Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 19, 2019
Expect the unexpected in high school sports

On paper, it’s usually pretty easy to predict what’s going to happen in any given high school sports season. 

You know the top team from the previous season that has 75 percent of last year’s starting lineup returning is going to be good again. The team that struggled last year and lost a bunch of its top-end talent to graduation will struggle again. It’s a little tougher to predict with the private schools since you never really know who might pop up on one of their rosters, but with the public schools — particularly in areas without open enrollment — you can figure out the outcome pretty easily, right?

Wrong. Exhibit A: this year’s Stansbury boys soccer team.

This was not supposed to be the Stallions’ year — at least not according to the coaches in their own region. Yes, they missed the state tournament last year. Yes, they lost a lot of talented players from last season’s team. And, yes, Region 11 still includes perennial powers Park City, Bonneville and Juan Diego along with up-and-coming programs like Ben Lomond and Ogden and a developing Tooele squad. 

But somebody forgot to tell Stansbury that it wasn’t supposed to contend for a postseason berth this year, let alone a region championship. Yet, here we are, two games into the season with the Stallions having played both of their region games on the road, and SHS is a perfect 2-0 despite having not played its best soccer, according to coach Jacob Jones. And it isn’t like the Stallions have been picking on weak competition, either — those two wins are against Bonneville, which was picked second in the preseason poll, and Juan Diego, which was picked third.

Add in preseason favorite Park City’s home loss to No. 4 Ben Lomond last week, and things start to get rather interesting even though we’re only one-sixth of the way into the region schedule. Nothing is guaranteed yet, but Stansbury is suddenly looking like a bona fide state tournament team if it can keep picking off wins.

And the scary thing is that Jones feels his team has more to give. If the Stallions start playing even better? This is a team that has already beaten two of the top teams in its own region, along with a two-goal win over the second-ranked team in Region 10 (Mountain View) and another victory over a solid Ridgeline squad. They came within a goal of Class 4A’s top-ranked team in Orem and lost by a goal to Class 3A No. 3 Morgan, with a tough 2-0 loss to Green Canyon in the opener.

The fact that Stansbury has a winning record against the schedule it has faced early in the season is proof that this is no fluke. 

Underestimate these Stallions at your own peril.

Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. His own prognostication skills need work, so if anyone has any pointers for his NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket, email him at dvaughan@tooeletranscript.com.

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