Bulldogs pull off 35-34 comeback in in game against American Leadership

After recovering a fumble, junior defensive back Syrus Miner scampers toward the goal line for a touchdown in Friday’s game against American Leadership Academy. The touchdown kicked off a huge rally for Gunnison, which got the win, 35-34. – Tiffani Jackson / Messenger photo
Bulldogs pull off 35-34 comeback in in game against American Leadership


Matt Harris

Staff writer



SPANISH FORK—In familiar fashion, the Gunnison Bulldogs were down last Friday but completed a furious comeback to beat American Leadership Academy on the road, 35-34.

“I am glad that we were able to overcome adversity,” Gunnison coach Jack Pay said after the game. “We have struggled with that this year, and it was great to see our players continue to play to win no matter what. I hope this will be the turning point this program needs.”

The Bulldogs were on the board first when senior receiver Kyler White nabbed a 20-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kris Edwards. White has been a force to be reckoned with all season long for the Bulldogs.

After White’s touchdown, things started going south quickly for Gunnison. In the second quarter, ALA senior back Dallen Short ran the ball in for a 12-yard touchdown to put the Eagles on the board. That was followed up by a touchdown from freshman Fielding Morley.

Short scored again for the Eagles on a 3-yard pass from ALA quarterback Hayden Shockley (Schockley’s only completed pass of the game), and the Bulldogs entered halftime having allowed 19 unanswered points and down 19-7.

The second half looked as if it was going to go the same way when ALA senior back Owen Huff scored a fifth straight touchdown on a 2-yard run.

Suddenly, the momentum shifted when junior defensive back Syrus Miner picked up a fumble and scored for the Bulldogs to trim ALA’s lead to 26-14. Later, White made more magic by returning a punt 80 yards for another Gunnison touchdown, bringing the Bulldogs within striking distance, 26-21. But ALA put more distance between the scores when Short made a touchdown and the Eagles got the point-after-touchdown. That made it 34-21 in favor of ALA.

In the fourth quarter, Gunnison went to work. The Bulldogs scored two touchdowns, both courtesy of White. White first scored on a 45-yard pass from Edwards to bring Gunnison within a score, and then ran in a 5-yard touchdown to tie up the game. The extra point from Miner returned the lead to the Bulldogs and there it stayed as Gunnison earned the second victory of the season.

In a season where he has often struggled, Miner’s kicking was the difference that helped the Bulldogs to victory as he converted all five extra points.

Edwards had a great day at quarterback, passing for 214 yards, which yielded two touchdowns and one interception. And he was never sacked. Edwards continues to be one of the best deep-throwers in 2A football.

White blew it up for four touchdowns, two receiving, two rushing, and 181 all-purpose yards. “Kyler (White) played great,” coach Pay said. “ALA gave him more room to work than most teams have, and Kyler made them pay time after time. He is such a great player that most teams double and triple team him, but ALA played straight up. But you can see why others focus on him so much.”

Pay said he believes his players will do what is necessary so Gunnison can host a play-in tournament game. “Both our wins this year have been on the road, and that has left our community out of seeing those games. So I want to focus on us and playing the way we can and not worrying about the other team or scoreboard. That is what our fans want to see because we haven’t shown that to them this year.”