The first four games of the 2018 high school football season were merely an appetizer.
Now, it’s time for the main course.
Region play gets underway Friday evening for Tooele County’s three teams with a pair of high-profile contests. Stansbury and Tooele will face off under the lights at Buffalo Stadium with bragging rights and the inside track toward the Region 11 championship on the line. Meanwhile, Grantsville will hit the road for the latest installment of its most-played rivalry when it faces off against Morgan in a matchup of two of Class 3A North’s top teams.
Here’s a closer look at Friday night’s matchups.
at Tooele (1-3)
Where: Buffalo Stadium, Tooele High School
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Stansbury lost to Mountain Crest, 17-7; Tooele lost to Grantsville, 28-21
Details: These two rivals will meet for the 10th time, with Stansbury leading 6-3 in the annual “Battle for the Boot.” The Stallions have won six of the past seven meetings against the Buffaloes, including a come-from-behind, 35-28 win last year.
But this time, the game is on Tooele’s home turf, and the Buffs are hungry for a win after three consecutive losses to end the preseason. THS, which will be playing the 900th game in school history, has shown the ability to throw the ball through the first four games, as first-year starting quarterback Kulani Iongi is 40-for-60 for 565 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Austin Meoño (19 receptions, 236 yards, three TDs) has been his most frequent target, with Nukuluve Helu and Conway Hogan also posing a threat.
However, Tooele would like to get its running game going. The Buffs were held to just 5 yards on the ground last week against Grantsville, and will need to be better against a tough Stansbury squad.
The Stallions, as per usual, are a run-heavy team with a number of talented athletes. Silas Young leads the Stallions with 440 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, while quarterback Austin Woodhouse has 162 yards and two touchdowns and Kaeden Kincaid has 146 yards and two scores. If Stansbury controls the line of scrimmage and time of possession, the Stallions will have a good chance at pulling off the victory on the road.
at Morgan (2-2)
Where: Morgan High School
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Grantsville defeated Tooele, 28-21; Morgan lost to Bear River, 14-7
Details: Grantsville and Morgan have met 81 previous times over the past 73 years, with the Trojans holding a 51-28-2 edge and a six-game winning streak over the Cowboys.
However, the Cowboys are brimming with confidence after getting off to their first 4-0 start since 2013. Grantsville’s Parker Thomas has already rushed for 910 yards and 12 touchdowns, and the Cowboys’ defense, led by Isaac Riding, Gauge Pyne, Colten Gill and Drake Hall, has been nothing short of stifling.
The Cowboys will need to be at their very best Friday night against a loaded Morgan squad. The Trojans have 27 seniors listed on their roster on MaxPreps.com — more than some Class 6A schools — and their two losses have come against Class 4A Bear River and Class 2A powerhouse South Summit. Quarterback Carter Thackeray will pose a major challenge to the Cowboys’ defense, having thrown for 888 yards and 10 touchdowns. Tyson Hurd, Jack Cameron and Porter Giles all have more than 200 receiving yards, and Giles also has 178 rushing yards.
The winner of Friday’s game will have the inside track toward the Class 3A North title, as Union, Carbon, Judge Memorial and Emery are all struggling so far this season.