In postseason football, mistakes become magnified. An error or missed opportunity can make the difference between winning and losing.
The Stansbury football team found that out the hard way Thursday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, fumbling twice in the first half as Mountain Crest built a 17-0 lead en route to a 17-7 win in the Class 4A semifinals. While the two turnovers resulted in only three points for the Mustangs, they did keep Stansbury from establishing any sort of flow offensively.
“Our offense just couldn’t get going,” Stansbury quarterback Mitch Lindsay said.
Turnovers were a problem all season long for Stansbury. The Stallions committed 29 turnovers in 12 games in 2017, including 19 lost fumbles. Their defense often found itself in tough positions as a result, despite forcing 25 turnovers of its own.
“I told them if we didn’t fumble the ball, we’d be in this thing,” Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen said.
On Thursday night, the Stallions fumbled the ball on the first play of the second quarter just after crossing midfield with the Mustangs already leading 7-0. Mountain Crest turned that into a 33-yard Eli Wells field goal to extend their lead to 10-0.
Stansbury avoided disaster on the ensuing kickoff after a fumble pinned them back at their own 8-yard line. They later recovered their own botched snap before eventually turning the ball over on their own 19-yard line on a missed handoff. If not for a fumble recovery by Dallon Brooks on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the Stallions could have found themselves trailing by three scores with more than half of the second quarter remaining. While the Stallions were able to limit the damage on the scoreboard, the turnovers certainly kept them from building any offensive momentum in the first half.