ST. GEORGE — The Mustang seniors have one last ride.
The Crimson Cliffs High School football team will play for the 4A state championship Friday at 11 a.m. at Rice Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah.
“Seniors!” head coach Wayne Alofipo bellowed to the huddled Mustangs after practice Wednesday night in Washington Fields.“Love ya, man. Love you guys. Thank you for all your hard work. I’m going to miss you. More than you guys realize, we are going to miss you. What you’ve done for this program is tremendous.”
The Mustangs (12-1) are the No. 2, and their roster lists some 42 seniors on the squad.
After last year’s loss to neighborhood rival Desert Hills in the state title game, the Mustangs remember what it feels like to make it all the way to the big game and then lose.
Friday’s opponent will seek to recreate that experience.
Eighth-seeded Green Canyon was 2-3 in the fierce Region 11 schedule but is 10-3 overall and upset No. 1 overall seed Sky View 36-32 in the quarterfinals.
The Wolves represent the best defense Crimson has faced this year, yielding a meager 11.6 points per game.
“They’re super strong defensively,” Alofipo told St. George News. “They’re fast, they’re disciplined. So it’s going to be a defensive-minded game, in my opinion.”
Green Canyon defeated No. 4 seed Park City convincingly in its semifinal, shutting out the Miners 21-0.
Crimson Cliffs made the title game via a 31-24 victory over Ridgeline in its semifinal.
Mustangs senior quarterback Steele Barben will have plenty of weapons to choose from when they attack the Wolves.
McCord Christiansen and Mason Topalian are both threats out of the backfield and a stable of speedy receivers – Malakai Alofipo, Ty West, Boston Adamson, Caiden Garcia-Casey and Owen Peterson – gives Barben plenty of targets.
“We feel like we have some options and matchups that we feel we can hopefully exploit and take advantage of,” Alofipo said. “We’ll see what happens Friday.”
Green Canyon is led by junior quarterback Payton Wilson, who threw for two scores and ran for another in the Wolves’ win over Park City.
Crimson Cliffs will be the home team in Friday morning’s matchup for the 4A state championship.
Follow full coverage of the game in St. George News and on The Fan Sports Network.
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