CEDAR CITY—As cleats slipped on the turf, a win slipped away from North Sanpete football last weekend in an absolute heartbreaker.
The Hawks came up empty on an all-or-nothing field goal attempt to lose to Canyon View, 28-27. The loss was their sixth of the season and guaranteed their first losing season since 2017 as they fell to 3-6 overall with a 1-3 record in the 3A South. How the loss unfolded was the most devastating part of it all.
North Sanpete had possession on the Falcons’ 18-yard line with 1:02 remaining and a 3rd-and-7 upcoming. Senior quarterback Landon Bowles had junior Ty Allan wide open for a first down, but Allan slipped on the wet turf and missed the catch.
Facing 4th-and-7, Bird elected to send out senior kicker Dante Lowe for the go-ahead field goal from a very manageable 35 yards. As if cursed to do so, Lowe’s planted left foot slipped on the turf as his right kicked the ball, and it sailed off in a whole different direction to spell the end for the Hawks comeback hopes and the end of a rollercoaster night for Lowe, who had a receiving touchdown but missed two critical kicks that decided the game.
“Unfortunately, there are some things you can’t control, and some of those things hurt us Friday night, especially when it was tough to slow down their offense.”
Bowles was terrific in the loss, completing 21 of 35 pass for 337 yards and four touchdowns with no picks, his second straight game without an interception. Senior Morgan Bowles led all receivers with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
North Sanpete stoked the fire early with an interception by sophomore James Gren on Canyon View’s first pass attempt. This gave the Hawk offense their first possession starting inside the Falcons’ 30-yard line. Bowles drove the offense down to the goal line, then on fourth down, he connected on a rollout right passing left to an open senior Andy Mower in the flat for the touchdown.
After the initial luck, it was all Falcons for most of the first and second quarters as they scored 20 unanswered points. Falcons’ running back Adrian Ward had a field day against the Hawk defense, breaking through in the first quarter for Canyon View’s first touchdown on a 30-yard right up the middle. It was the first of a trio of scores for the star back to build up a 20-7 lead.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, North Sanpete surged back with a backyard-style play as junior Ty Allen took a direct snap, then pitched to Bowles. Allen then dashed out to a clear spot of turf and caught a short pass, taking off for a nearly 30-yard gain and a critical first down. Two plays later, Bowles hit his other backyard buddy, senior Morgan Bowles, for a 52-yard bomb on the go route to the endzone for the touchdown. The connection between Allen and the Bowles brothers is unlike any other.
“They’re always hanging out with each other,” Bird said. “Kids like that just get it. I could draw something up in the dirt and they’ll know exactly what I want from them on the field…They see the field the same way.”
North Sanpete got the ball back with less than a minute remaining, and Bowles let fly on a pass to Lowe, who reeled in the catch, shed contact, and blazed into the endzone for a 61-yard score and his first-ever varsity touchdown. Subsequently, Lowe missed the after-point that would turn out to be critical in the long run.
After the half, North Sanpete took the lead with a quick drive culminating in a touchdown pass for 20 yards to Morgan Bowles on a slant route. Canyon View scored on their next drive with a play-action pass, then Ward scored a two-point conversion for the lead, which they would not give up again.
Late in the third quarter on a wild play, Canyon View completed a long pass, and Gren came in intent on breaking it up. Unfortunately for the senior, the contact proved more brutal than planned as he landed on his neck. Gren stayed on the ground surrounded by medical staff for nearly 20 minutes before being strapped onto a stretcher and carted away for hospital care.
Bird said the next day that Gren cleared protocol at the hospital after doctors determined no significant damage, referring to it as a “stinger.”
Since the shutout against Grantsville early in the season, Bird has seen steady improvement and consistency in the team and is confident that the team is going to be ready to take on anyone in the 3A playoff. The Hawks will finish the regular season at home against last-place Carbon this Friday.