By Nathaniel Smith • The Times-Independent
The Grand County High School football team spoiled North Sevier’s homecoming on Friday, Sept. 21, shutting out the Wolves and running away with a 30-0 victory. Some flashes on special teams were the only bright spots for the Wolves as the Red Devil defense stifled North Sevier’s air attack while the offense got it done on the ground.
North Sevier entered the region showdown with its quarterback leading 2A in passing yards and touchdowns. Grand handled the threat with a strong pass rush and tight coverage, preventing the Wolves from getting anything going on offense. On the other side of the ball, North Sevier had no answer for Grand’s three-pronged rushing attack of junior Bryant Troutt, senior Trent Elmore and senior Corbin Arbon.
A 39-yard kickoff return set North Sevier up with good field position on the game’s opening drive, but Grand’s defense didn’t budge an inch – stuffing two running plays behind the line of scrimmage and then forcing an incomplete pass. After going three and out, North Sevier’s punt pinned the Red Devils inside their own 20-yard line.
Grand’s offense got right to work marching down the field as Troutt and Elmore both tore through the Wolves’ defensive line. Arbon scampered into the end zone on a big run after a double handoff, but a holding flag negated the score. Unphased, Grand kept chugging forward with Troutt completing a 32-yard pass to junior tight end Trae Meyer to bring the Devils inside the 10-yard line. Grand ran another reverse to Arbon and he strolled untouched into the end zone, this time without a holding call to bring it back. Sophomore Dante Wells drilled the extra point to put Grand up 7-0.
Moab again struggled to wrap up North Sevier’s kick returner and the Wolves started another drive near midfield. North Sevier moved the ball into the red zone and was poised to put some points on the board. However, Elmore dashed those hopes when he forced and recovered a fumble to give the ball back to the Red Devils.
The Wolves stacked nine defenders in the box attempting to stop the run, but it was futile. Grand continued to consistently pick up yards on the ground, driving over 80 yards for another score. Troutt used a good push from his offensive line to cap the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. A mishap on the kick prevented Grand from nabbing the extra point and left the team with a 13-point lead early in the second quarter.
North Sevier’s next drive resulted in a turnover on downs when Elmore tackled the quarterback short of the first-down marker during a designed run. An illegal blocking penalty stalled the Red Devils on the following drive, which ended with a punt.
Grand forced North Sevier into another fourth-down situation on the following drive. As the Wolves dropped back to pass, senior lineman Jarett Reidhead tore into the backfield and came up with a sack.
Troutt ran for two first downs and brought the Red Devils within the Wolves’ territory before Wells subbed in at quarterback. On his first play of the game behind center, Wells lofted a pass into the end zone. The ball sailed over two North Sevier defenders safely into the hands of senior Stacy Randall. Wells then tacked on the extra point.
The Wolves went three and out on their final drive of the half, punting the ball back to Grand with only enough time for a single play. Wells’s pass fell incomplete to close the half with the Red Devils up 20-0.
Grand took advantage of starting the third quarter with the ball to add to the lead. Elmore showed Grand’s running game was still in high gear by charging up the middle for a 28-yard gain on the second play from scrimmage of the half. The Red Devils continued grinding out yards and Troutt kept the chains moving with a run on fourth down. A 10-yard run from Arbon was stopped just short of the goal, but a couple plays later he was able to get into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the night. The extra point from Wells put Grand up 27-0.
The Red Devil kick coverage looked stronger in the second half and the defense remained immovable. North Sevier punted after failing to move the ball on three straight plays. Grand started with good field position and quickly moved the ball inside the red zone, but the drive ended when Troutt threw an interception.
Grand dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. As the Red Devils racked up yards on the ground, many North Sevier runs ended in losses. Though the Wolves had been successful passing in other games this season, one wouldn’t guess as much from watching North Sevier take on the Red Devils. Grand kept the quarterback constantly under pressure while the secondary locked down receivers and broke up passes.
After the Wolves turned the ball over on downs yet again, Grand took over around midfield. Troutt faked a pitch, shed a tackle and then ran for about 23 yards to start the drive. A few runs set Grand up with fourth and inches inside the red zone, which Troutt was able convert. Faced with a longer fourth down situation on the next set of downs, Grand opted to kick a field goal. Wells drilled the 33-yard try to put Grand comfortably ahead 30-0 with 7:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was primarily a defensive affair. Grand tried different looks on offense, allowing Wells and senior Andrew Hansen to take some snaps at quarterback. Junior Joey Cloud ended North Sevier’s final drive by picking off a pass with only about two minutes left in the game.
Troutt led Grand’s rushing offense with 163 yards on 20 carries. Arbon added 99 yards on 15 carries. Elmore carried the ball 16 times for a total of 96 yards. Defensively, senior Austin Johnson led the team with eight tackles. Juniors Brayden Troutt and Clynn Backus each totaled seven tackles. Reidhead also racked up seven tackles and added two sacks.
Following the road win, Grand sits atop the 2A South Region standings, tied with rival San Juan. Both the Red Devils and the Broncos are 4-2 overall with a 2-0 region record. Next, on Friday, Sept. 28, Grand will travel to Enterprise for a game against another team of Wolves. Enterprise is 2-4 on the season and is yet to win a region game. Notably, Enterprise fell to North Sevier 25-7. Grand’s next home game will be played on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. against Beaver.