11.
That led to another lengthy scoring drive for the Wildcats, who took advantage of a 40-yard completion to Thompson and a 14-yard run by Sudweeks to get the ball to the Grantsville 14 before their drive stalled. Zenger booted a 31-yard field goal to give South Summit a 9-0 lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
Grantsville turned the ball over on downs on its next drive after going from its own 10-yard line to the Wildcats’ 38. Then, the Cowboys appeared to catch a break when a wayward South Summit punt ricocheted off a lineman and traveled just 10 yards downfield, setting up Grantsville’s next possession in prime field position at its own 41.
But that’s when disaster struck again. On third-and-6, Sullivan tried to find an open receiver, but he found South Summit’s Freeman instead. Freeman intercepted the pass and sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown, and Zenger’s extra point extended the Wildcats’ lead to 16-0 with 5:17 left in the contest.
Grantsville tried desperately to get back in the game. Sullivan was 5-for-7 on the Cowboys’ next drive, needing just 1:27 to move GHS 92 yards. He came up with a 23-yard completion to Mouritsen, and a pass interference call against the Wildcats on third-and-7 moved the Cowboys into South Summit territory. On the next play, Sullivan hit Ethan Rainer in stride down the left sideline for a 38-yard touchdown pass. He completed a pass to Kelley for the two-point conversion, pulling the Cowboys within a single score at 16-8 with 3:50 left.
Grantsville briefly thought it recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Wildcats were able to fall on it. The Cowboys used all three of their timeouts in an effort to get the ball back, but Sanchez dealt their hopes a fatal blow with a 36-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left in the game.
Grantsville put together another quick scoring drive, featuring a 20-yard completion to Mouritsen and a 12-yard completion to Richardson. The Cowboys got to the 10-yard line, thanks in part to a personal foul against South Summit, and Sullivan ran it in from there before finding Richardson for the two-point conversion with 1:59 remaining. However, South Summit was able to run out the clock after the onside kick attempt went out of bounds.
Sullivan was 23-for-36 for 235 yards through the air, and added 64 rushing yards on eight carries. Mouritsen had five catches for 87 yards, while Richardson caught six balls for 39 yards and Josh Staley had five catches for 43 yards. Gabe Mouritsen ran for 31 yards on seven attempts.
Kelley had a team-high seven tackles, with one tackle-for loss. Rainer had three pass breakups.
Sudweeks was 16-for-32 for 175 yards through the air, and he rushed for 36 yards. Thompson had 10 catches for 102 yards and Sanchez ran for 94 yards on 10 carries for the Wildcats.
Grantsville will play host to Summit Academy in its final regular-season home game of the year Friday night.