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Gunnison finishes season with 31-12 win over Millard

Bulldog Isaiah O'Neal gets the tackle in Gunnison's victory against Millard on Friday. - Tiffani Jackson / Messenger photo
Bulldog Isaiah O’Neal gets the tackle in Gunnison’s victory against Millard on Friday. – Tiffani Jackson / Messenger photo

 

Gunnison finishes season with 31-12 win over Millard

 

Matt Harris

Staff writer

10-20-2016

 

MILLARD—The Gunnison Bulldogs sealed up region play on Friday, winning 31-12 in an excellent showing against a struggling Millard team.

“It was great to get this win so that we can host a playoff game for the first time since 2005,” head coach Jack Pay said. “We were able to focus on us and play better than we have played before and it showed up on the scoreboard. We were able to play assignments soundly and limit turnovers.”

Gunnison ruled the turf from start to finish. Senior Kyler White opened up the scoring for the Bulldogs on a 60-yard run in the first quarter.

After a scoreless second quarter, junior quarterback Kris Edwards began showing off his arm with a long bomb to sophomore receiver Mike Hansen for a 65-yard score.

Millard started to show some fight in the third with a 5-yard rushing touchdown from junior back Homero Gutierrez. Gutierrez was the lone bright spot for the Eagles, scoring both of their touchdowns in the second half.

It didn’t take long for Gunnison to respond again when Edwards and White made their usual magic on a 45-yard pass in the fourth quarter to put the Bulldogs up 28-12. Kicker Syrus Miner nailed a 30-yard field goal to make it 31-12 late in the game.

Miner has been a critical success for Gunnison lately and continued by hitting all four extra points along with his field goal. In a 2A class where special teams prowess is hard to find, Miner has delivered, hitting 14 of his last 16 extra point attempts in the last three games, points the Bulldogs very much needed.

Overall, Edwards once again made a lot out of a little by passing for 206 yards and two touchdowns on only nine completions out of 22 attempts. Hansen led all receivers with three catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

“I definitely think we have surprised people,” Pay says. “Coming in, we were slated to take sixth in the region, and being able to get these two region wins was huge for building our program. I feel like this team has a lot more to prove and the work is not done yet.”

The Bulldogs will qualify for the 2A state playoffs and host their first playoff game.         Their first opponent is Grand County, who beat Gunnison earlier this season, 28-14.

“We have to be physical and limit big plays defensively against Grand,” Pay said. “They come at you aggressively, and you have to match that aggressiveness in your defense. Last time, big plays and not being able to score in the red zone, that hurt us. If we can limit our turnovers and their big plays, and score in the red zone, it will be a great game to see. We are peaking at the right time and are a lot better team than when we faced Grand earlier in the year. It will be an exciting game to be a part of.”

Game time against Grand is slated for 4 p.m. today.