GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Desert Hills (3-2, 2-1) at Stansbury (6-0, 3-0)
Previous Meeting – Desert Hills 26, Stansbury 7 (Nov. 4, 2011 at Stansbury in 3A quarterfinals)
Classification: 3A, Region 9
Coach: Carl Franke (first year, 3-2 overall)
Last week: Lost to Dixie 30-27
Players to watch: It should be fascinating to see how QB Ty Rutledge responds to his three interception performance last week. One thing we learned from last year’s miracle comeback from injury, though, is that Rutledge is a gamer. Defensively, once again, LBs Travis Lagrone and Sil Bundy seemed to be in on every tackle last week.
Team Stats: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football/desert-hills-stats
Trend: Last week’s loss to Dixie was really the first close game the Thunder have had and they couldn’t quite get it done. But with a young team, you can bet some lessons were learned. Meanwhile, Rutledge reminds us of John Ursua, Cedar’s star quarterback from last year. They both took good teams and singlehandedly made them great teams.
Classification: 3A, Region 11
Coach: Clint Christiansen (13th year, 65-66 overall)
Last week: Beat Morgan 29-28 in overtime
Players to watch: No team in the state above class 1A has scored as many points as Stansbury and QB Chase Christiansen is the biggest reason why. He has rushed for 484 yards above nine yards a carry) and passed for 402 more, accounting for 18 touchdowns. When he hands the ball off, it’s usually to Jackson Clausing (412 yards, 11 ypc) and Jesse Horowitz (235 yards, 8 ypc).
Trend: These guys know how to run the triple option and it all starts with a QB who is being recruited by Georgia Tech in Chase Christiansen. The Stallions also throw it just enough to be dangerous. Stansbury had cruised past five opponents before squeaking past Morgan. In that game, the Stallions still had 300 rushing yards, but the passing game was inconsistent, at best.
Last year in the playoffs, Desert Hills was missing a pair of key starters and still pulled away for a 19-point win. Stansbury is better and you could argue that Desert Hills isn’t as good. But the Thunder have a game-changer in Ty Rutledge and Bridger Cowdin just keeps getting better. Meanwhile, Stansbury looked invincible until last week, when Morgan had them beat. A two-point conversion by Christiansen saved the day. The key will be to get the ball out of his hands.
Andy Griffin (26-4) — Desert Hills
Jeff Ames (25-5) — Stansbury
Region 9 standings: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football-standings
Region 9 leaders: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football-leaders