STANSBURY PARK — Park City sophomore receiver Riley Finlayson knew his team’s best odds of catching a jump ball in the end zone on the final play of the game Friday night against Stansbury involved his taller teammates being on the same side of the field.
So when Park City broke the huddle with five seconds remaining, the heady Finlayson made an instinctive decision to switch sides of the field with a teammate, putting him on the opposite side the play was designed for.
As fate would have it though, sophomore quarterback Chase Beyer’s pocket broke down and he was forced to scramble toward Finlayson’s side of the field. It was Beyer’s only option, and he lofted the ball toward the corner of the end zone hoping Finlayson could get there in time.
“I’m just rolling to try and keep the play alive, and I see him flash his hand and I just have to give him a chance,” said Beyer.
He placed the ball perfectly, with Finlayson hauling it and keeping his feet inbounds with 0:00 showing on the scoreboard as Park City rallied for the stunning 33-28 win on the dramatic final play of the game.
“Chase dropped it in there, I just caught it,” said Finlayson, who said he almost passed out as he was being mobbed by his teammates. “That was one of the best feelings ever, honestly.”
With the win, Park City improved to 3-0 in Region 10, but it was a win that earlier in the fourth quarter looked to be in the bag.
Trailing 14-6 at the half, Park City scored on three straight possessions in the second half to storm ahead 27-13 with 7:22 remaining in the game. Trond Grizzell scored on a 24-yard TD pass from Beyer to cut it to 14-12, and then Kirby Baynes added a pair of TD runs to stretch it to a two-possession lead.
Early second-half turnovers by Stansbury contributed to Park City’s flurry but suddenly down two scores, urgency kicked in.
The Stallions cut the lead to 27-21 with 4:21 left as Kaleb Maxwell hauled in a 30-yard TD catch on fourth and 10 from Kru Huxford. After a big defensive series, Stansbury got the ball back near midfield.
Aided by a big run-and-catch from Brandon Funk down to the 3-yard line, Stansbury reclaimed the 28-27 lead on Huxford’s 1-yard run with 28 seconds remaining.
Stansbury left just enough time for Park City to make some magic happen.
“That was a heavyweight fight tonight. We each took each other’s punches. You’ve got to play to the whistle, that final whistle, and we managed to make a play right at the end,” said Park City coach Josh Montzingo.
Early on, Stansbury’s fast-paced offense had Park City chasing on its opening drive of the game, as it marched 80 yards in 17 plays — converting five third downs in the process — as Nate Bushnell opened the scoring on a 1-yard TD run for the Stallions.
Watch replay: Park City 33, Stansbury 28
Park City seemed to figure it out after that, holding Stansbury to three-and-outs on two straight possessions. Before halftime though, Stansbury found a groove again and went ahead 14-6 as Cayden Clark hauled in a 21-yard TD pass from Huxford with 40 seconds left in the half.
In between, Park City scored its lone points of the first half as Coco Lukrich scored on a 1-yard TD run 2:22 before halftime cutting the deficit to 7-6. Baynes’ 60-yard punt return set the Miners up with great field position at the 3-yard line.