Note: Mountain Crest finished with a 5-7 overall record in 2019 and was second in Region 11 with a 4-1 record. It was RPI seed No. 11 in the 4A playoffs, and was eliminated by Stansbury 28-24 in second round.
HYRUM — Defensively a year ago, Mountain Crest was good enough to hold its own in 4A as it ranked fourth in scoring defense. The problem was on the other side of the ball as it ranked 16th only scoring 17.9 ppg.
Head coach: Jason Lee
Entering his fifth season as head coach at Mountain Crest, where his teams have posted a 27-20 record in the first four years. He’s a graduate of North Sanpete High School and Southern Utah University.
Improving that efficiency while also maintaining that defensive intensity will be key in trying to follow up last year’s Region 11 runner-up finish.
“We moved the ball really well between the 20s, and then inside the 20s we struggled a bit. Being able to consistently get the ball punched when we get it down there is key,” said Mountain Crest coach Jason Lee.
Despite those offensive shortcomings at times, Mountain Crest still nearly advanced to the quarterfinals as it lost to Stansbury in the final seconds of the 4A second round.
“You always hope that some of that stuff is (an) incentive builder that they left something behind that they could’ve easily fixed,” said Lee.
How well the offense ultimately does this year will depend on QB play. Zeb Bensen and Preston Lofthouse have battled throughout the summer for the starting job, and whoever gets the nod will be critical in improving that red zone efficiency.
Defensively the Mustangs return three starters at linebacker as they hope to pick up where last year’s defense left off.
Mountain Crest Mustangs at a glance
Coach Lee’s thoughts on how his players dealt with the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:
“These kids did pretty good as far as rebounding and coming back. We missed two months worth of stuff and then we were able to get back into it. I don’t feel like we’re that far off from where we’ve been. Mainly the stuff that they missed just the strength building by us, but lots and lots of them were working out on their own and they were pretty disciplined.”
Aug. 14 — SALEM HILLS, 7 p.m.
Aug. 21 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 — vs Bonneville, Idaho (at Idaho State), 10 a.m.
Sept. 4 — at Bonneville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — at Logan, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — GREEN CANYON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — at Sky View, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — BEAR RIVER, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 — RIDGELINE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — HILLCREST, 7 p.m.
Mountain Crest Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Adam Kennedy/Dave Kuresa
2019 offense: 17.9 ppg (16th in 4A)
- 5 returning starters
- Spread offense
Returning offensive starters
- Brock Alder (OL)
- Calvin Kunzler (OL)
- Emilio Veator (TB)
- Walker Hutchinson (Slot)
- Elijah Jackson (TE/FB)
Offensive newcomers to watch
- Zeb Bensen (QB)
- Preston Lofthouse (QB)
- Martin Vasquez (OL)
- Parker Parrish (OL)
- Coleman Foulger (WR)
- Tony Lopez (WR)
- Terrill Lee (WR)
Coach Lee’s keys for offensive success in 2020:
“We need to consistently make plays. There were times last year we needed crucial downs and we’d have a drop or we’d have miscue on the snap, just little things that held you back. We’ve got to overcome those and sustain drives.”
Mountain Crest Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Jason Lee
2019 defense: 18.3 ppg (4th in 4A)
- 5 returning starters
- 3-4 defense
Returning defensive starters
- Walker Hutchinson (DL)
- Elijah Jackson (MLB)
- Emilio Veator (OLB)
- Coleman Foulger (OLB)
- Noah Fletcher (CB)
Defensive newcomers to watch
- Avery Wells (DL)
- Nick Lefevre (CB)
- Stockton Nelson (LB)
Coach Lee’s keys for defensive success in 2020:
“We’ve got to be able too get off the field on third downs, that’s the name of the game. We’ve got a few line spots we’ve got to fill out, but we usually rotate eight or nine guys so we can keep them fresh. They play two plays, come out. Play two plays, come out.”
Coaches preseason Region 11 straw poll
- Sky View
- Green Canyon
- Mountain Crest
- Bear River
Deseret News outlook for 2020
The competition one through six in Region 11 this season should be much improved, and Mountain Crest will need to be more efficient offensively if it hopes to compete near the top again. Assuming the defense maintains its toughness from last year, even mild offensively improvement should help this team fight near the top of Region 11 again.
Felt’s Facts for Mountain Crest
- All-time record: 248-162 (37 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: 28
- All-time playoff record: 48-25
- State championships: 3 (1987, 2001, 2005)
- State championship record: 3-4
- Most played rivalry: 39 meetings with Sky View dating back to 1983. Mountain Crest leads 23-16.
Last 5 Seasons
- 2019 — 5-7 (4-1 in Region 11 – 4A Second round)
- 2018 — 7-5 (2-3 in Region 12 – 4A Quarterfinals)
- 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)
Mountain Crest coaching history
- 2016-current — Jason Lee (27-20)
- 2004-2015 — Mark Wootton (90-51) *1 State Title
- 2001-03 — Art Erickson (19-16) *1 State Title
- 1988-2000 — Dan Cox (85-39)
- 1986-87 — Jack Robinson (16-8) *1 State Title
- 1983-85 — George Bayles (3-23)
Deseret News All-State Archives
Check out our archives of Deseret News all-state teams from 1929 to 2019 at Deseret.com.
Mountain Crest All-State at-a-glance
Deseret News Mr. Football recipients
- 2010 — Alex Kuresa, QB
Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years
- 2019 — Eddie Huerta, DT
- 2018 — Hunter Schroeder, LB
- 2018 — Jace Dart, S
- 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 Christansen, 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