Parowan wins, 35-8 as Gunnison suffers ninth straight season loss
PAROWAN—A tumultuous chapter in the history of Gunnison football ended in Parowan last Friday.
The Gunnison football team fell in the first round of the 1A state Championship playoff, losing to Parowan on the road, 35-8. The loss was the seventh straight for the Bulldogs, who have now gone nine seasons without a playoff victory. The Bulldogs were seriously thin in their lineup for most of the season and had multiple young players get varsity experience.
“I think there is potential there. We want to live up to it,” Coach Patrick King said. “We’ve got some young guys that we can rebuild things with. We’ve also got to be able to get out and recruit the hallways and get guys that can come in and replace these seniors that are leaving.”
The Bulldogs ended their season at 3-6 overall.
Sophomore Tyson Tucker started under center for the Bulldogs, but senior Jack Hansen, playing his final varsity game after being a three-year starter for the team, threw most of the passes, completing 3 of 8 attempts for 59 yards and a touchdown. Tucker was 2 of 4 with an interception.
Senior Dylan Anderson led Gunnison in rushing with 11 carries for 46 yards. Gunnison totaled only 95 rushing yards as a team. Senior Carson Tucker was the star receiver for the Bulldogs with two catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.
It was much of the same trend for the Gunnison offense as seen in the last few games. The Bulldogs did not struggle heavily to move the ball, but they failed to complete drives that often ended in Parowan territory, including their first drive of the game that went all the way inside the 15-yard line.
Near the end of the first quarter, a punt by Parowan pinned Gunnison inside their own 5-yard line. A few plays later as the quarter was expiring, Tysen Tucker fumbled the ball on a carry up the right side. This set up Parowan’s offense at the Gunnison 3-yard line, and they scored the touchdown on the next play at the start of the second quarter to go up 12-0.
Shortly before halftime, Gunnison had possession on fourth down around the 30-yard line and set up to go for a field goal. It was a fake attempt, as junior placeholder Austin Jessop stood up after the snap and floated a pass to a wide-open Hansen, but a Parowan defender was just barely within reach to tip the pass and break it up to end the drive scoreless again.
With the Rams up 35-0, Hansen took the reins at quarterback for what would be the final time in his career. The senior hit Carson Tucker for a 26-yard completion to move the short drive within the 10-yard line. Hansen hit Tucker again a few plays later on a flat pass to the end zone for the touchdown. Anderson subsequently converted the 2-point try on a sweep right.
Gunnison’s season was heavy with seniors as they’ll be graduating 10 seniors, a large number for the small program, which has struggled to retain numbers in the past years. “It’s a terrific group,” King said. “They’ve won 10 games in their class. For Gunnison, that’s an improvement. They helped stabilize the program, and they’ve really set up a good foundation.”
The Bulldogs struggled heavily to field a team by midseason this year after a plethora of injuries limited the roster to less than 20 available varsity players. King said they’ll need to get as many willing and enthusiastic kids as possible into the gym in the offseason for a better look in 2022.
“We’re looking for the right kind of guys who are going to want to put in the effort,” King said. “I don’t think we can get 50. We get the right five, and before we know it, we have the right 15. If the guys are willing to put in the work, then good things are going to happen.”