By Nathaniel Smith • The Times-Independent
The Grand County High School football team defeated American Leadership Academy for its first road win of the season last Friday, Aug. 31.
The Red Devils’ dominant running game led them to a 56-14 victory over previously undefeated ALA after the Eagles’ starting quarterback left the game due to a collarbone injury.
Grand won the coin toss and deferred the ball. American Leadership marched down the field after completing a 40-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage.
After running for a first down inside the red zone, starting quarterback Jacob Negus stayed down and then left the field for the remainder of the game. ALA punched the ball in to take a 7-0 lead.
The Red Devil offense was quick to respond. After a good return from Brayden Cloud, Corbin Arbon tore off a 16-yard run to midfield. Dante Wells connected with Stacy Randall on a 47-yard pass to bring the Red Devils to the three-yard line. Wells then ran the ball into the end zone and kicked the extra point to tie the game with 6:37 left in the first quarter.
American Leadership returned the ensuing kickoff into Grand’s territory, but fumbled on the next play. Jarett Reidhead recovered the loose ball. Wells and Bryant Troutt each took snaps as Grand drove down the field. Trent Elmore ran six yards for a touchdown to give the Red Devils the lead.
Grand’s defense stifled the Eagles’ next drive, forcing a punt from their own end zone. Using good field position, the Red Devils soon built up the lead. Troutt scored on a 19-yard run, but the extra point was missed. With 11:49 remaining in the second quarter, Grand was up 20-7.
Cloud picked off a pass, and the Red Devils didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the turnover. On the next play, Arbon ran 31 yards for a touchdown. Bailey Shelton nailed the extra point.
ALA was forced to punt the next series. Grand was moving the ball, but Cloud fumbled after running for good yardage. The Eagles recovered, but their offense was unable to capitalize and punted again.
With only 2:12 left in the half, the Red Devils started from their own 12-yard line. It didn’t matter. Randall caught a pass close to midfield then dodged four defenders and made it all the way to the end zone for an 88-yard touchdown reception. Shelton hit the extra point to put the Red Devils up 34-7 going into the halftime.
Starting the third quarter with possession of the ball, Grand’s offense didn’t miss a beat. Aided by an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Eagles, the Red Devils ran the ball down the field. Arbon, Troutt and Elmore all had good carries before Troutt scored on a three-yard quarterback keeper. Grand went for a two-point conversion so the 35-point mercy rule would go into effect.
American leadership lost the ball on the next drive when Reidhead recovered his second fumble of the game. Thanks to consistently stellar blocking, Grand’s running game continued to prove unstoppable. On a fourth down and short yardage situation inside the Eagles’ red zone, the Red Devils went for it and Elmore put six more points on the board with a 15-yard run. The extra point put Grand up 49-7 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
ALA threw a touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. The mercy rule kept the clock running and Grand put in subs to let other players get a few carries. Fullback Chris Thompson scored on a 12-yard run. The Eagles kept fighting, but two interceptions prevented them from putting up any more points. The final score was 56-14.
Following the road win, the Red Devils have a two-game home stand. At 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, Grand will face off against Millard in Moab. For the homecoming game on Sept. 14, the Red Devils will take on South Sevier.