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High school football: Park City surges past Salem Hills 28-24

PARK CITY — In a game that was decided by big plays and crucial stops, the Miners of Park City simply had more of both, giving them the first round victory over Salem Hills 28-24.

Offensively it was a battle of fours: Park City’s No. 4, Mark McCurdy, vs. Salem Hills' No. 4 Jorgen Olsen. They both scored three touchdowns in the hard-fought contest, but it was McCurdy's last one that put the Miners ahead for good. With 5:24 left in the fourth quarter, and down by 3, McCurdy received the ball on the Miner’s 20 and sprinted to the uprights without looking to the right or left. Miners go up 28-24.

But that would not even be his most impressive play. That would come deep in the fourth quarter when, with 3:04 left and the Skyhawks charging downfield and into scoring position, McCurdy picked a pass from Olsen on 4th and 6 — clinching the game for the Miners, who took over with 2:46 and ran the clock out.

McCurdy’s first score of three came just seconds into the first quarter when he sliced through multiple defenders from 25 yards out and put Park City on the board, 7-0.

Olsen would answer not once but twice just minutes apart when he rumbled over the goal line from the 1-yard-line at the 6:10 mark and again on a 12-yard dash up the middle with 5:47 left in the first, putting the Skyhawks up 14-7.

At the top of the second quarter, Salem Hills struck again with a 35-yard field goal by Luke Clawson, giving the Skyhawks a 17-7 lead and all the momentum. That all but vanished minutes later when Park City’s Paul Baynes snatched a bobbled pass out of the arms of a Skyhawk and took it 25 yards to the house, bringing the Miners within three, 17-14.

With two minutes left in the half, McCurdy scored on a short pass from quarterback Jack Skidmore, upping the score to 21-17 for the Miners going into the break.

Neither team scored in the third quarter but seconds into the fourth, Olsen regained the lead for the Skyhawks when he plunged in from the 2-yard-line, 24-21 Salem Hills.

But McCurdy wasn’t done doing damage. He sealed the deal for the Miners when, with 5 minutes left, he dashed 80 yards downfield for his final score that put his team up 28-24. Park City held on for the win and will advance to round two of the state playoffs.