Third quarter blitzkrieg lifts Tigers past Park City and into quarterfinals

Tiger defenders pile up the Park City ball carrier, Hurricane vs. Park City, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 31, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

HURRICANE — Hurricane played with fire a little bit Friday evening. But fortunately, the Tigers didn’t get burned.

hurricane-smpark-city-smA slow start for heavily-favored Hurricane against Park City kept the Miners in the game for nearly three full quarters, but a 28-point flurry of points at the end of the third helped the Tigers rise for a 49-28 win in the first round of the 3AA playoffs at Tigers Stadium.

“We came out really, really flat,” Hurricane coach Steve Pearson said. “Park City came to battle. I’m just glad we were able to weather it and gain some traction and get the job done.”

With a pair of fumbles and an ill-conceived fake punt at their own 14-yard line, Hurricane helped the Miners to a 14-7 lead late in the first half. The Tigers did get TDs late in the second quarter by Jake Carr and JD Stanworth to forge a 21-14 halftime lead, but the score remained 21-14 until there were two minutes left in the third quarter.

That’s when things got a little weird. Like Halloween weird.

Jeremiah leremia breaks into the open field on his way to the endzone, Hurricane vs. Park City,  Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 31, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Jeremiah leremia breaks into the open field on his way to the endzone, Hurricane vs. Park City, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 31, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Carr scored his second TD at the 2:09 mark to make it 28-14. On Park City’s next play from scrimmage, quarterback Ian Moritz hit Harrison Fugate on a deep post over the middle. The exciting 30-yard gain turned into a nightmare for the Miners when Fugate fumbled. The ball bounced around like a loose pumpkin before Hurricane linebacker Jeremiah Ieremia scooped it up.

“I just kept chasing him and next thing you know, the balls on the field, it’s out,” Ieremia said. “I didn’t want to land on it because I knew the coast was clear, so I just picked it up. I looked behind me and it was all end zone.”

Ieremia, the senior BYU commit, ran down the right sideline, directing traffic and pointing out defenders for his teammates to block. He then cut hard to the left and outraced the Park City would-be tacklers to the left corner of the end zone.

“It was like NFL Films time, wasn’t it,” Pearson said. “He made a great play and his teammates made a lot of great blocks to get him to the end zone.”

But things were just starting to warm up. With the score now 35-14, Hurricane kicked off to Park City. The Miners ran a reverse on the kick return that fooled absolutely no one. Return man Josh Pelegrin ran it out near the 30-yard line, but coughed up the ball near the Hurricane sideline. Traycen Shamo scooped up the second loose ball in a 15-second span and sprinted back for another quick score.

Just like that, it was 42-14 with 1:27 to go in the third. But wait, there’s more.

Tiger QB Josh Parker with a pass during the first half, Hurricane vs. Park City,  Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 31, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Tiger QB Josh Parker with a pass during the first half, Hurricane vs. Park City, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 31, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Park City threw up seven points on the board just 67 seconds later on a TD pass from Spencer Zur to Chandler Barkdull to make it 42-21 with 18 seconds left in the third.

Not to be outdone, Hurricane took the ball at its own 20-yard line (after a touchback) and Shamo scored his second touchdown with and 80-yard scamper along the right sideline, making it 49-21 with three seconds left in the third.

The body count: 35 points in 126 seconds, 28 of those by the Tigers.

“We had some fortunate things happen there,” Pearson said. “That was a lot of points in a short amount of time.”

Park City did add a fourth quarter TD, but the game was well in hand by that time for Hurricane, which accumulated 438 rushing yards in the game. Stanworth was the top rusher with 106 yards, but four other Tigers had at least 50 yards, including Shamo (77), Angel Bulloch (71), and Ieremia (52).

The biggest side story to the game was the injury to Hurricane starting quarterback Kaden Langston. The senior, who is also a star on the HHS basketball team, broke his ankle in the second quarter. Backup Cole Stratton is no longer with the team, so sophomore Josh Parker made his varsity debut Friday night. Parker managed the game well and completed his only three pass attempts.

“I’m happy that we won, but sad for Kaden,” Pearson said. “He’s such a good kid and a great leader. Sure, I’m nervous having a sophomore as our quarterback, but we are so pleased and proud of how he played tonight. We always tell the kids they are one play away from being in that situation and they’d better be ready.”

With the win, the Tigers advance to the 3AA Quarterfinals and will take on long-time nemesis Juan Diego in Draper. Juan Diego beat Hurricane in three straight 3A championship games a few years back and eliminated the Tigers from the playoffs two years ago with a 41-0 shutout.

“Honestly, the kids involved in those great games are married and have kids now,” Pearson said. “We will treat this like any other playoff game. If we do beat them, that will be a great thing, but that’s not going to be the focus of our week.”

The Tigers, 6-5, had 26 first downs and held a nine-minute advantage in time of possession.

Park City ends the year 2-9.

Stats: Hurricane 49, Park City 28

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5 Comments

  • Kingofpain November 2, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Andy, I always like your stories.. However you touched on Cole Stratton no longer being on the team.. That was it, no reason, nothing !! Maybe you don’t know, I find that hard to believe.. Being you’re a sports guy and a good sports reporter.. So when one of the best football players on the team, if not the best disappears, this is more than worthy of a story of it’s own.. Even more so being it’s playoff time.. Still not news worthy ?? Langston the starting QB suffers a broken ankle, done !! Hell we might be building up to a front page story.. Pearson sends in a sophomore.. WoW !! WTH ?? Where is Cole Stratton ?? HELLO !! We got a story here Lois !! Andy, please don’t be a sale out, report the news, report the truth.. You, I, and the rest of southern Utah’s high school football fans wanna know why isn’t Cole behind center ??

    Well being as you won’t tell everyone, I will.. Let start by saying/telling those that don’t know and those that forgot.. Cole Stratton is a gifted athlete, he’s a bit of a rebel, anyone that knows anything about football, knows Cole is 10 times the QB Langston would/could ever be.. That’s just a cold hard fact.. People love Cole, his teammates loved him.. Cole may have been a bit of a rebel, but make no mistake, the kid put forth the effort, in the weight room, the play book, at practice, dedicated to winning.. Now can the same be said for Langston, not even close.. I’m not going to fat mouth the kid, I don’t need to, the truth is the truth..

    That said, I start to see a problem, a coach Pearson problem.. If Cole Stratton is far and away the better QB, if he’s done the work, his grades are good, shouldn’t he be the QB ?? Why wouldn’t a head coach want the best player starting ? Cole being a junior should have nothing to do with who gets the starting position, in fact my way of thinking, if he’s the best as a junior he’s only gonna be better as a senior, and the experience gained, priceless !! Coaching FAIL !!

    Now for the heartbreaking part of the story.. This is why coach Pearson needs to find another career, he’s not coaching material, he doesn’t wanna win, that’s obvious, he’s not a team player, that’s obvious, he isn’t a role model, he’s not a teacher, he’s not a friend, he’s not anyone the boys could confide in.. Coach Pearson is not someone that needs to be teaching/coaching our young men.. Why do I say this, because it the truth..

    What he did to Cole Stratton is all the proof anyone should need.. Cole got himself in a little trouble, he made a mistake, he got a smoking ticket.. Tobacco mind ya !! Well the good coach got wind of Cole’s mistake, Cole manned up accepted responsibility for what he had done.. But instead of Pearson being a coach, counselor, friend, or just a human being.. He couldn’t just hand down whatever punishment he felt was fitting of Cole’s mistake and keep in between themselves..

    No, no, no !! See the good coach has never liked Cole, of course his dislike is fueled by jealousy, coach can’t prove his manhood on the field anymore so he’ll do it by telling lies, half truths, starting rumors, creating drama.. Coach Pearson not only did he share Cole’s trouble with anyone and everyone, but he decided to spice it up a bit.. He changed the choice of smoke from tobacco to marijuana.. Told the team Cole was a doper/druggy.. Like wildfire the story was HHS a front page blockbuster..

    The result, Cole Stratton is shunned by his teammates, kicked off the team, all eyes on him, whispering by all, blackballed !! How bad was it ?? Yesterday his parents packed up and left Hurricane for good !!

    Coach Pearson should be fired, I will be very disappointed if he isn’t.. I hope and pray Cole uses this tragedy, heartbreak, shame and injustice as motivation to succeed in all he does.. I also hope he saves a good hard punch in the mouth for coach Pearson, he deserves it !! I wanna see the people in H town demand his job as well..

    • frank November 3, 2014 at 12:21 am

      You are an idiot.

    • Tigersrule November 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      He was not a good teammate, he said we suck, he wasn’t a leader, called us wusses, plus he was ineligible, so he wouldn’t be able to play anyways even if he didn’t smoke. Plus, what kind of a teammate breaks team rules, that’s a very selfish attitude. The state mandated penalty for being caught smoking and other drugs is a TWO game mandatory suspension, plus whatever the team rule is….so even if he was eligible grade wise, he wouldn’t be eligible smoking wise. It’s pretty sad that a dad has to get on here and spew lies……everyone loves coach Pearson, what “pain” spewed was garbage….sad life…..

  • huh. November 2, 2014 at 9:55 am

    KINGOFPAIN, are you sure that you have all your “facts” correct. It sounds like you have heard a heartbreaking story from a kid that didn’t get what he wanted. Did you go to the preseason practices and see for yourself is Cole was really “10 times the quarterback as Langston?” Did you see if he was the better leader that the team would rally around? Have you read the police report verifying that it was tobacco and not Marijuana that Cole was smoking? Have you seen Cole’s official transcript from the high school that proves Cole had good enough grades to play as opposed to being ineligible to play?
    It sure is easy to sit at your desk and blame others for when you don’t get your way. I for one am sick of kids that don’t get what they want so their parents move them to another town where hopefully they will be a star. Good life lesson to teach the next generation. i guess that for some people high school football is the highest achievement they will ever reach in their life.

  • frank November 2, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Lol, OK Mr. Stratton in disguise. You sound like a terrible dad. Good luck wherever you are moving.

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