Note: Stansbury finished with a 9-2 overall record in 2014 and first in 3AA North with a 6-0 record. It lost to Dixie 49-42 in the 3AA quarterfinals.

Stansbury 2014 Stat Recap

TOOELE — It’s a collapse that won’t soon be forgotten.

Leading 42-14 late in the third quarter of the 3AA quarterfinals, Stansbury made several critical mistakes down the stretch which enabled eventual state champion Dixie to rally for the improbable victory.

“There was no reason to lose that game,” said Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen, reflecting on the loss a year later.

The Stallions, however, aren’t looking back. The coaches and players have tried to learn from those mistakes, and the handful of starters that are returning are anxious to write a new chapter for the sixth-year school.

Christiansen jokes that what he learned most is that practicing scenarios for bad snaps over a punter’s head shouldn’t be discounted. It happened twice in the Dixie game and contributed to the comeback.

“We hadn’t had a bad snap in five games and we had two of them,” said Christiansen. “I don’t ever remember practicing for a bad snap (in my career), but that’s something we put into our repertoire this year.”

Christiansen doesn’t expect any hangover from that loss.

Only three offensive starters and five defensive starters return from that team, and already this year the players have demonstrated their fight. Stansbury participated in Davis’ team camp in mid-July, and Christiansen was very curious to see how his younger players would carry themselves in scrimmages against bigger 5A and 4A schools.

“I was curious to see how we’d do against East 'cause we scrimmaged them first and East is really, really good and they’re big and they're physical and our kids didn’t back down one bit. They went toe to toe. They were fighting and scrapping. I was really impressed,” said Christiansen.

In that one showing, the players convinced their coach that 2015 could be a great season.

“It’s going to be fun. I’m excited about our young bunch, it’s been a long time since I had a young bunch. Sometimes as a coach there’s more pressure on you when you have a huge returning crew, especially if they have a lot of (scholarship) offers,” said Christiansen.

Over the past couple years, Stansbury has had several kids go on and play college football, but this year those offers aren’t on the table. Christiansen said for many this is their last year of football, and he expects them to make the most of it.

With so many new starters, question marks are inevitable. Obvious areas that need to be addressed involve an offensive line with five new starters as well as revamping the defense.

However, Christiansen is confident his defense can become a strength. It starts on the line with returning starters Brennan Calder and Steven Havili, and then there are four other talented players to provide depth.

At linebacker, Jordan Roberts and McCoy Didericksen will be tough in the middle, while Dylan Cox and Matt McIntyre will be strengths on the outside.

A big question for Stansbury defensively is the defensive coordinator. Last year’s coordinator, Curtis Ware, took the head coaching job at Grantsville. With Ware calling the plays, Stansbury allowed only 19.4 points per game. If you discount the Dixie collapse and then the 41 points allowed in a wild 62-41 win over Bear River, it allowed just 13.6 points in the other nine games.

If this year’s collection of starters demonstrates a similar hard-nosed mentality, it should be another strong year.

Offensively, Stansbury turns to a familiar name at quarterback. Colton Christiansen, the cousin of QB Chase Christiansen who signed with Utah State a few years ago, is taking over the reins at QB this season.

A starter at wide receiver last season, Christiansen expressed an interest in moving to QB this summer, and he eventually won the job during the July team camp.

“He threw some great footballs at the camp. By the fourth game we looked like Stansbury again. We were clicking,” said his coach and uncle, Clint Christiansen.

Perhaps the biggest key to the season offensively is at fullback. After rushing for 346 yards and one TD during his freshman season, much bigger things are expected of McCoy Didericksen in 2015.

“He’s only the second freshman to start for me in 19 years coaching. He’s a very special player,” said Christiansen.

The offensive line in front of Didericksen is brand new, but the coaching staff isn’t too concerned about the inexperience.

For a change, there’s some decent receiving options this year for Stansbury’s quarterback to throw to.

Jordan Roberts is a big target who’s moving to tight end after starting on the offensive line last year. Montana Newbold is another excellent target, someone with great speed who can stretch the field.

Stansbury Stallions at a glance

Coach: Clint Christiansen is entering his seventh year as head coach at Stansbury with a 39-15 record thus far. His overall record in 15 years as a head coach is 86-73. He’s a graduate of Grantsville High School

Offense (3 returning starters; Triple Option offense)

Offensive coordinator: Clint Christiansen

Returning offensive starters

Jordan Roberts (OL) – moving to TE

McCoy Didericksen (FB)

Colton Christiansen (WR) – moving to QB

Offensive newcomers to watch

Steven Havili (OL)

Julio Reyes (RB)

Gavin Scogg (RB)

Casey Roberts (RB)

Tarl Lewis (RB)

Montana Newbold (WR)

Mason Smith (OL)

Clayton Stanworth (OL)

Defense (5 returning starters, 3-4 defense)

Defensive coordinator: TBD

Returning defensive starters

Brennan Calder (DL)

Steven Havili (DL)

Jordan Roberts (DL) – moving to LB

McCoy Didericksen (LB)

Ryan Moody (S)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Paki Tafui (DL)

Mason Smith (DL)

Dante Thomas (DL)

Matt McIntyre (LB)

Sam Frazier (LB)

Dylan Cox (LB)

Montana Newbold (DB)

Casey Roberts (DB)

Mitch McIntyre (DB)

Coaches preseason 3AA North straw poll: Second

Deseret News 3AA North prediction: Second

Bottom line: Stansbury’s playoff fortunes can be summed up pretty easily — four straight quarterfinal appearances, four straight losses to either Dixie or Desert Hills. In three of those four years too, the team Stansbury lost to went on to win the state title. If that’s not frustrating enough, in the past two years the Stallions were leading at halftime of the games that ultimately ended their season. Is this the year Stansbury finds that coveted breakthrough? Maybe, but with a bunch of underclassmen expected to start this season, the program might be a year away from finally reaching Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Last 5

2014 — 9-2 (6-0 in 3AA North – 3AA First round)

2013 — 7-4 (5-1 in 3AA North – 3AA Quarterfinals)

2012 — 11-1 (6-0 in Region 11 – 3A Quarterfinals)

2011 — 9-2 (6-0 in Region 11 – 3A Quarterfinals)

2010 — 2-8 (0-6 in Region 6 -- Missed playoffs)

Stansbury coaching history

2009-current — Clint Christiansen (39-25)

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2014 — Landon Stice, RB

2014 — Jacob Petersen, OL

2014 — Gage Manzione, LB

2013 — Alex Mackay, RB

2012 — Colton May, LB

2012 — Chase Christiansen, QB

2011 — Jeremy Cafe, DL

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.