The Stansbury football team’s goals on Senior Night were clear: beat Uintah; play solid football; and, most importantly, don’t get anyone hurt.
Check, check and check.
The Stallions rolled to a 55-10 win over the undermanned Utes on Wednesday night at Stallion Stadium, using its constantly improving passing attack to pick apart Uintah’s defense time and time again. The victory clinched second place in Region 10 for Stansbury (7-3, 6-1 Region 10), and all but assured the Stallions of a first-round bye and a second-round home game in the upcoming Class 4A state playoffs.
“We’ve grown as a team,” said junior receiver Cayden Clark, who caught three touchdown passes on the evening. “We’ve become brothers, and I believe the chemistry we have on this team is what makes us really good. We believe that with all of our guys back, we can do something special this year.”
Stansbury’s offense was sharp from the start of the game. After forcing Uintah (1-9, 0-7) to go three-and-out on its first possession, the Stallions needed just five plays and 1:15 of game time to move the ball 67 yards into the end zone. Quarterback Kru Huxford hit Tommy Christopherson for a 37-yard catch and run on the Stallions’ first offensive play, and he later found Jordon Snow for a 13-yard completion. Christopherson capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, putting Stansbury up 7-0.
“Our focus is always to play the best we can and play at a high level,” Stansbury coach Eric Alder said. “We just wanted to play well and obviously finish the season on a high note and put ourselves in the best possible playoff scenario we could. Our focus was just on us and doing what we do.”
The Utes tried to control the clock, embarking on an 11-play drive that took 7:20 and moved the ball 55 yards to the Stallions’ 20-yard line. Rhett Christophersen’s 37-yard field goal with 1:23 left in the first quarter cut Stansbury’s advantage to 7-3, but that’s when the Stallions took over.
Stansbury went 75 yards in seven plays over the next 1:27, finishing the drive with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Huxford to Snow on the first play of the second quarter to take a 14-3 lead. After forcing another Utes punt, Stansbury struck again as Christopherson kept a drive alive with a 15-yard run on third-and-10. That set up Huxford’s 20-yard TD pass to Clark with 5:55 left in the second quarter, putting the Stallions up 21-3.
Desperate to get something going offensively, the Utes went for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 28, but Jhase Elagamy was stopped after a 1-yard gain. That gave the Stallions the ball deep in Uintah territory, and Huxford ran 26 yards for a touchdown three plays later to extend the lead to 27-3 with 4:18 left in the first half.
Another quick three-and-out set up the Stallions near midfield, and a 24-yard pass from Huxford to Clark put Stansbury well into Utes territory again. An 8-yard run by Sam Berry on third-and-5 kept the Stallions moving, and Huxford connected with Clark for a 21-yard TD on the next play for a 34-3 lead.
“Kru was on one,” Clark said. “He just threw me good passes and I made the best of it. I just went into the game wanting to play for my boys, play for the seniors and then just see what happens and make plays.”
The Huxford-to-Clark connection continued to terrorize the Utes after halftime. On the first play of the half, Huxford found Clark for a 24-yard completion in front of the Stansbury bench. The Stallions were aided by a 15-yard face-mask penalty against the Utes as Christopherson’s running moved the ball into the red zone, and Clark caught a 13-yard pass from Huxford for his third TD of the game with 9:59 left in the third quarter.
“With (Uintah) playing with seven in the box and leaving our guys one-on-one on the outside and leaving the middle of the field open, that was something we were going to attack and attack right away,” Alder said. “That’s something we saw from the first play. It gave us a chance to be pocket passers, and our kids came through and made some big plays.”
Stansbury’s ground game led to another touchdown just before the quarter ended, as Huxford and Payton Didericksen combined for 44 yards as part of a nine-play, 70-yard drive. Huxford had a 25-yard run after eluding the Utes’ pass rush to move the ball to the Uintah 5-yard line, and Didericksen scored on the next play for a 48-3 lead.
Uintah broke through for its lone touchdown on a 69-yard pass from Easton Taylor to Elagamy with 9:26 left in the game, but Stansbury’s reserves responded in kind. Backup quarterback Matthew Topham connected with Brandon Funk, who sprinted 48 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
The Stallions were 16-for-20 for 287 yards, five TDs and no interceptions through the air, with Huxford going 15-for-19 for 239 yards and four TDs. Clark caught seven passes for 116 yards and Snow had five catches for 76 yards. Christopherson had 78 rushing yards on 10 carries, as SHS had 182 yards on the ground as a team and gained 469 yards of total offense.
Defensively, the Stallions were stifling, limiting Uintah to just 220 yards of total offense — 69 of which came on a single play. The Utes gained just 94 yards on 29 rushing attempts, and while they didn’t turn the ball over, Taylor was sacked four times and was under constant pressure. Kyler Kolb, Andrew Hanson and Dillon Carpenter all had strong games in the trenches, with Carpenter setting a new school record for tackles by a defensive lineman in a single season (57).
The Utah High School Activities Association will release its final Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) rankings Saturday morning, along with the Class 4A state playoff bracket. The top 10 teams in the rankings will receive first-round byes, with the top eight earning the right to host second-round games.