ROY — Alex Kuresa is only 14 years old. He doesn't attend Mountain Crest High School, he's currently a ninth grader at South Cache Jr. High, yet on Thursday night he found himself as the Mustangs starting quarterback and played nearly flawless in leading the Mustangs past Roy 28-9.
Kuresa completed his first 18 passes en route to 180 yards and a touchdown, not to bad for a kid who can't even drive himself home from the game.
"As I completed passes I became more and more confident," said Kuresa. "My receivers did a great job beating their man and getting open," he added.
The player his teammates affectionately call "Big Budha" was in the game because starting quarterback Ethan Lofthouse was out with a hip flexor injury. Kuresa made the most of his opportunity by spreading the ball around to several receivers, not allowing Roy to key on any one player. Kuresa also benefited from a great rushing attack, the Mustangs cranked out 218 yards rushing including two touchdowns by Hayden Snow and one by Alex Knowles.
The combination of timely pass completions and steady ground game helped the Mustangs completely dominate the time of possession. In the third quarter alone Roy only ran four plays and held the ball for a little over one minute. Roy didn't help themselves by turning the ball over twice in their own territory, both led directly to Mustang touchdowns.
The lone bright spot for the Royals was an 80 yard touchdown run by quarterback Luke Hobbs. After falling behind 3-0 in the first quarter the Mustangs exploded in the second for 21 points. The Mustangs first scoring drive featured several key third down conversions and ended with a Snow five yard touchdown run.
After forcing Roy to go three and out Mountain Crest drove it down the field and scored on a 14 yard pass from Kuresa to Chris Harvey. For the two-point conversion Mountain Crest ran an end around to Blake Hillyard from the daffy duck formation. On Roy's next possession they fumbled on their own 35 yard line, setting the Mustangs up with excellent field position. With only 24 seconds left in the half Snow punched the ball in from the two yard line to put the Mustangs up 21-3 and effectively ice the game.
The Mustangs final touchdown came after defensive lineman Zach Phipps and Sam Hendrickson smacked Roy's Hobbs' forcing a fumble that was recovered by Richard McGowen on the Royals 35 yard line. Quickly moving the ball towards the goal line the Mustangs punctuated their win with a 5 yard touchdown run by Knowles.
Mountain Crest's victory means they earned a share of the region title with rival Sky View. "Winning region is a great accomplishment," said Kuresa, "it means more to me than the completions."