The Bears had kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter to take a 6-0 lead, but the Red Devils were able to engineer a 75-yard drive in the final two minutes. GCHS receiver Layton Call caught a crucial 18-yard pass from Koi Cook at the Bears’ 4-yard line, and was tackled about a half-yard shy of the goal line. The Red Devils called their last time out with nine seconds left to set up one final play.
“We called a quarterback sneak,” said GCHS head coach Dennis Wells. “If they would have stopped us, that would have been the end, because we had no more time outs.”
Fortunately for the Red Devils, Cook was able to break through for the one-yard score, making the score 6-6 with six seconds remaining in the contest. Kicker Koby Sobremesana, who’d missed a field goal earlier, then took the field to attempt the extra-point conversion. His kick was true, giving the Red Devils the one-point victory.
The contest, played at Summit Academy on Friday, Oct. 4, was the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Although the Bears came into the game with a winless 0-6 record, they managed to give the Red Devils all they could handle throughout the non-region contest.
Cook had left the game with an ankle injury early in the second quarter and didn’t return to action until late in the third. Junior Tanner White filled in at quarterback while Cook was on the sidelines.
“Koi sprained his ankle, and we didn’t want to chance it,” Wells said. “I felt we should have handled Summit Academy and save [Cook] for next week. He kept telling me he was ready to go back in, so I let him.”
Cook finished with 97 yards passing, completing eight of 12 attempts, while White added 90 yards passing and was four of seven in completions. Cook also rushed for a team-high 77 yards on 17 carries.
Grand was able to advance the ball inside the Bears’ 20-yard line four times during the first half, but came up short each time, losing the ball once to a fumble, turning it over on downs, and missing a field goal. When the clock expired at halftime, it cut short another Grand drive just as the Red Devils were nearing the end zone yet again.
The Bears almost scored a touchdown in the third quarter, as they got as close as Grand’s 5-yard line. But defender Andy Bathemess intercepted a pass in the end zone on third down, giving the Red Devils the ball.
Summit Academy finally broke the scoreless tie with 8:15 left in the fourth quarter, as kicker Zach Stanford booted a 39-yard field goal to give the Bears a 3-0 lead. Stanford added a second field goal with 1:59 left in the fourth, making the score 6-0 but leaving the Red Devils with just enough time left for their last-minute heroics.
“We did what it took to win in the end,” Wells said, adding, “This should help us later.”
Grand improved to 6-1 on the season with the victory, 3-1 in 2A South division play. The Red Devils have two regular season games remaining: against Parowan at Moab at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 and against San Juan at Blanding on Thursday, Oct. 17.
“Both teams [Parowan and San Juan] are winning and looking good,” Wells said. “We can struggle against any team if we don’t show up ready to play.”
Parowan is 4-3 overall, 2-3 in region play, but has beaten both North Sevier and South Sevier over the past two weeks. San Juan is currently 4-3 overall, 3-2 in region.
Division-leading Beaver is 6-1 overall, 4-0 in region, including a win over Grand. The Beavers can wrap up the 2A South division title with a win over either South Sevier or Enterprise in their last two games.
“Beaver would have to lose both of those games for us to be able to take region, which seems unlikely,” Wells said. “Even if we win out, we would take second and Beaver first, if Beaver wins at least one more game. San Juan could also take second with two more wins, including a win over us next week.”
A first or second-place finish in division means a first-round bye in the playoffs, which start the week after the conclusion of the regular season. The quarterfinal games will take place the weekend of Nov. 1 and 2 at the home fields of the higher-seeded schools. The two 2A semi-final games are scheduled for Nov. 9 at Southern Utah University in Cedar City. The 2A state championship game will be Saturday, Nov. 16 at Weber State University in Ogden.