Stansbury secured a first-round bye in the 3AA state playoffs with a 42-7 drubbing of Park City on the road Wednesday night.
On Friday, Nov. 8 or Saturday, Nov. 9 the Stallions will most likely host the third-place team from 3AA South in the state quarterfinals. It could mean a rematch with Desert Hills, who was tied with Snow Canyon for third in the South after Wednesday’s games.
The 3AA playoffs start on the weekend of Nov. 1-2, but the top two teams in both regions are awarded byes the first week. Stansbury will meet the winner of the sixth-place North team vs. the third-place South team.
Stansbury lost two fumbles in the first half against Park City and was stymied by penalties. The miscues and flags gave the Miners some hope on their senior day. Stansbury led only 14-7 at intermission.
But Park City’s chances were dashed to pieces when the Stallions scored on their first three possessions of the third quarter to blow the game open at 35-7. Stansbury added another score in the fourth to push the margin to 42-7.
The Miners threatened only once in the second half when they drove to the SHS 12, but the Stallions stopped them on fourth-and-1 with Zayne Anderson, Landon Stice, Austen Kincaid and Gage Manzione swarming to tackle the quarterback on a keeper.
The offensive fireworks in the second half all belonged to the Stallions.
A pair of passes from Manzione to Anderson and solid runs by Josh Mulivai set up an 18-yard TD run by Alex Mackay to make it 21-7.
A great kick return by Anderson plus a Park City penalty put Stansbury in great shape for a second third-quarter TD. After a pair of incompletions, the Stallions went for it on fourth-and-14 from the PC 33. Manzione hooked up with Kincaid for a first down, and then Anderson carried on a sweep left for 19 yards to make it 28-7 with a PAT from Nick Mackay.
Park City looked to slice the lead in half when they drove to the SHS 13 and had second-and-2, but the Stansbury defense held them at the 12.
Mulivai then broke loose on a 65-yard run to the PC 22. A few plays later, Alex Mackay scored on a 5-yard run to make it 35-7 with the PAT from his twin brother Nick Mackay.
Alex Mackay led the team in rushing with 155 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns.
“The line opens up some big holes and the receivers block really well on the edges,” Alex Mackay said. “It’s too bad that (Spencer) Wihongi went down tonight. He had just started playing on the offensive line and was doing a great job.”
Wihongi suffered what looks like a season-ending leg injury. Another top player, Hudson Conrad, injured his collar bone and may also be out for the rest of the season.
The Stallion offensive line kicked it into high gear in the second half. Iosua Opeta, Jarom Gleed, Allan Havili and Marty Johnson led the way in the trenches.
“I liked what I saw in the second half; we came out and played really well. The penalties and fumbles hurt us in the first half,” coach Clint Christiansen said. “The injuries hurt, but that’s part of football. We need to rally around those guys, and the rest of the guys need to step it up from here on out.”
Stansbury scored its sixth touchdown of the game on an 85-yard run by Anderson early in the fourth quarter.
After a lost fumble on the first series of the game, the Stallions drove 76 yards for a TD on their second series. Alex Mackay snagged a swing pass for a 19-yard gain and Conrad ran 39 yards on a counter play for the TD to make it 7-0 Stallions midway through the first quarter.
Stansbury gave the ball back to Park City at the Stansbury 41 with a fumble, and the Miners scored 10 plays later to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter.
Stansbury then burned about five minutes off the clock with the running of Alex Mackay and Mulivai, who scored a TD on a hard run, but was called for a helmet-to-helmet penalty nullifying his 6 points. Mackay eventually got the call and rushed 12 yards for the second Stansbury TD just before halftime.
Anderson had three carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Mulivai had 10 carries for 203 yards. Manzione connected on five-of-nine passes for 78 yards. Anderson had two catches for 36 yards.
Stice led the way with eight tackles while Opeta had seven. Manzione, Anderson and Connor Littlfield each had six tackles.
Stansbury hosts Mountain View on Friday, Oct. 25.