For the third consecutive week, the Stansbury football team got off to a slow start in a Region 11 game.
And for the third consecutive week, the Stallions came away victorious.
Stansbury overcame a pair of drive-killing fumbles in the first half and played lockdown defense after halftime, turning a 14-7 deficit after two quarters into a 22-14 win at Park City on Friday night.
“We had a couple fumbles in the first half that put us in some bad situations,” Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen said. “It wasn’t that they were necessarily stopping us —we continue to put the ball on the ground, and when we do that, we allow other teams to stay in the game with us.”
The Stallions (4-3, 3-0 Region 11) have been outscored 62-35 in the first half of their three region games this season, but have been unstoppable in the second half, outscoring their opponents 78-0. With just two games left in Stansbury’s regular season before the start of the Class 4A playoffs, Christiansen is trying to figure out a way to get his team to play the whole game as well as it does the second half.
“We’ve got to learn how to secure the football —keep the football in our hands and not theirs, and let our offense be our best defense,” Christiansen said. “We’re just staying at the grind, working on our mistakes and seeing if we can’t somehow figure them out the next two games.”
Park City built its first-half lead on a 12-yard touchdown run by Ben Quinlan and a 12-yard TD pass from Mark McCurdy to Tyler Shea. Stansbury countered with a 23-yard scoring run by Silas Young in the second quarter. But the Stallions’ offense found its stride in the second half, with TD runs by Young and Jet Richins sandwiched around a 37-yard Jay Mackay field goal, and the defense added an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt to go with three quarterback sacks.
“The defense came out and played really good the second half,” Christiansen said. “The first half, we had some problems and got ourselves behind the 8-ball, and then it was the same old situation. We keep telling them against the big dogs from the south or one of the teams from Cache County, that’s just not going to happen.”
Young had 127 yards on 24 rushing attempts, and Richins had 84 yards on seven carries. Mitch Lindsay was 3-for-5 for 44 passing yards, including a 32-yard completion to Brenden VanCooney.
Stansbury can clinch a first-round home game and at least a share of the Region 11 title with a win in its homecoming game against Ben Lomond on Friday.
“We’re extremely excited to be in front of our home crowd for a couple weeks,” Christiansen said. “We’ve been on the road for so long this year. We’ll try to keep the kids focused on the purpose of why we have homecoming and get them ready to play the game Friday night.”