KAMAS, Summit County — It's nice to get a second chance. Just ask the Wasatch Wasps and running back Pat Burns.
Grantsville took it to the Wasps earlier in the preseason, but Wasatch used good defense and a little trickery to avenge that loss and advance in the 3A playoffs with a 14-7 overtime victory.
In the first game of the season, the Cowboys beat Wasatch 34-7. So according to Wasatch coach Ron Tree, what was different this time around?
"We matured," he said. "Our kids have just gotten better as football players, and our younger kids have gotten used to starting and making plays."
It was Grantsville, however, that made the first big plays of the game. The Cowboys took the opening kickoff and marched to the Wasatch 20-yard line on an 11-play drive before stalling and turning the ball over on downs. On the Cowboys' second possession, they finished what they started as Chaz Fisher scampered 24 yards to the end zone and the early lead.
Wasatch was moving the ball, but it was also doing a good job of shooting itself in the foot. On two consecutive possessions the Wasps moved the ball into Grantsville territory, but interceptions by Kirk Fawson and Logan Gumicio ended both of the scoring threats and kept the score 7-0 at the half.
The Wasps continued to play stellar defense in the second half, and the offense put together a nice 10-play, 65-yard drive at the end of the third quarter to tie it up. Carson Brown capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown run.
It looked as if Wasatch was going to win in regulation. After a missed Grantsville field goal attempt, the Wasps drove the ball to the Cowboys' 15-yard line. But a costly fumble by Burns gave the ball back to Grantsville where after an exchange of punts the game went to overtime.
Burns got his chance for redemption. The Wasps took the ball first and marched to the Cowboys' five. On fourth down and a yard to go Wasatch made the play of the game. Burns took a pitch to the right side, but before heading up the field, he suddenly stopped and threw to a wide-open Justin Taft for the score.
"I have been joking with coach to let me play quarterback," said
Burns. "We just kind of threw the play in on the sideline, and lucky for me, it worked. I felt really bad about the fumble because I just don't usually do that, so I was really relieved to get the score. I was pretty scared. I haven't played quarterback since Little League."
With the high school overtime format, Grantsville still had a chance to tie, but TJ North recovered a fumble on the Cowboys' possession to preserve the win.
"I am proud of our kids," added Tree. "Even though we had some mistakes, we continued to hang in there and play hard."
Wasatch will move on to play Pine View, winners over Emery 59-13, in the quarterfinals next week.