SALT LAKE CITY — Friday night featured the battle of former college teammates as Brody Benson’s Rams hosted Jason Lee’s Mustangs. The pair enjoyed the gridiron together at Southern Utah.
But there could only be one victor in the season opener for both teams, and that winner was Mountain Crest at 22-21.
“That was a fun game at times, and because we came out on top," said a relieved Lee. “Really, that game could have gone either way—those guys (the Rams) are tough.”
But the Rams couldn’t put any more points on the board in the half, despite forcing two interceptions and two punts.
“We were just flat and complacent at times,” said Benson. “That was an eye-opener for us.”
Neither team could get the offense rolling until Mountain Crest knotted the score at 7-7 with 22 seconds left in the half.
Mountain Crest’s momentum started with its second stop of the Rams on fourth down, but then they rolled after Brady Hall hit Beau Robinson for 45 yards. The drive concluded with Hall punching through a score from the 1-yard line. Then it was lineman/kicker Eli Wells who added the PAT.
“We just had to try and relax,” said Hall. “We had to get the first-game jitters out.”
Hall had three interceptions in the outing, but he matched them with three touchdowns.
“He’s a tough kid. I told him from the beginning bad things will happen and you can’t dwell on them,” said Lee about his quarterback.
Both teams added scores to tie things up at 14-14 in the third quarter. Then the Rams regained the lead after a ‘third time’s a charm’ fourth down conversion and then score on another Peterson to Jones toss in the fourth quarter. It was Jones’ third touchdown of the night.
“Marlon was doing that during camp and we are going to definitely lean on him this season because he makes plays,” said Benson.
But Mountain Crest wasn’t going to go down without a fight, taking its first lead of the game at the most opportune time.
It was Hall to Robinson again that helped the Mustangs move the ball down field with a 27-yard toss. That left the Mustangs on their own 8-yard line, and from there Hall would take over for the score.
Then it was decision time as Lee elected to go for the win. The Mustangs drew up what seemed to be a funky version of the Wildcat that resulted in Nick Nethercott tossing a pass to a wide open Hall.
“We worked all offseason on the fourth quarter and finishing things out,” said Hall. “It was definitely important for us to win the opener because now we have some momentum for our home game next week.”
Benson said his team has a lot of stuff to work on, but that there were positives from the game as well.
“We have a lot of talent, but talent will only get you so far,” said Benson. “We have faith we will right the ship and get things going next week.”