“South Summit is a very good team, and they showed up to play,” said GCHS head coach Dennis Wells. “We started out fine and our offense was moving the ball, but we made a couple of mistakes and pretty soon we were down 21-0 in the first quarter.”
“Defensively, we just couldn’t stop their running game,” Wells added. “We just didn’t show up.”
Grand began the game with possession the ball, and advanced the ball 20 yards on a run by Jacob Francis. Two plays later, however, Francis threw an interception. The Wildcats then scored a touchdown a few plays later. Grand’s next possession also ended in a turnover, with Grand fumbling the ball away on second down.
South Summit also capitalized on that turnover, scoring a few plays later on a 12-yard touchdown run by Colby Averett. That gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead just five minutes into the contest.
On Grand’s next possession, the Red Devils managed to advance the ball as far as the South Summit 32-yard line, when they faced a fourth-and-1 situation. Grand went for it and got the first down, but fumbled the ball again, and the Wildcats recovered.
South Summit then scored another touchdown several plays later, on a five-yard run by Carson Freestone that put the Wildcats up 21-0 with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.
During the second quarter, the Wildcats added two more touchdowns to build a formidable 35-0 halftime lead. They added one more touchdown during the third quarter to make it 42-0.
The game was played in freezing weather on a snow-covered field at Weber State University in Ogden, with the game not starting until after 5:40 p.m., more than an hour and a half later than the scheduled 4 p.m. starting time.
Nevertheless, hundreds of fans braved the miserably cold conditions to cheer on the Red Devils. Many had made the five-hour drive from Moab to Ogden, and some had traveled even farther than that.
Grand didn’t score until the game’s final minute, when Koi Cook broke into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown run with about 30 seconds remaining. Francis then completed a pass to tight end Kiel Schraft for the two-point conversion, making the final score 42-8.
Grand finished the game with just 101 yards rushing and another 101 yards passing for 202 yards of total offense. South Summit more than doubled that yardage total, racking up 354 yards rushing and 51 yards passing for a total of 405 yards.
Francis was Grand’s leading rusher, with 68 yards on 18 carries, while Cook added 28 yards on eight carries. Francis also completed seven of 17 passes, with three interceptions. Cook and Layton Call each made two pass receptions for Grand.
Defensively, Edgar Gomez led Grand with 12 tackles, while Call added 10.
The Red Devils finished their remarkable season with a 10-2 overall record. The team’s only defeat prior to the championship game was a 12-7 loss to Beaver on Sept. 20. The South Summit Wildcats finished their season with an 11-1 record. It was the Wildcats’ first state title since 1988.
The Red Devils had dedicated their season to the memory of sophomore lineman Sam Woodruff, who passed away on Aug. 10, just days before the season began. Few suspected at the time of Woodruff’s funeral on Aug. 16, that the team would be playing for the state title exactly three months later. Woodruff’s No. 62 jersey was officially retired during a school-wide pep assembly held Friday, Nov. 15, right before the team boarded their bus to head up to Ogden for the championship game.