“One game! That’s all I want you guys to think about this week. One game...next week against San Juan. They beat us up pretty bad when we played them earlier this year. They’re going to think that all they have to do is to show up and they’ll win easily. Let’s go down there, believing we can beat them.  Why not? Why not us? I guarantee you the coaches will have you prepared for this game. But we need every single one of you to believe we can beat them. If you don’t, there’s no sense even going.” 

That was coach Bucky Orton’s speech to his ‘Boys after they beat up a good Gunnison team last Friday, 34-13.  

That will be a pretty tough task, as #1 ranked San Juan has not been beaten this year. Orton added,“ Who would have thought that Cedar City would have beaten #1 Hurricane last night...but they did!”

Kanab jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead and never trailed. The Cowboys rambled for over 200 yards of offense in the first two quarters.

Gunnison tried an onside kick to open the game. It almost worked, but the ball didn’t travel the required 10 yards, so Kanab got the ball on the Gunnison 49. Unfortunately the Cowboys couldn’t take advantage of the excellent field position and had to punt three plays later.

The Bulldogs started a drive from their own 15 yard line, drove the length of the field and scored a touchdown on a 20 yard pass from Tanner Fielding to Jantz Jensen. However, the play was called back on a holding penalty. This pushed them back to the 30. On the next play, Braden Crosby tackled big Bulldog running back Braden Harris for a four yard loss. Ray Corry blocked a field goal try two plays later and Kanab took over on their own 45.

The Cowboys put together a 55 yard drive, with Cody Barber scoring from six yards out to  put Kanab ahead 6-0. Quarterback Kade Quarnberg hooked up with Kyson McBride for the big play on the drive. After fumbling the snap, Quarnberg cooly picked up the ball and hit McBride on the sideline, gaining 20 yards on the play. The two connected for 17 yards on another pass to put the ball on the 18 yard line. Three straight Barber runs, and Kanab had a lead they would never relinquish.

Kanab copied from Gunnison’s playbook and tried an onside kick of its own. This was also unsuccessful, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the 50. Two plays later, from the 14 yard line, John Terrel sacked the Gunnison quarterback, causing him to fumble. One of the Bulldog lineman recovered, but now they were on the 27 yard line. McBride came up with an interception in the end zone to kill the Bulldog drive, returning the ball to the 15. A 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty on Gunnison moved it to the 30.

Kanab wasted a good scoring opportunity the next time they had the ball. After three Barber runs gave them a first down, Helamen Garcia ripped off a 20 yard run to the Gunnison 23. A QB sack and a holding penalty pushed them back to the 40, forcing a punt into the end zone.

After picking up one first down, Gunnison’s Brogan Neal fumbled the ball and Crosby recovered on the 28. Barber ripped off two nice runs, one for 15, and one for 13, the last one running over a Gunnison defender at the goal line to get into the end zone for the score. Quarnberg hit Brandon Nielson for a two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead.

Kanab had a good chance to score again late in the second quarter after partially blocking a punt. They recovered on the Gunnison 39. Two straight penalties and the Cowboys were facing a second and 25 when Garcia exploded for another big gain, this one covering 24 yards. Another penalty on Kanab and a QB sack and Gunnison took over on downs on the 40.

Gunnison got the ball with 1:45 left in the first half. Two big pass plays and the Bulldogs were threatening once again, this time from the Cowboy six yard line. A touchdown pass from Fielding to Neal was called back on a holding penalty, putting the ball on the 20. Fielding caught the Cowboys blitzing and scrambled outside and was finally tackled on the 11. With 52 seconds left in the half, Fielding hit Harris in the end zone to get the Bulldogs on the scoreboard, trailing 14-7. 

Nielson had an excellent kick return to the Kanab 41. A 19 yard pass from Quarnberg to McBride and the Cowboys were 40 yards away from paydirt. With 20 seconds on the clock Quarnberg threw a perfect strike down the west sideline, catching McBride in stride at the goal line for a 40 yard TD. The extra point gave Kanab a 21-7 lead at the break.

After Gunnison failed to move the ball to start the second half, they punted to the Kanab 14. A 26 yard yard gallop by Garcia on an inside reverse, followed up by another 10 yard dash on a counter and the Cowboys were on the 50. A roughing the passer penalty later moved the ball to the 25. The drive stalled and Gunnison took over on downs on the 22.

Instead of going up by three scores, Kanab let up several big plays on Gunnison’s next drive and Harris scored on a one yard plunge with 1:29 left in the third to get the Bulldogs within eight points, 21-13.

The Cowboys answered the call, set up by another excellent kick return by Nielson, all the way down to the Gunnison 45. After a three yard loss, Quarnberg hit Crosby on a screen pass, good for 16 yards to the 32. Several plays later, Garcia scampered 14 yards to the five, and then Garcia reached paydirt one play later to give the Cowboys a little cushion 27-13. The score came with 11:05 left in the game.

Defensive back Brandon Jenson stopped the next Bulldog drive with an interception on the Cowboy 38. Kanab drove down to the Gunnison 40 before turning the ball over on downs. On the Bulldog’s first play, McBride picked off his second interception of the night and streaked 55 yards for a Pic-6. The play, with 5:35 left on the clock, finished the scoring and Kanab was victorious 34-13.