GUNNISON—Down by three scores, with their home crowd watching, the Gunnison Valley Bulldogs said, “not this time.”
Gunnison Valley football overcame a 19-0 halftime deficit on Homecoming and scored 20 unanswered as the Bulldogs beat North Sevier, 20-19, and broke a seven-year losing streak to their region rival.
The win moved the Bulldogs to an almost unprecedented 5-1 overall record, with a 2-0 mark in the 2A North region.
“We showed a huge effort against incredible odds,” Coach Patrick King said.
Gunnison’s 5-1 record is the best start to the season since the program’s only winning season in 2005, when they went 7-4.
The two teams have played roughly 30 times in Gunnison’s 32-year history, athletic director Rhett Jackson said, and the overall series was nearly even. The Wolves had a good run since 2014, and the Bulldogs were hungry for the rivalry win.
The first quarter of play was tough for the Bulldogs as North Sevier got ahead, 13-0, capped off by a 55-yard touchdown run by North Sevier’s star back Kannin Boswell.
The Wolves scored one more time at the first of the second quarter, and then it was Bulldog football the rest of the night.
After North Sevier’s last touchdown, senior Bryson Sorensen returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards with some great blocking done by the Bulldogs, giving them the boost they needed to get the game going in their direction.
The Bulldogs were ready to move and move fast. On second down, junior Tyson Tucker found senior Skip Jackson in the endzone on a 39-yard pass to put Gunnison on the board.
Junior Pearson Judy led the Bulldogs defense with 13 unassisted tackles on the night and two of them for a loss, including a big sack in the second quarter.
With just under two minutes left in the first half, Gunnison had the ball on the 18-yard line facing fourth-and-7. Tucker took the snap and passed to Sorensen who took it down to the 1-yard line. Tucker kept the next snap and ran it in for the final touchdown of the first half. With Andres Valencia’s made extra point, Gunnison suddenly entered the locker room down only 19-14.
Gunnison came out of the locker room with the same fire they had going in, stopping the Wolves early and getting the ball back down to their side of the field.
Tucker again found Sorensen 22 yards away for the first and only touchdown of the second half, and for the first time since 2017, the Bulldogs took the lead on the Wolves.
Valencia’s kick was off to the right of the goal posts keeping Gunnison only one point ahead of the Wolves, but thanks to some incredible defense in the fourth quarter, it was enough to seal the deal and give the Bulldogs the win.
Coach King said the boys were resilient and showed true grit in the fourth quarter.
“I am so proud of how we ran out the last five and a half minutes of the game and refused to let them have the ball back,” King said.
King said that he is impressed with the team and contributes their success this far in the season to the team working as one unit.
“When you see the value that each person brings then you play to those strengths, it’s a special thing,” King said.
The Bulldogs secured an unprecedented No. 2 ranking in the 1A RPI with the win. Speaking of their seven wins in 2005, Gunnison will have a very good shot at surpassing that mark as they are likely favored in two of their remaining three games.
Gunnison will travel to Duchesne to take on the Eagles this Friday.