Hurricane’s Weston Yardley put on a football clinic in showing his dynamic ability in helping to lead his team to its eleventh win this season (11-0).
The game started with Hurricane’s defense forcing a Cowboys’ three-and-out on the game’s initial offensive possession. Grantsville started at the 24 and gained three yards before punting the ball. Hurricane got its first short field of the game and began on the Grantsville 44.
On a third down and 10, Tigers’ quarterback Taylor Parker connected with wide receiver Koy Gubler on an 11-yard pass to move the chains. After fullback Brian Scott busted loose for a 19-yard run to put the ball on the Cowboys’ 14-yard line, Weston Yardley began his impressive night. Yardley zipped by the Grantsville defense and into the end zone for the touchdown— capping the five-play 44-yard drive and putting the Tigers up 7-0 four minutes into the game.
The Tigers scored again seven minutes later when running back Adam Thompson ran in from eight yards out to make the score 14-0. The Tigers’ two scores from two different running backs was a demonstration to the Cowboys’ defense that their offensive attack comes from varying sources.
Hurricane Coach Chris Homer is repetitive in his statements each week that Region 9’s leading running back [Scott] is not the lone threat in the Tiger backfield.
“We did what we needed to do,” Homer said. “I thought the offensive play-calling by Coach Pearson [offensive coordinator] was awesome. The whole offensive coaching staff put together a great attack and got the kids ready.
“We thought they were going to try to take away Brian [Scott] and they tried. That opened up plays for Weston and Adam, and that’s tough to stop. We have three guys who can run the ball well.”
Hurricane rushed for 313 yards on 42 carries and it was mostly distributed among the trio of Thompson (seven rushes for 102 yards), Scott (95 yards on 14 rushes), and Yardley (76 yards, seven rushes).
However, Yardley would not let his rushing contribution alone define his performance. After a Scott-brand touchdown-drive made the score 21-0 Hurricane (11 plays, 66 yards; Scott ran six times for 35 yards), Yardley picked off Grantsville quarterback Max Cook on the Cowboys’ ensuing possession. Yardley’s pick gave the Tigers the ball on their own 45—another short field. Thompson scored a five-yard touchdown run, his second, on the end of a five-play drive.
The score was 28-0 Hurricane, and Grantsville returned the Tigers’ kickoff well, giving them a start at their 38 with 1:09 left until halftime.
A Hurricane pass interference violation followed by a facemask penalty put the Cowboys on the Tigers’ 43-yard line. Grantsville moved to the 36, the deepest they had been in Tiger territory, but with 14 seconds left, Cook passed the ball and Yardley picked him off again ending the Grantsville hope. Yardley registered two interceptions in four minutes, making his season total six.
“His ability definitely gets overlooked on the defensive side of the ball,” Coach Homer said. “He’s by far our best corner. We put him on everybody’s best receiver and he locks em down week in and week out. Outsiders don’t notice so much because it’s a hard stat to track, but if there was a stat showing how much he shuts down receivers, he would lead in that stat.”
When asked about his defensive performance, Yardley first gave credit to his front line mates who caused the chaos in the Cowboys’ backfield.
“Our d-line got a ton of pressure on their quarterback tonight,” Yardley said. “It just helps so much when they are forcing quarterbacks to scramble around.”
Grantsville passed for 73 yards on 7-of-15 passing, rushed for 136 yards on 40 rushes and were 4-of-13 on third down attempts (30 percent).
“Our coaches prepared us with a great game plan against them,” Yardley said. “We knew that No. 29 was their stud receiver, he’s a tall, big athletic guy, and I had the chance to guard him tonight.
“My coaches put me in positions to make plays tonight.”
Halftime commenced and Grantsville kicked off to Hurricane. Yardley fielded the ball and returned it 45 yards to midfield—once again, he gave his team the short field.
“I was happy to start the third quarter off good,” Yardley said. “We were able to set up the offense well on that first drive of the second half. That’s a good thing to do.”
After a couple of Scott rushes put the ball at the Cowboys’ 37, Yardley took a handoff from his quarterback and raced to paydirt to put Hurricane up 34-0.
Three minutes later, Yardley tacked on his third touchdown making the score 41-0.
His all-around game was impressive and his coach pointed out what many high school athletes are motivated by.
“He’s a kid who wants his senior year to be great,” Coach Homer said. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
Yardley admitted that he does not care how a win comes, he just wants to help make one happen.
“I don’t have a preference [of playing defense or offense],” Yardley said. “I just like playing football games, especially playoff games.”
Hurricane had 369 yards of offense on 49 plays and converted 6-of-8 third down attempts. Taylor Parker passed for 56 yards on 4-of-7 passing and had seven tackles. Jared Edwards led the team with 15 tackles, Cameron Hatanaka had an interception and Sino Safita had a sack.
Grantsville’s Max Cook passed for 73 yards on 7-of-15 passing (three interceptions) and rushed for 22 yards. Kaleb Ware (seven rushes) and Jared Lambert (14) each rushed for 49 yards. Dakota Leetham and Ky Fisher led the Cowboys with 11 tackles each.
Grantsville 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 < 0
Hurricane 14 – 14 – 13 – 0 < 41
H < Yardley 14 run (Stratton kick) 8:43
H < Thompson 7 run (Lebaron kick) 1:54
H < Scott 11 run (Stratton kick) 4:21
H < Thompson 5 run (Stratton kick) 1:15
H < Yardley 37 run (kick failed) 11:05
H < Yardley 7 run (Stratton kick) 8:02
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