Note: Mountain Crest finished with a 12-2 overall record in 2017 and was second in Region 12 with a 4-1 record. It lost to Orem 26-0 in the 4A championship.
HYRUM — Throughout most of last season Mountain Crest was pretty dominant when it came to winning the turnover battle every Friday night.
It forced 28 total turnovers throughout the season, an average of two per game.
In the 4A championship game against Orem, however, what had frequently been an advantage turned out to big disadvantage. Mountain Crest turned the ball over four times during the chilly and wet title game last November, as it was blanked 26-0.
For a team that only won three games the year before in 5A and missed the playoffs, advancing to the title game regardless of the outcome was an extremely gratifying accomplishment.
“If you only look at one game you’re kind of missing the boat from what happened last year. We beat some phenomenal teams last year,” said Mountain Crest coach Jason Lee. “So many great things happened last year because of the hard work.”
Lee expects the same hard work from his team this year, but the dynamics are different. A year ago Mountain Crest had 18 outstanding seniors who contributed to the 12-2 record. This year’s team will only have between eight and 10 seniors as it will lean heavily on a very good junior class.
“We have a great junior class that’s going to help us out and bring along the rest of the kids. I don’t know how you replace 18 great kids that we had last year. These kids have been working their guts out, they’ve been working hard, they understand what’s at stake,” said Lee.
Even though Mountain Crest has significantly less experience than a year ago, there are still some very good starters returning. Among them is starting quarterback Eddie Hall, all-state safety Jace Dart and then a pair of starters on both sides of the line, Edgardo Huerta and Max Hansen.
Mountain Crest Mustangs at a glance
Coach: Jason Lee is entering his third season as head coach at Mountain Crest after leading the Mustangs to a 15-8 record in the first two seasons. He’s a graduate of North Sanpete High School.
Mountain Crest Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Dave Kuresa
2017 offensive production: 29.6 ppg (9th in 4A)
- 4 returning starters
- Multiple offenses
Key offensive returning starters
- Brady Hall (QB): Passed for 2,942 yards and 30 touchdowns while also rushing for 835 yards and nine TDs.
- Max Hansen (OL): Is back for his third year starting on the offensive line this season.
Returning offensive starters
- Max Hansen (OT)
- Brady Hall (QB)
- Jace Dart (TB/WR)
- Edgardo Huerta (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
- Isaias Sanchez (OL)
- Treven Leishman (OL)
- Jared Duvall (OL)
- Hunter Schroeder (RB)
- Ethan Wilson (WR)
- Brandon Arnell (WR)
- Kordell Welch (WR)
- Garren Burgess (WR)
Coach Lee comments on QB Brady Hall:
“He brings experience, leadership, calmness. Just seeing him out there with the kids in the passing leagues this summer, he’s a great asset. He understands the offense, he understands defenses.”
Coach Lee comments on OL returning starters Edgardo Huerta and Max Hansen
“They’re going to be the anchors on that O-line. We feel like this O-line can be easily as good or better than last year. We have some great kids that are coming along with Edgardo Huerta and Max Hansen.”
Coach Lee comments on new RB starter Hunter Schroeder:
“He saw some time offensively varsity wise, and he’ll be one of our workhorses too this year. That kid had 34 combined total touchdowns last year (at all levels).”
Coach Lee comments on the new core of receivers:
“We lose our core receivers, but we feel like (Jace) Dart can play some slot, we have some really good receivers with kids coming up. We feel like Ethan Wilson is going to step up. We feel like Brandon Arnell is going to step up. We’ve got another kid coming in, Kordell Welch”
Keys for Offensive Success in 2018:
A year ago Brady Hall passed for 2,942 yards, with 2,580 of those yards going to his top four receivers — who all graduated. Hall is back this year for his senior season but he needs to develop camaraderie with all new receivers, and how smoothly that transition goes could ultimately determine just how good this offense can be this season. The offensive line also has three holes to fill, but coach Lee is extremely excited about the quality options he has to choose from to fill those spots.
Mountain Crest Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Jason Lee
2017 defensive production: 15.4 ppg (4th in 4A)
- 5 returning starters
- 3-4 defense
Key defensive returning starters
- Jace Dart (S): Was one of the top safeties in 4A last year as he recorded 85 tackles and three sacks.
- Camden Olsen (S): Finished fourth on the team in tackles last season with 49 tackles and two interceptions.
Returning defensive starters
- Max Hansen (DT)
- Edgardo Huerta (DT)
- Garren Burgess (OLB)
- Camden Olsen (S)
- Jace Dart (S)
Defensive newcomers to watch
- Isaias Sanchez (DL)
- Jared Duvall (DL)
- Treven Leishman (DL)
- Caleb Ellis (DL)
- Hunter Schroeder (LB)
- Elijah Jackson (LB)
- Brandon Arnell (CB)
- Kordell Welch (CB)
- Mason Baldwin (DB)
Coach Lee comments on strong defensive line:
“My D-line coach Adam Kennedy does such a great job that we have about nine guys that rotate in defensively and they’re always fresh. We’ve got some younger kids stepping in who saw a little time.”
Coach Lee comments on two returning starting safeties, Jace Dart and Camden Olsen:
“Whereas as last year my middle linebackers were my anchor, I really feel like those guys are the anchor this year. They help us with our coverages, they make the calls, they understand what we’re trying to accomplish. They understand our defense and where people are supposed to be.”
Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:
Mountain Crest has arguably the best safety tandem in all of 4A, and that will allow the younger linebacker corps in front of them to take more risks. It fits in with the defensive mentality of coach Lee, who wants his defense to fly around forcing turnovers and three and outs. If the Mustangs can fill the numerous voids at linebacker, and then develop quality pass rushers at defensive end, this defense could rank in the top four in 4A again.
Coaches preseason Region 12 straw poll: Second
Deseret News Region 12 prediction: Second
Key Region Game: at Sky View, Sept. 21 (Week 6)
Bottom line: The foundation for last year’s march to the championship game was realistically laid the year before as Mountain Crest took some lumps in Region 1 during its final year in the state’s largest classification. For a lot of this year’s squad, they don’t have the luxury of having one year of varsity football experience under their belt already. Their first full-time exposure will come in a live game in Week 1. How quickly those players adjust will determine if Mountain Crest competes for the Region 12 title again this year and potentially the 4A title too.
- Aug. 17 — SALEM HILLS, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 24 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 31 — at Box Elder, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 7 — at Stansbury, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — RIDGELINE, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 21 — at Sky View, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 28 — BEAR RIVER, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — at Logan, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 12 — GREEN CANYON, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 17 — TOOELE, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Mountain Crest High School
All-time record: 236-150 (35 years)
Region championships: 13 (1991, 1992 co, 1994, 1998, 1999 co, 2001 co, 2004 co, 2005, 2007 co, 2008, 2009, 2010-co, 2012)
Playoff appearances: 26
Current playoff appearance streak: 1
All-time playoff record: 46-23
State championships: 3 (1987, 2001, 2005)
State championship record: 3-4
Most played rivalry: 37 meetings with Sky View dating back to 1983. Mountain Crest leads 23-14.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Mountain Crest defeated its top rival Sky View, 9-7, for the 1987 Class 3A championship in front of a state-record 19,887 fans at Utah State’s Romney Stadium.
- 2017 — 12-2 (4-1 in Region 12 – 4A Runner-up)
- 2016 — 3-6 (1-5 in Region 1 – Missed playoffs)
- 2015 — 9-2 (5-1 in Region 1 – 5A Quarterfinals)
- 2014 — 4-8 (2-4 in Region 5 – Missed playoffs)
- 2013 — 2-8 (2-4 in Region 5 – Missed playoffs)
Mountain Crest coaching history
- 2016-current — Jason Lee (15-8)
- 2004-2015 — Mark Wootton (90-51)
- 2001-03 — Art Erickson (19-16)
- 1988-2000 — Dan Cox (85-39)
- 1986-87 — Jack Robinson (16-8)
- 1983-85 — George Bayles (3-23)
Deseret News Mr. Football recipients
- 2010 — Alex Kuresa, QB
Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years
- 2017 — Beau Robinson, ATH
- 2017 —Jace Dart, S
- 2017 — Josh Powell, LB
- 2017 — Nick Nethercott, WR
- 2015 — Levani Dumani, LB
- 2012 — Eddy Hall, RB
- 2012 — Faimafili Laulu-Pututau, WR
- 2012 — Kyle Christiansen, OL
- 2012 — Gaje Ferguson, LB
- 2010 — Troy Pickett, WR
- 2010 — Fernando Huerta, OL
- 2010 — Tanner Richardson, LB
- 2010 — Schofield Smith, DB
- 2010 — Nate Rigby, SP
- 2009 — Alex Kuresa, QB
- 2009 — Alex Knowles, RB
- 2009 — Tyler Weese, WR
- 2009 — Matt Stewart, TE
- 2008 — Colton Reeder, OL
- 2008 — Ethen Lofthouse, LB
- 2008 — Ethan Rasmussen, DB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.