HYRUM — Although Friday's final score of 38-19 indicated a comfortable 4A quarterfinal victory for Mountain Crest over Springville, Mustangs' coach Mark Wootton was breathing a sigh of relief following the game.
Had it not been for a pair of Red Devils' turnovers in the fourth quarter, followed by a few big plays by the Mustangs, the final result could have been much different.
Wootton admitted Springville was everything Mountain Crest could have asked for and more.
"Springville had us on our heels. We needed some people to make some plays and they did," Wootton said. "Every time they had the ball and we didn't get a turnover, it seemed like they were going down and scoring."
The win puts Mountain Crest in the 4A state semifinals against Cottonwood next week at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Mustangs were led by quarterback Brady Zimmerman with three rushing touchdowns and 204 yards passing. Brady Wootton contributed 176 all-purpose yards and one touchdown.
The duo helped get things rolling in the first quarter as Mountain Crest jumped out to a 17-0 lead, aided by a Springville fumble and bad punt snap. On a crucial fourth-down play, the Red Devils found life in the second quarter when receiver Brennen Foster connected with teammate Preston Eaton for an 8-yard touchdown.
Foster finished with 10 catches for 151 yards and the TD pass.
"We tried to double-team him and he still made plays. We knew he was a weapon," coach Wootton said.
Immediately following the score, the Red Devils surprised the Mustangs with an onside kick that was recovered. That led to a Daryk Smith 4-yard run.
Following a missed extra point, the lead was cut to 17-13. But Mountain Crest regained the momentum right before the half thanks to a 76-yard kickoff return by Wootton and a 2-yard TD run by Zimmerman, making the score 24-13 at intermission.
Springville pulled within five points again in the third quarter on an 8-yard run by Steve Nelson, but a pair of fumbles on consecutive possessions allowed Mountain Crest to secure the win. Following the first fumble, a 39-yard pass from Zimmerman to Alex Bearnson put Mountain Crest in position for Zimmerman to score on a 1-yard plunge.
Late in the fourth, Wootton sealed the win with a 16-yard touchdown run.
The Red Devils finished the game with five turnovers. Springville coach Doug Bills said he was proud of his team's effort, but said they lost because they gave up too many big plays to Mountain Crest.
"Every time we cut it down to single digits, we'd give up a big play and they are a big-play team. It is what you have to take away," Bills said.