Tooele and Stansbury high schools will meet for the fifth time in football Friday night in Stansbury Park.
The Buffaloes won the first two encounters with the Stallions prevailing the past two seasons. Tooele hasn’t posed much of a challenge for Stansbury the past two seasons with the Stallions winning 35-7 in 2011 and 55-0 in 2012. The 5-2 Stallions are big favorites once again against the 1-5 Buffaloes.
Tooele has shown signs of life this season by allowing no touchdowns against Grantsville in the second half, battling fiercely against a solid Bear River team in a 62-48 shoot-out loss and taking Park City down to the final minute before losing by three points.
“It’s a rivalry game and we’re preparing for Tooele like we would prepare for any other top opponent. Tooele is scary the way they put up points against Bear River,” said Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen.
The Stallions have not tasted defeat in a region game the past three seasons, but they have undefeated Juan Diego at home on Thursday, Oct. 10. It will be the first time the Stallions have the faced Soaring Eagle.
“Nobody’s allowed to talk about Juan Diego this week — it’s all about Tooele,” Christiansen said.
Grantsville coach Tony Cloward said Tooele is a capable opponent. “They are really much better than their record shows. We tried to score more on them in the second half up there, but they held us scoreless.”
Although the Buffaloes were blasted by the Soaring Eagle Friday, Tooele coach Kyle Brady said his team continues to improve each week.
“The good thing about that game is that we didn’t turn the ball over and were able to get two turnovers. That’s always a good thing,” the THS coach said. “We’re playing closers and continue to improve.”
The Tooele coach said the key on offense against the Stallions will be to sustain long drives and score points when they get their chances. On defense they will need to stop Stansbury’s option attack and not allow big plays.
“They have good running backs who can make big plays. We need to stop their run and force them to throw,” Brady said.
Brady said Stansbury has the tools to pass as well, but they just haven’t needed to throw the ball all that much to win games.
One common opponent so far this season for both teams is Bear River.
After Bear River jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter on Sept. 13, the Buffaloes kept pace with the high-scoring Bears during the next three quarters. Bear River outscored Tooele 42-41 in the final three quarters. Stansbury outscored Bear River 27-14 in the final three quarters in their game at Garland last Friday.
The Buffaloes will look to pull off a stunner Friday night at Stansbury while the Stallions want to keep their region season unblemished and push their win total against the Buffaloes to three straight.
After that, the Stallions can start talking about Juan Diego.