The Stansbury football team played its final regular-season home game of 2018 on Friday night against Park City, but the Stallions took a major step toward ensuring they’ll be back on their home turf for the playoffs.
Stansbury is the lone remaining undefeated team in Region 11 play, beating Park City 47-27 on Friday night at Stallion Stadium to take a one-game lead in the region standings with two games left. It wasn’t the Stallions’ best game of the season — Park City’s offense picked them apart in the passing game at times — but they were able to get the job done in the end.
“We weren’t very good on defense at all, but we were good enough,” Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen said. “It wasn’t — by far — one of our best games, especially in our secondary where we had a lot of guys getting behind us, but it was good enough. We’ve got to fix the problems from tonight. That’s not going to work.”
Park City (4-3, 2-1 Region 11) cut Stansbury’s lead to 27-20 on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jack Skidmore to Mark McCurdy with 2:25 left in the third quarter, potentially setting up a dramatic finish between two region championship contenders. But the Stallions (5-2, 3-0) weren’t in the mood for a nail-biter. Instead, they responded with a punishing 11-play, 57-yard drive that included a 23-yard run by Silas Young on first-and-23 and an 11-yard run by Young on fourth-and-5. Quarterback Austin Woodhouse punctuated the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to put Stansbury in front 34-20 with 10:39 left in the game.
Then, the Stallions’ defense stiffened. They forced a three-and-out, regaining possession on their own 20-yard line with 8:33 left. They took 11 plays and 4:50 of game time to move the ball 80 yards for a score, taking a 40-20 advantage on Young’s 2-yard run.
“You know how the kids are — they’re going to come and play,” Christiansen said. “We kept chipping away and chipping away, waiting for someone to break one. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t, but the main thing is when you’re doing that, the clock’s running and you kind of put the other team behind the eight-ball a little bit.”
Stansbury poured more salt in the Miners’ wounds when a punt attempt went awry. The Miners coughed up the ball, and junior Payton Didericksen scooped it up and ran it back 12 yards for a touchdown with 4:18 remaining. Park City responded with a 23-yard TD pass from Skidmore to McCurdy just two plays after the ensuing Stansbury kickoff, but SHS was able to run the clock out from there.
Stansbury led 20-6 at halftime after a scoreless first quarter. Woodhouse got things started with a 45-yard touchdown run after a short Park City punt set the Stallions up on the Miners’ side of the 50-yard line. It was 14-0 after a 3-yard touchdown run by Bridger Roberts with 4:12 left in the half, but Park City answered with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Skidmore to McCurdy on its next possession.
Stansbury scored with nine seconds left in the half after a quick 7-play, 67-yard drive that saw Woodhouse go 3-for-3 for 37 yards through the air, completing passes to Jake Spaulding and Pae Tia. Young scored on a 2-yard run to restore the Stallions’ two-score advantage.
Park City cut the lead to 20-13 on its first drive of the second half, with Paul Baynes scoring on a 22-yard run. Kaeden Kincaid ripped off a 67-yard TD run for Stansbury two possessions later to make it 27-13.
The Stallions rushed for 400 yards as a team, led by Young’s 141 yards and two TDs on 17 carries. Woodhouse had 118 yards on 17 attempts with two scores to go with a 5-for-8, 60-yard performance through the air.
Didericksen had a team-high 10 tackles with a tackle-for-loss to go with his fumble recovery. Jet Richins had nine tackles, a tackle-for-loss and a fumble recovery.
Stansbury will face Ben Lomond on Friday night in Ogden, with a chance to clinch no worse than a tie for the region title — and the Stallions already have the head-to-head tiebreakers on second-place Park City and Ogden.
“If we take care of business, this was for the region championship if we handle the next two and do what we’re supposed to do,” Christiansen said. “We feel like we’re in a position where we’re in the driver’s seat now, and hopefully we just continue to do what we’re supposed to and win out the next two.”