Ultimately, there’s nothing more than pride on the line in this, the final week of the high school football preseason before region play begins next week.
However, for the boys from Tooele and Grantsville, this week takes on a little added meaning.
Friday night’s showdown between the Buffaloes and Cowboys at Grantsville High School will mark the 59th meeting between the two schools over the past 103 years. Tooele has dominated the overall series, but Grantsville comes in looking to show its bigger brothers to the south a thing or two.
Stansbury and Mountain Crest might not have 100 years of history to draw from, but their most recent meeting makes Friday night’s contest at Stansbury High School intriguing to say the least. Mountain Crest blew out Stansbury last year in Hyrum during the regular season, but when they last saw each other in the 2017 Class 4A semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, the Mustangs slipped past the Stallions 17-7. Both teams are among the trendy picks to get back to the final four again this year, and Friday’s game could be another playoff preview.
Here’s a closer look at Friday night’s games:
at Grantsville (3-0)
Where: Cowboy Stadium, Grantsville High School
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Tooele lost to Dixie, 49-14; Grantsville defeated Manti, 28-14.
Details: This matchup represents Tooele County’s oldest rivalry, with Tooele posting a 43-12-3 record against Grantsville in the teams’ previous 58 meetings.
Friday’s game also pits two teams with powerful rushing attacks. Grantsville’s strategy has been to run the ball with junior Parker Thomas until someone stops him, and so far, nobody has. Thomas has rushed for 674 yards on 91 carries — an average of 7.4 yards per attempt — with nine touchdowns in just three games to help Grantsville get off to its best start since winning its first five games of the 2013 season.
On the other side is Tooele’s Nukuluve Helu, a major big-play threat. In a little over two full games, Helu has rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries (9.7 yards per attempt). However, Tooele has also shown the ability to make things happen in the passing game, as quarterback Kulani Iongi has thrown for 353 yards and three TDs and Austin Meono has 12 catches for 133 yards and two scores.
Mountain Crest (2-1)
at Stansbury (2-1)
Where: Stallion Stadium, Stansbury High School
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Mountain Crest defeated Box Elder, 13-7; Stansbury defeated Taylorsville, 47-6.
Details: If not for a few untimely turnovers, it might have been Stansbury, not Mountain Crest, that advanced to the Class 4A championship last season.
After two losses to the Mustangs a year ago, the Stallions are eager to take the first step toward showing they are capable of getting over the hump this time around.
Stansbury has been dominant in its past two outings, routing Hurricane and Taylorsville by a combined score of 114-14. The Stallions’ running game has been a key part of both victories, racking up 724 yards and 14 touchdowns on 71 attempts — a healthy 10.2 yards per carry. Speedster Silas Young has 216 yards and seven touchdowns on 22 carries over the past two games.
Meanwhile, the Stallions’ defense has been stifling. Payton Didericksen and Jet Richins combined for 24 tackles and four tackles-for loss last week, while Didericksen had seven tackles and Richins nearly ran back an interception for a touchdown in Week 2 against Hurricane.
Mountain Crest hopes to keep Stansbury off-balance with its balanced attack. Quarterback Brady Hall is a dual threat, throwing for 416 yards and two TDs while rushing for a team-leading 158 yards. Hunter Schroeder, Trae Fuller and Jace Dart are all rushing and receiving threats, while Emilio Veater and Kordell Welch are capable of big things in the passing game.