One week after pummeling Pine View 72-13 in its first game of the 2022 football season, the Stansbury High Stallions squared up against the Ridgeline Riverhawks at Stallion Stadium.
The Stallions got into trouble early, as Ridgeline returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in the game’s first 12 seconds.
Stansbury responded on its first drive, however, driving the ball 80-yards to score six points. Despite the miffed point after attempt, the Stallions appeared to have shaken off the early touchdown by the Riverhawks.
Following the touchdown, Stansbury’s defense kept Ridgeline off the scoreboard for the rest of the first quarter and tacked on another touchdown. Hemming in the Riverhawks at the line of scrimmage and forcing turnovers, the Stallions held their own and took the game over. Despite penalties slowing the game down, at one point to a halt, both teams got out of the first quarter with a close 13-7 score.
Despite the disjointed first quarter, Stansbury continued putting points on the board. Between quarterback Ezra Harris’ efficiency in the air and Mateaki Helu gaining quality yards on the ground, Ridgeline had its hands full.
After forcing Ridgeline to punt on the quarter’s second drive, Stansbury took advantage of good field position and scored off a 24-yard throw by Harris to go ahead of the Riverhawks by the score of 20-7.
Turnovers played heavily into the outcome of the game, and in the second quarter the Riverhawks narrowly escaped paying for fumbling the ball over to Stansbury. The Stallions also struggled with turnovers, as they surrendered seven points following an interception that brought the score to 20-14.
Later in the quarter, the Riverhawks did pay for sloppy offense, as the Stallions recovered a Ridgeline fumble to pull ahead 27-14. The score held as both teams headed into halftime.
With the first half in the books, and Stansbury only having scored three touchdowns, it appeared things had cooled off from the red-hot game from last week. However, the Stallions dispelled any of those concerns in the second half. In another showing of the Harris and Helu show, both players put up big yards to help the team keep Ridgeline on their heels.
Harris rushed for a 40-yard first down to start the third quarter, and while Stansbury didn’t score on the drive, they went on to pull away from Ridgeline. After a field goal by the Stallions, the Riverhawks reached the endzone to make the score 30-20 and stay within arm’s reach — before things started to unravel.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Stallions resumed standing Ridgeline up at the line of scrimmage, while also playing them tight in the backfield. An early punt enabled Stansbury to get possession and march the ball down the field to add another touchdown.
A long pass to wide receiver Dylan Hamilton brought Stansbury over the 50-yard line and a 30-yard touchdown rush by Helu opened a wound for Ridgeline that they were unable to recover from. To make matters worse, the Stallions forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and drove in another touchdown to bring the lead to 23 points.
From there, Stansbury kept the Riverhawks away from the goal line and ran the clock out to close out the game and win 43-20.
Harris and Helu recorded nearly identical yards, with Harris recording 192 and Helu running for 190 yards. The 192 yards for Harris was a 31-yard increase from last week against Pine View and Helu’s 190 was good for an 82-yard bump from the same game.
The Stallions are on the road next week, as they face Skyline High School in Idaho on Aug. 26 at 8:00 p.m.