The Stansbury football team’s season lives on, but coach Clint Christiansen wasn’t exactly pleased with what he saw from his team in Friday’s Class 4A first-round state playoff game against Mountain View at Stallion Stadium.
The Stallions had an eye-popping 641 yards of total offense — 570 of which came on the ground. But they also gave up 403 yards to the Bruins, including 184 through the air in the fourth quarter alone, and the Stallions had to hold on for a 57-43 victory.
“Offensively, we were OK, but defensively … man, we’re just struggling,” Christiansen said. “I don’t know what to say about it. Right now, we’re just not stopping anybody defensively.”
Stansbury (7-3) appeared to have the game in hand after back-to-back touchdown drives to open the fourth quarter gave the Stallions a three-possession lead. Austin Woodhouse’s 6-yard touchdown run with 11:08 left in the game capped a nine-play, 54-yard drive, and Kaeden Kincaid’s two-point conversion run extended the lead to 36-22.
SHS then stopped Mountain View (5-6) on four plays, regaining possession on the Bruins’ 45-yard line. Five plays later, Silas Young scored from 5 yards out to make it a 43-22 ballgame. But the visitors from Utah County weren’t done.
The Bruins cut the lead to 43-29 with an eight-play, 68-yard drive that included a 16-yard pass from Duce Anderson to JR Hayes on fourth-and-9, followed by a 48-yard pass from Anderson to Hayes. Anderson capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Again, the game appeared to be well in hand after Stansbury needed just two plays to score on its next possession. Payton Didericksen ripped off a 48-yard run down the right sideline to make it 50-29 with 4:56 left. But big plays put Mountain View right back on the scoreboard, as Anderson hit Foli Fonua for a 59-yard reception to set up a 9-yard TD pass to Fonua with 4:04 left.
Stansbury put the game out of reach on Jet Richins’ 9-yard TD run with 2:11 left, but the Bruins had one more drive left in them. A 14-yard pass from Anderson to Fonua, along with a 15-yard pass interference penalty on the Stallions, put Mountain View in position to score again, and Anderson hit Matthias Perez for a 34-yard touchdown with 1:07 left.
“We’re just getting killed in the secondary — not covering guys,” Christiansen said. “We’re not getting pressure on quarterbacks and they’ve got all day to throw. If something doesn’t change this week, we’ll be out next week and we won’t have to worry about it. I’m really frustrated right now.”
The defensive struggles overshadowed a spectacular effort from the Stallions’ running game. Kincaid had 181 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 attempts, while Young had 143 yards and a score on 18 carries, Woodhouse had 97 yards and a TD on 14 carries, Richins had 71 yards and two TDs on six carries, Didericksen had 57 yards and a TD on three carries and Tommy Christopherson had 21 yards on eight carries.
Richins gave Stansbury the lead with a 5-yard run to cap the Stallions’ game-opening drive. The Stallions added a safety when the Bruins’ punter had his knee on the ground when he fielded a low snap in the end zone to make it 9-0.
After a 50-yard pass from Anderson to Hayes cut Stansbury’s lead to 9-7, it was Kincaid’s turn to shine. The Stallions needed five plays and 1:45 to cover 72 yards, with Kincaid getting the final 42 of those on his first TD run of the day. Just after the halfway point of the second quarter, he struck again, this time on a 59-yard run that put Stansbury up 22-7.
“I really just ran the ball — I didn’t do anything special,” Kincaid said, crediting his offensive line. “On the first one, I saw my receiver run his guy off, and once I saw that, I knew that guy couldn’t turn around, break down and tackle me, so I knew that one was gone. On the second one, the two guys in front of me hit each other and just fell, so that one played out well for me.”
Mountain View tied the game at halftime with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to David Hair, along with an 8-yard TD run by Anderson and a two-point conversion pass to Fonua. Kincaid restored the Stallions’ lead with a 1-yard TD run with 4:18 left in the third quarter.
Woodhouse was 4-for-9 for 71 yards through the air, with Brenden VanCooney catching one pass for 39 yards and Jake Spaulding catching two balls for 23 yards. Richins had one catch for nine yards.
Defensively, Richins had a team-high 10 tackles, including two tackles-for-loss. Didericksen and Kincaid each had eight tackles and Christopherson had seven. Richins and Kincaid each had a sack.
The Stallions will face Pine View in Friday’s quarterfinal game at 4 p.m. at Stallion Stadium. The Panthers defeated Logan 68-50 in the first round, meaning Stansbury could have its hands full yet again on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think we just need to come out, play aggressive and play fundamentally sound,” Kincaid said. “We need to keep each other positive. We have the skill to play — we just broke down a few times, and it happened to be big plays instead of short ones.”