Football isn't an official sport nor an exhibition sport at the Utah Summer Games - but a football game Wednesday night at the SUSC Thunderbird Stadium proved to be a timely addition to the annual festival.
But don't expect football to become a yearly competitive event at the Summer Games - the 1A-2A high school all-star game, played Wednesday, served well as a sideshow attraction.Some of the participating football players - all graduated seniors from last year's 1A and 2A teams - were already in town participating in other sporting events. And the Summer Games already had spectators in hand. So why not spice up the international-athletics flavor with some good, old, American football.
Despite some out-of-shape participants and the half-dozen turnovers common to a pair of come-together-at-the-last-minute-all-star teams, the South 1A-2A all-stars shut out their counterparts from the North, 23-0.
South quarterback Mike Brown of San Juan High, the 1989 Deseret News 2A prep MVP, threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to San Juan teammate Mike Bowring in the first quarter and a 16-yard scoring pass to Grand County High's Ryon Jones in the third quarter for the South's first two TDs. Parowan High's Matt Rogerson kicked the two point-after conversions for the 14-0 lead.
The North threatened to cut into the deficit toward the close of the third quarter, with a first-and-10 opportunity at the South 10-yard line. After losing yardage in a big way - an intentional grounding penalty, an incomplete pass and a sack - the North went for a first down on fourth-and-41 . . . and lost even more yardage on its fake-punt attempt.
South scored twice in the game's final minute - Millard High's Michael Rhinehart and Kanab High's Travis Clark tackled North QB Mark Wheeler of Morgan High in the end zone for a safety with 51 seconds to play. Then a 40-yard flea-flicker pass play among Parowan teammates - from QB Brandon Thornton to wide-out Greg Townsend, and from Townsend to running back Brandt Stubbs - set up a 14-yard scoring halfback pass from Hurricane High's Chris Hurst to Jones. Rogerson's PAT kick made for the 23-0 final score.
Other midweek Utah Summer Games highlights included:
Boxing: Roberto Duran won a gold medal at Wednesday's boxing finals - but it wasn't the former world champion with whom most are acquainted. This Roberto Duran hails from Ogden, winning the gold in the 60-pound youth division.
Wrestling: The open division featured a number of former collegiate wrestlers, like Chris Brown of Payson, who won the 136-pound division with little trouble; and North Region's Greg Williams, who won two divisions at 180 and 196.
Sandy's John Kelly won golds in both the high school 123-pound division and the open 125 category. And the South Division's Todd Sorenson achieved the fasted pin in the gold-medal finals in just 31 seconds.
Shooting: Taun Barton of Springville broke his own record in the scholastic division of the ISU center-fire pistol with a mark of 194 - 62 points better than his previous record.
Three other shooters had double-gold performances Wednesday. Salt Lake City's Shawn Healy won the scholastic division's free pistol and rapid-fire pistol (.22 caliber); the South Region's Paul Difrancisco won the same two events in the open division; and Salt Lake City's Courtney Healy won the rapid-fire and center-fire in the senior division.
Gymnastics: With a number of the gymnastics competitions doubling as the state meet, Bountiful's Sarah Larrabee won four gold medals and a silver in the all-classes 15-and-older division, South Jordan's Tiane Middleton earned two gold and three silver medals in the all-classes 9-11 division, and Draper's Brittnee Stone and Salt Lake City's Amy Daly won two gold each in the all-classes 12-14 division.