Week 1 of the high school season is always full of surprises, and what Stansbury did was right at the top of the list on Friday night.
No one is surprised that Stansbury, a 5A semifinalist a year ago, beat Pine View in the opener, but the 72-13 final score was as shocking a score as there was in Week 1 — maybe the entire season once it’s all played out.
Pine View is a tradition-rich program that was a 4A semifinalist a year ago, but Stansbury stampeded the Panthers from the outset, scoring a whopping 42 points in the first quarter and 56 in the first half.
It was the most points surrendered in the 39-year history of Pine View’s program.
“I couldn’t believe it was still the first quarter, we’re still running the ball and going in the same direction. I was thinking we’ve got to be going in the half now,” said Stansbury coach Eric Alder.
The 72 points is a new school-high as well for Stansbury, which scored 70 points against Ben Lomond back in 2011 and 2020.
For Alder, it was an impressive win, but with state champions Ridgeline and Skyline, Idaho, on his schedule the next two weeks, he’s the least bit concerned if some think it was a statement win, or a win that commands more respect.
He knows there’s been a little chatter among his players that Stansbury wasn’t ranked in the preseason 5A top five after last year’s strong season and semifinal appearance — a top five featuring primarily the blue bloods of 5A football.
Alder’s fine with that, too, and said, “You’ve got to earn your way into that.”
Some even look back on Stansbury’s 21-7 quarterfinal win over East last season as a bit of a fluke as East fumbled the ball seven times, including two near the goal line.
That narrative may fit one program, but for Stansbury, that win earned it a trip to the semifinals and showed the players and coaches what the next step needs to be as it lost to eventual state champion Lehi 28-14.
That loss kept everyone humbled and focused throughout the offseason, and it showed out on Friday night.
“We have our core values that motivate us to do our best every day in practice and weight room and film. I want those core values to be a part of who the kids are. That’s what we talk about,” said Alder.
“We focus a lot on the process and what it means to practice like a champion and play a champion.”
His players may look at the rankings each week, and think about whether they believe they’re positive or negative, but Alder said he tries not to talk about them.
“It’s not something I use as a coaching tool or coaching instrumental to get kids motivated or more motivated, typically,” said Alder.
With as well as Stansbury played in the opener, and with numerous other 5A teams losing in Week 1, the Stallions are now ranked in the Deseret News 5A top five.
A bigger concern for Alder going forward may be guarding against complacency as the Stallions look like a potential juggernaut and a team that will likely be playing into November.