This one has all the makings of a barn-burner.
The Stansbury and Pine View football teams can both put up points in bunches. On the other side, they both can give up points in bunches.
The scoreboard at Stansbury High’s Stallion Stadium might be put to the test during Friday afternoon’s Class 4A state quarterfinal playoff game. So, too, might be the patience of Stallions coach Clint Christiansen and his good buddy on the opposite sideline, Pine View coach Ray Hosner.
Last week, the two teams both played games that ended with scores more befitting of a high-school basketball game. Stansbury beat Mountain View 57-43 in a game that featured more than 1,000 yards of total offense between the teams. Pine View beat Logan 68-50, showing no ill effects from the long bus ride from almost-Arizona to almost-Idaho.
Fans can expect their fair share of fireworks Friday afternoon, but if you’re a fan of defensive football, it looks like you might be disappointed.
It wasn’t always this way. Actually, Stansbury still ranks fairly high among Class 4A teams when it comes to scoring defense. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, the Stallions began to struggle, particularly against the pass. Park City, Ben Lomond and Mountain View all put up big numbers against the Stallions down the stretch. It hasn’t mattered most of the time, thanks to Stansbury’s own big-play ability.
But the visiting Panthers are a different beast entirely — a beast with a defense even more prone to giving up a ton of points. Long story short: this game could be a scorefest.
That is, unless either the Stallions or the Panthers can figure out how to come up with a defensive stop or two. That honestly could be the margin between victory and defeat.
I know Christiansen was frustrated following last week’s game, when his team gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter alone after giving up 22 over the first three. Blown coverages and a lack of pressure made it all too easy for Mountain View to air it out.
Is it something the Stallions can fix this late in the season with just a week’s worth of practice time? They had better hope so.
Stansbury is knocking on the door of a third consecutive trip to Rice-Eccles Stadium for the Class 4A state semifinals. The Panthers, from the perennially potent Region 9, would love to get back there themselves.
It could be a case where whichever team has the ball last will end up winning.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. Following the Stansbury offense up and down the field this season has been great for helping him get his steps in. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.