A stellar comeback performance by Stansbury in the fourth quarter turned sour on the last play of the game when Park City completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to defeat the Stallions 33-28 in a battle of top Class 4A teams.
“It was an extremely heartbreaking loss. We were one stop away from winning, and they were forced to throw a Hail Mary. Nine out of 10 times that’s not going to work,” said Stansbury coach Eric Alder. “This one hurt.”
The coach said the game should not have come down to having to defend a Hail Mary pass.
“We shouldn’t have been in that position anyway,” the coach said. “We had two chances to go up 21-6 in the third but missed some throws and had a punt coverage breakdown.”
The Stallions (4-2, 2-1 Region 10) led 14-6 at halftime, but Park City (4-2, 3-0) rallied to score three straight touchdowns in the second half to take a 27-14 lead with 7:22 left in the game.
Stansbury rallied back with a 65-yard TD drive, capped by a 30-yard pass from Kru Huxford to a wide-open Kaleb Maxwell down the middle of the field. The pass cut the visitors’ lead to 27-21 with 4:21 left in the game.
The Stallions’ defense, which was stellar in keeping the visitors to only one touchdown in the first half, soon gave the the ball back to its offense.
Caden Clark and Bridger Thomas dropped Miner runners for losses, and a Matt Ingersoll sack forced Park City to punt from its own end zone with less than three minutes to go in the game.
Stansbury’s offense went to work with the ball at midfield.
On second-and 14 at the Miner 43, Huxford fired a pass to Pae Tia, who scooted 39 yards to the Miners’ 4-yard line. Two plays later, Huxford ran in from the 1-yard line to tie the game at 27-27 with 28 seconds remaining. Kolton Loertscher added the point after, and Stallion fans celebrated what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown.
The Miners then went 69 yards with three pass plays to win as time expired. With the ball at their own 31, quarterback Chase Beyer hit a swing pass to Maxwell Alford to the Stansbury 47. He then found Grizzell for a catch on the sideline at the 29 with five seconds left in the game. Beyer scrambled on the final play and tossed to the back of the end zone, where Riley Finlayson caught his first pass of the game to give the Miners the victory.
Stansbury scored on its first possession of the game with an 80-yard drive.
The drive included solid runs from Nate Bushnell and passes to Bushnell and Cayden Clark. After a keeper by Huxford, Bushnell scored from one yard out. Park City scored late in the second quarter, but missed the PAT kick to make it 7-6 Stallions.
The Stallions then drove 65 yards for a second touchdown with 40 seconds left until halftime. After a few short gains, Bushnell picked up 20 yards on a run, and then Huxford connected with Clark for a 21-yard TD pass to give Stansbury the 14-6 advantage at halftime.
Stansbury will face Ben Lomond at home on Friday night.