Stansbury began the season as the favorite in the new Region 7, and 10 weeks later that’s exactly where it ended the season.
Stansbury put the finishing touches on a perfect region season on Wednesday night with an emphatic 49-14 victory over Timpanogos, which was hoping to earn a share of the region title itself with a win. The Stallions squashed those hopes very early, finishing region play with an average margin of victory over 38 points.
“It’s certainly a great feeling first year in 5A to go undefeated in region play, but there’s a lot of good teams out there so we’ll have our hands full in the playoffs,” said Stansbury coach Eric Alder.
Stansbury won’t know its exact playoff fate until the final RPI rankings are released by the UHSAA on Saturday morning, but it’s a good bet to get a first-round bye which will give it two weeks to prepare for its 5A second round game on Oct. 29.
Alder hopes his team can maintain the momentum through the likely bye week as it’s been the catalyst to the season since back-to-back preseason losses in Week 2 and 3.
“Momentum is everything, momentum is huge in sports, it’s huge in football. Those two losses feel like a lifetime ago. We lost to two really good football teams, we made adjustments, we learned, we responded to that adversity exactly the way a championship type team should,” said Alder.
On Wednesday, Stansbury’s defense set the tone on the opening play of the game as a linebacker Easton Baker came off the edge untouched and decleated Timpanogos’ running back behind the line of scrimmage.
“It’s certainly a great feeling first year in 5A to go undefeated in region play, but there’s a lot of good teams out there so we’ll have our hands full in the playoffs.” — Stansbury coach Eric Alder
Similar overwhelming defense repeated itself play after play as Stansbury forced four turnovers and built a 42-7 lead by halftime.
“We created some confusion by mixing up our looks and not tipping our hat too early, stemming, moving around, muddling around and being in the right spots when the ball is snapped,” said Alder.
Baker had another big play up his sleeve besides the big decleater. Late in the first half with Timpanogos at the 1 yard line hoping to cut the deficit to 35-14 before halftime, Stansbury stripped the ball on the QB keeper with Baker picking it up and racing 97 yards the other way for the touchdown.
“To get that goal line stand going into half was huge cause then we have the running clock. All credit to the players and them making plays tonight,” said Alder.
The entire second half was played with the running clock, which has often been the case for Stansbury in region play.
Offensively, Stansbury scored on its opening three possessions to effectively put the game out of reach 21-7 after the first quarter. Bridger Thomas accounted for three of those rushing touchdowns, with Ezra Harris passing for a score and rushing for another.
The key offensive play of the night for Stansbury came midway through the first quarter with the game tied 7-7 after Timpanogos tied it with an impressive scoring drive that Matu Holdaway capped with a 10-yard TD pass to Matthew Torgerson.
On the first play of Stansbury’s ensuing drive, Harris went deep to Dreyton Rowley for the 77-yard TD pass as the Stallions regained the 14-7 lead.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage, we got first downs quick and created good yards on first down,” said Alder, who said everything was easier for the offense on the night because of the four takeaways.