The loss of 11 seniors from the 2018 campaign that ended with a shot at the state title proved costly as the 2019 campaign begins. The Grand County Red Devils football team lost 0-51 to the Morgan Trojans on Friday, Aug. 16, in Moab.
Morgan played a great game. Quarterback Carter Thackeray moved the ball quickly and efficiently. Thackeray loved to pass. He had perfect timing and he was accurate.
The Trojans’ defense was on point, too. Morgan consistently pinned down the Red Devils deep in their own end and they caused several fumbles. The third quarter in particular was prolonged and painful because Grand repeatedly turned over the ball.
The crowd remained loyal and for the most part did not skip out early, despite the lopsided score.
In the plus column, the Red Devils’ defense played better than the score indicates. Players who were on last year’s team were on the ball. Sophomore Sage Stroder batted the ball away at a critical time when Morgan was on the move. Junior Dante Wells had an interception and he picked up a fumble caused by senior Brayden Cloud.
There were no excuses, but perhaps the loss was expected because Grand County will experience some growing pains this season. Last year the Red Devils took the regional championship and went to state. And then all those seniors graduated. In addition, the team has been moved to the 3A league, after competing in the 2A category in the past.
On the first game day of this year, Grand manned the field with a roster of 36 players, fully half that are underclassmen, including 13 freshmen, to go along with nine juniors and nine seniors. In contrast, Morgan took the field with 31 players – 22 seniors, eight juniors, one sophomore and no freshmen.
The Red Devils face Providence Hall at home at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.