Hawks post impressive win, 47-31, over Grantsville
By Matt Harris
GRANTSVILLE—The North Sanpete Hawks football team tossed away every assumption of another defensive slugfest as they scorched the Grantsville Cowboys, 47-31, in their season opener on the road last Friday.
Junior quarterback Landon Bowles lived up to every cent worth of the hype around him as he threw an astonishing seven touchdown passes to three different receivers. He would finish completing 23 of 26 pass attempts for 297 yards and, most importantly, zero interceptions or fumbles. The North Sanpete offense averaged approximately 8.6 yards per play and scored roughly every three and a half minutes of their possession time.
“Landon had an awesome game,” Coach Rhett Bird said. “He made great decisions and created offense for us when it seemed there wasn’t anything to be found. The biggest thing to us is the no turnovers. He had seven touchdown passes with no turnovers. That is huge for our team.”
Senior running back Trevin Morley led a modest rushing attack with 15 rush attempts for 55 yards. Senior receiver Magnus had a field day against the Cowboy defense with 10 catches for 160 yards and four touchdowns. Morley also caught a touchdown pass, and senior receiver Brady Jacobsen caught four passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
“We know teams will start to adjust to Magnus,” Bird said, “but the great thing is we have multiple other threats on the field if they start to play just him. He will free things up for us.”
Morley tore off for a 30-yard run on the first play of the game. After senior tight end Cole Mickel was tackled for a two-yard loss, Bowles first pass of the game was a screen pass that senior Brady Jacobsen took all the way for a 49-yard touchdown.
The Cowboys scored in response with a field goal after their attempt at a screen pass fell to the turf, making it 6-3.
The Cowboys scored again on their next possession with a drive that took several plays and most of the first quarter as they exercised several run-pass option plays. Then their running back scored on a nine-yard left side run, giving Grantsville the lead, 9-3, after they failed a conversion.
North Sanpete’s drive stalled for a second time, and Grantsville found the end zone again, this time on a two-yard run after a fourth-down conversion kept North Sanpete’s defense on the field, putting the Cowboys up, 15-6.
Then, Bowles went into takeover mode. On a third down play, the junior broke two tackles and raced out of the pocket for a 20-yard pickup by himself. Then, two plays later, Bowles dropped a pass perfectly into senior receiver Magnus Clawson’s hands in the seam for a 24-yard touchdown.
The Hawks then gained even more momentum by forcing a fumble on the kickoff return, getting the ball back on Grantsville’s 33-yard line. A few plays later, Bowles rolled out of the pocket and struck Morley as he rolled in the end zone for another touchdown, making it 19-15 after a failed conversion.
Grantsville got close to scoring right before halftime, but didn’t get there, largely due to a pass breakup by junior strong safety Jaxton Reyes, who touched the sky to tip a long pass heading for the end zone.
After halftime, the Hawks continued to build on their lead as Bowles completed an inward slant to Jacobsen for a 33-yard touchdown and a 26-15 lead. Then on their next possession, the Hawks scored again as Bowles executed a fake pitch and delivered another beautifully thrown touchdown pass to Clawson for 22 yards and a 33-15 lead.
Grantsville got back into the swing of things with a 55-yard bomb scored at the beginning of the fourth quarter to make it 33-23, but as the Cowboys tried to make a comeback, the North Sanpete offense continued to be methodical and scorching. Bowles connected on two more scores in the fourth, the first one passing through the eye of a needle to be caught by Clawson around his ankles for his third touchdown.
Sophomore cornerback PJ Cook had a tremendous start to his varsity career, looking tremendous in coverage, and his shining moment came when he intercepted Grantsville’s quarterback late in the fourth quarter to end any hope the Cowboys had for a comeback.
“PJ is what we would consider a ‘gamer,’” Bird said. “He thrives on big moments, and he will be a big key to our defense throughout the season. Reps will be important during practice to help him to continue to react faster to his assignments.”
Bowles connected with Clawson for the fourth and final time on a fade route for 10 yards to finish the game.
The Hawks’ offensive output was the most points scored in a season opener for North Sanpete since before the turn of the century. Bowles is also the first quarterback in Hawk history to throw for seven touchdowns in a single game. Bowles also upped his career touchdown count to 27, tying the amount of touchdowns scored for North Sanpete by a certain Rhett Bird.
North Sanpete begins their season 1-0 for the second consecutive season. The Hawks will return home next Friday to face Emery.