The Battle of the Boot is upon us.
Tooele and Stansbury will renew their rivalry Friday night at Buffalo Stadium, with each team looking to earn its second Region 10 win of the season — and to take the next step toward a region championship. It will be the 12th meeting between the two neighboring schools, and it promises to be an intense battle between the Stallions and Buffaloes when the lights go on Friday night in Tooele.
Meanwhile, in Grantsville, while the Cowboys haven’t started their region season yet, they’re hoping to continue their strong start to the season against some of Class 3A’s more decorated opponents. Their latest challenge comes in the form of San Juan, which is off to a 3-1 start and could very well be the top team in Region 12 this season. The winner of Friday’s game will get a nice boost in the Ratings Percentage Index rankings that are used to seed teams for the state playoffs, which are now only six weeks away.
Here’s a look at this week’s games.
Stansbury Stallions (3-1, 1-0 Region 10) at Tooele Buffaloes (1-3, 1-0)
Where: Buffalo Stadium, Tooele High School; 301 W. Vine Street, Tooele
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: Stansbury beat Cedar Valley, 56-21; Tooele beat Ben Lomond, 35-6
All-Time Series: Stansbury leads 8-3
Last Meeting: at Stansbury 38, Tooele 0; Sept. 13, 2019
The Scoop: The Battle of the Boot has been a one-sided affair lately, with Tooele claiming the traveling trophy just once since 2010. Stansbury’s only loss in that stretch was in 2015, having won eight of the past nine meetings after the Buffaloes won the first two times the teams met.
It won’t be an easy task for the Buffs this time around, as the Stallions have won three straight games with an offense that seemingly scores at will. Kru Huxford had thrown for 836 yards and 11 touchdowns, and also leads the team with 389 rushing yards and three scores. He has an arsenal of weapons to throw to, with Cayden Clark (11 receptions, 283 yards, six TDs), Pae Tia (9-125-1), Koy McGee (6-102-1) and Brandon Funk (3-121-1) all capable of making big plays downfield. Nate Bushnell has 362 rushing yards and six TDs, as well.
However, the Buffs hope last week’s confidence-building win over Ben Lomond can help them turn the corner after a difficult preseason. They will look to control the clock with a rushing attack that gained 229 yards in Week 4, led by Anthony Cole (91 yards, two TDs), Mateaki Helu (87 yards) and Tabor Shepard (48 yards, one TD). Quarterback Justic Tadifa has some big-play threats of his own in the passing game, with Dylan Makoni catching three balls for 98 yards and a score last week.
San Juan Broncos (3-1) at Grantsville Cowboys (3-1)
Where: Cowboy Stadium, Grantsville High School; 155 E. Cherry Street, Grantsville
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: San Juan beat American Leadership Academy, 54-9; Grantsville beat Delta, 42-9
Since 1970: San Juan leads 8-5
Last Meeting: Grantsville 52, at San Juan 32; Sept. 13, 2019
The Scoop: The Cowboys beat the Broncos in an offensive shootout last year in Blanding, but each team has a lot of new faces this time around. However, each team seems to have hit its stride over the past few weeks.
San Juan beat Delta by a touchdown in its season opener before a blowout loss to Summit Academy in Week 2. The Broncos have feasted on weak competition the past two games, beating winless Class 2A Monticello 60-0 and routing ALA last week.
San Juan has the potential to be dangerous, with quarterback Jace Palmer throwing for 885 yards and eight touchdowns over the first four games, though he has thrown six interceptions — something that could pose a problem against Grantsville’s ball-hawking defense. The Cowboys have seven interceptions already this season, with cornerback Ethan Rainer picking off four passes.
The Cowboys’ offensive numbers aren’t as flashy as San Juan’s, but they’ve been every bit as effective during a three-game winning streak. Caleb Sullivan has thrown eight TD passes and just two interceptions while completing roughly 61% of his passes, and Blake Thomas has rushed for 474 yards and seven TDs. Meanwhile, the defense has allowed just two touchdowns over the past three games.