3A Matchup of the Week: Grantsville turns up the heat after halftime, beats San Juan 39-14

3A Matchup of the Week: Grantsville turns up the heat after halftime, beats San Juan 39-14

By Matt Harris | Grantsville football continued their winning streak last night and moved to 4-1 on the season as they outpaced the visiting San Juan Broncos, 39-14.

Grantsville maintained a slim 10-7 in the first half and blew the doors off after the break for the convincing win, powered by a dominant running performance.

The Cowboys star running back, senior Blake Thomas, shone as bright as ever with three touchdowns on the ground. Grantsville head coach Kody Byrd talked about how Thomas brings “that big play possibility” to the offense.

“Any play, he could take to the house,” Byrd said. “It’s a great weapon to have, and he plays well with the guys [on the line]. They love blocking for him.”

San Juan junior quarterback performed well with two touchdown passes, both to junior receiver Cooper Black. Head coach Barkley Christensen was unavailable to comment after the game.

Grantsville got on the board early, courtesy of Thomas. As the Cowboys faced a second-and-long situation, Thomas burst through the right edge on a draw play and outran the San Juan defense all the way to paydirt for a 78-yard touchdown.San Juan struck back in the first quarter’s final two minutes, taking a long drive all the way to the redzone. On fourth-and-eight, the Broncos rolled the dice, and Palmer found receiver Black on a cut to the middle of the endzone to tie the game.

The Cowboys were close to answering back with another touchdown on their ensuing drive, but Broncos sophomore linebacker Magnum Nielson delivered a knockout hit to sophomore receiver Dillan Richardson to break up a would-be touchdown completion, forcing Grantsville to settle for a 17-yard field goal make.

Coming out of halftime sporting a 10-7 lead, Grantsville turned up the heat in the third quarter. Quarterback Caleb Sullivan faked a handoff at the 50-yard line and took off up the left side for a 50-yard touchdown. After that, Thomas took over the show.

Thomas commanded the running game in the second half, scoring on consecutive drives. His first touchdown of the two came as he dove over a would-be tackler for a one-yard score and a double-digit lead, 17-7. On the Cowboys’ next possession, Thomas took advantage of another goal-line situation and traipsed across the goal line behind a bevy of blockers to make it 32-7. San Juan scored one more touchdown in the fourth quarter as Palmer found Black again for a 13-yard touchdown, but after the Cowboys scored a final time, it was all to be written.

The Cowboys’ defense held the Broncos to their lowest point total of the season and their lowest in nearly two full seasons. “We just challenged our kids,” Byrd said of his defense, “and they knew that San Juan was going to throw the ball, and so we challenged them.”

Grantsville has won four straight and their only loss this season came against an overpowering North Sanpete team in week 1. They’ll have another shot at playing a champion-caliber opponent when they host the 2A powerhouse Beaver Beavers next Friday, a game Byrd said he’s personally been looking forward to.

San Juan will have a breather in the form of a struggling South Sevier squad next week.

Featured image via Grantsville High School.

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