Finally facing a region foe that could match its own physicality, Stansbury more than responded to the challenge on Friday night in the key Region 7 game.
Capitalizing on two early Cedar Valley turnovers that turned into two quick touchdowns, the Stallions methodically increased the lead the rest of the game as they rolled to the comfortable 46-7 victory to improve to 7-0 on the season.
Stansbury has won all seven games this season by at least three touchdowns, and Friday’s win over Cedar Valley was as impressive as any other this season.
“We knew we’d be in for a fight and we knew they were a talented football team and we knew we had to be at our best tonight,” said Stansbury coach Eric Alder, who said he was extremely pleased with how aggressive his team started the game.
It really was a dream start for Stansbury, and conversely a nightmare start for Cedar Valley.
Two plays into the game the visiting Aviators coughed the ball up on a routine running play up the middle, with Stansbury punching it in four plays later on a Mateaki Helu short touchdown run.
Three plays into Cedar Valley’s next possession, Stansbury’s Dylan Hamilton intercepted a third-and-long pass and quarterback Ezra Harris scored on a 26-yard designed run the very next play putting his team ahead 13-0 at the 8:25 mark of the first quarter.
Cedar Valley finished the game with a whopping six turnovers.
On its third offensive series, Stansbury was poised to blow the game wide open with a first and goal, but Cedar Valley’s goal line defense got a couple stops and the drive ended with a missed field goal.
It merely delayed the inevitable though. After Stansbury’s offense went three straight possessions without a score, it finally found a rhythm late in the first half with Hamilton scoring on a four-yard TD pass from Harris and then Brock Wilson scoring on a 30-yard TD pass from Harris.
In a blink the lead swelled from 13-0 to 27-0 heading into halftime.
Cedar Valley scored its lone touchdown midway through the third quarter on a KJ Fisher nine-yard touchdown run to trim the deficit to 27-7.
The score came one play after a Stansbury unsportsmanlike conduct penalty extended the drive after a Cedar Valley fourth-down incompletion. Alder said with a bit better discipline the team could’ve enjoyed its second shutout of the season.
After giving Cedar Valley a slight lifeline, Stansbury’s offense went to work scoring on three straight possessions over the rest of the second half to put the game out of reach. Harris accounted for two of those with touchdown runs as he finished with three rushing TDs and two passing TDs.
Harris said Friday’s emphatic win was important for his team as it looks to build momentum for the playoffs. A year ago Stansbury was a surprise 5A semifinalist, and Harris said the goal this season has always been to take be even better this year.
“I feel like we definitely have more to prove obviously, we’re not there yet, we haven’t reached the peak of the mountain which is what I like to refer to it as. I definitely feel like in the end game we can be better than we were last year, we have more tools and more seniors playing. I’m excited for the future,” said Harris.