Park City Panthers deny Bulldogs playoff payoff

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Mission Bulldog running back Troy Matt picks his way through traffic as he seeks to advance the ball against the Park City Panther defense during action in the first round of the Class C 8-man football playoffs. (Photo courtesy of Daisy Adams)

At Park City in first round action of Class C 8-man playoffs, the visiting Mission Bulldogs of St. Ignatius and the host Park City Panthers grappled on the gridiron the duration of the matchup as each sought to gain an edge over the other.

Bulldog Hayden Currie recovered a Panther fumble beyond the midpoint of the red zone that set up the Mission first score. Jedi Christy then reeled in a 5-yard pass from Kellen McClure for a 6-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the first frame.

With Park City knocking on the door of a counter score just inside the red zone early in the second quarter, Bulldog Bryce Umphrey would intercept an errant Panther pass on their own 17-yard line.

But the defensive highlight was be short-lived as Park City recovered a Mission fumble on their own 21. But before the Panther offense could capitalize with an equalizer, Miles Anderson reciprocated with his own fumble recovery at the 10-yard line to stall the Park City drive.

The Panthers would get the ball right back within a minute of elapse time as Panther Eli Larsen recovered yet another fumble, this one secured at the Mission 30. A hook-and-ladder play knotted the contest at 6.

With five minutes remaining in the second quarter, Jedi Christy caught another Kellen McClure pass, this time the play going almost half the distance of the field.

After Mission kicked off with about two minutes remaining before the half, Hayden Currie would recover his second Panther fumble of the contest, this one at the Bulldog 20.

During the ensuing offensive series, Troy Matt would shake defenders to rumble 60 yards for the third Bulldog tally of the half for an 18-6 lead.

Park City would cut the deficit in half with a 1-yard quarterback sneak just before intermission.

Early in the third quarter, Jedi Christy intercepted a Panther pass around the Bulldog 31. But Mission was unable to advance and turned the ball over on downs.

The Panthers then tied the contest at 18 with a short run.

Park City would implement a bit of razzle dazzle during the conversion with a double reverse starting with Tucker Johnstone, who handed it off the Garrett McMillen. The ruse allowed quarterback Carson Baker to slip by defenders to reel in the completion that would give Park City their first lead of the contest 20-18.

Isaac Dumontier would scamper 34 yards for a rushing tally as Mission retook the lead 24-20.

The outcome of the contest would come down to who would be able to do what during the course of the final frame.

Park City retook the lead with a completion a quarter of the distance of the field for a tally. The ensuing conversion rush would move the Panthers ahead 28-24 with seven minutes remaining in the final frame. The conversion success meant that Mission could not rely on getting close enough for a field goal try, but would have to march the distance of the field for a score.

With four minutes remaining and Mission on the march, Park City intercepted the ball at about the Mission 37. But shortly thereafter, Charley Adams recover a fumble for the ball to return back into Bulldog possession. But the ensuing drive stalled with the ball being turned over on downs.

With time ticking away, the Mission defense would hold, precipitating a Park City punt back to Mission with two minutes remaining.

But the Panther secondary would intercept the ball and return it for a pick six, thereby robbing the Bulldogs of much recourse for a rally with only a minute and change remaining.

Mission head coach Tyler Murray summarized the sensational season with the following comments: “I’m proud of our football program for what we accomplished this season. Making it to the playoffs was one of our goals and our seniors worked hard for that goal.

“They set an expectation for our underclassman of how Bulldogs always fight and never quit. We have many young kids coming back that played vital roles, but there are many shoes to fill throughout the team.”

Park City head coach Mark Rathbun observed, “It was a very evenly matched game, Mission is a very good team and it was quite a back and forth battle in which we just happened to execute a couple of important plays to end up with a few more points than them. Congratulations to Mission on a great season.”

Jedi Christy caught more than 50 passes for more than 500 yards. Troy Matt rushed for close to 1,000 yards on the season.

Park City 34, Mission 24

(3W) Mission (8-2), (2S) Park City (8-1)

Mission 6 12 6 0 – 24

Park City 0 12 8 14 – 34

MSI – Jedi Christy 5 pass from Kellen McClure (run failed)

PC – Garrett Zimdars 30 pass from Carson Baker (pass failed)

MSI – J.Christy 46 pass from K.McClure (pass failed)

MSI – Troy Matt 60 run (pass failed)

PC – C.Baker 1 run (pass failed)

PC – Garrett Zimdars 8 run (Carson Baker pass from tj Garrett McMillen)

MSI – Isaac Dumontier 34 run (run failed)

PC – James Wetmore 24 pass from C.Baker (Garrett McMillen run)

PC – Tucker Johnstone 15 INT return (run failed) 1:03

RUSH – MSI (Troy Matt ), PC 40-122 (Zimdars 16-71, C.Baker 20-38). PASS – MSI (K.McClure , I.Dumontier ), PC 13-21-183-2 (12-20-161-2 C.Baker ). REC – MSI (J.Christy ), PC 13-183 (T.Johnstone 6-85). INT – MSI (Bryce Umphrey, J.Christy), PC (T.Johnstone 2, J.Wetmore). FR – MSI (Hayden Currie, Miles Anderson, Charley Adams), PC (T.Johnstone, Eli Larsen). (Sa02Nov19) Panther specs courtesy of Park City coaching staff. Full Bulldog specs unavailable prior to deadline, but can be viewed on MaxPreps at a later time.

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