PAROWAN — Friday the 13th proved to be a lucky night for the Parowan Rams football team, as they managed to snap a state-record 53-game losing streak to the Kanab Cowboys.
Despite being behind 10-0 at halftime, Parowan scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and held on to win by a slim two-point margin, 12-10.
According to noted Utah high school football statistician George Felt, the last time Parowan had beaten Kanab in varsity football was in 1971, back when Richard Nixon was president and well before any of the players and many of their parents and coaches were even born. During that 46-year span, Kanab had won 53 consecutive meetings between the two schools. It was the longest such streak between any two schools in Utah high school football history, according to Felt.
Early on, it looked like Kanab would extend the streak to 54, as the Cowboys took a 10-0 halftime lead, thanks to a first-quarter touchdown and a second-quarter field goal.
Parowan head coach Carter Miller said he didn’t lose faith in his players, despite their being shut out in the first half.
“I told them at halftime when we were down that they were the better team and to believe in themselves,” Miller said. “I told them to go out and have fun and play like they have all year. They came out and got it done.”
Miller’s son, senior Porter Miller, a 6-2, 230-pound halfback and linebacker, was responsible for both of Parowan’s touchdowns in the third quarter as the Rams were able to take the lead. Porter Miller, who finished the game with a team-high 119 yards rushing on 22 carries, capped off a lengthy drive for the Rams with a 3-yard rushing TD early in the third period. The Rams’ extra-point attempt missed, however, leaving Kanab ahead 10-6.
Later, with about 1:30 left in the third quarter, Porter Miller intercepted a Kanab pass and ran the ball back 40 yards into the end zone for a pick-six TD that put Parowan ahead 12-10.
Porter Miller said he’d been watching game film all week and could sense it was going to be a slant play as it unfolded.
“I just kind of stepped in front of it, stuck my hand out, caught it and ran with it,” he said, noting that he met little resistance as he made his way to the goal line.
Parowan went for the two-point conversion after its second TD, but failed, leaving the Rams with less than a field-goal’s lead the rest of the contest.
Both teams battled back and forth without scoring throughout the fourth quarter. When the Cowboys’ last-ditch rally came up short, the Rams and their fans stormed the field in celebration.
“Last night’s game was amazing,” Carter Miller said Saturday. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team and the way they battled. Besides one long touchdown, our defense was dominant. We found enough offense to win.”
The Rams completed just one pass in six attempts during the game, instead relying heavily on the running game, with five different rushers combining for 219 total rushing yards on 45 carries.
“It was a complete team effort,” Porter Miller said. “We didn’t make the plays that we needed to in the first half, but I told them we were going to come back and that we were going to win this game.”
“The whole town was excited,” Porter Miller added. “It was amazing. People were just crying, they were so happy. It was a great win for the team, and for the whole entire town.”
“Parowan is a great community who deserved this win,” agreed Carter Miller, who played high school ball for St. George’s Pine View High School, graduating in 1995. He also played and coached at Dixie State College, followed by assistant coaching stints at Dixie High and Canyon View High. This season at Parowan marks his first year as a head football coach.
“I can’t describe the feeling of being able to help bring this win to our great town,” Coach Miller added.
The Rams improved to 7-1 on the season with the win, including 2-0 in the 1A South. They will face region co-leader Milford Tigers (also 7-1 overall, 2-0 in region) in a showdown for the region title in the regular season finale at Milford next Friday.
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