SALINA—In August, the Bulldogs’ captains didn’t even call it North Sevier when they named it their biggest game of the season: Salina.
Unfortunately for them, “Salina” got the better of the Gunnison football team at the Wolves’ Senior Night as they pummeled the beleaguered Bulldogs, 41-8, last Friday.
Gunnison finished their season winless in the 1A South and 3-6 overall. Once again, the Bulldogs were thin on the roster, so the biggest positive for them came down to testing their depth.
“We got a ton of playing time for young kids,” Coach Patrick King said. “We had a lot of freshman and sophomores out there. We definitely made some mistakes, but we were able to move the ball and matriculate the offense…I thought in the third quarter in particular, we got a tremendous amount of effort from the boys.”
Gunnison’s offense moved well in midfield and totaled 196 rushing yards, their second-highest rushing total of the season. Senior Jack Hansen led the Bulldogs with 108 rushing yards on 14 carries. Sophomore quarterback Tyson Tucker completed 4 of 10 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, his first passing touchdown of the season after he took over the starting job three weeks ago.
North Sevier’s powerful run offense moved methodically on Gunnison’s defense, with only one of their offensive touchdowns coming on a play of longer than 10 yards. The Wolves rushed for 350 total yards and only passed for 32.
Late in the third quarter, with the Wolves up 27-0, Hansen took a shotgun snap at quarterback and rolled out left for an option pitch to junior Jon Willden. Hansen pitched the ball too high above Willden’s head, and the junior could not secure it as it bounced behind him and into the hands of a North Sevier defender, who took it all 33 yards back for a defensive touchdown.
Down 34-0, Gunnison finally got on the board with a touchdown pass on 4th-and-13 from Tucker to junior Brogan Christensen for 26 yards, followed by a catch for a two-point conversion from sophomore Pearson Judy.
Gunnison earned their way to a No. 9 finish in final RPI rankings for 1A. Their No. 9 seed in the 1A State Championship playoffs pits them against none other than No. 8 Parowan, their playoff foe from the previous year and the only region opponent this season they have lost to by less than 29 points.