GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Stansbury (0-0, 0-0) at Desert Hills (0-0, 0-0)
Previous Meeting – Stansbury 12, Desert Hills 7 (Sept. 28, 2012 at Stansbury)
Classification: 3AA, North Region
Coach: Clint Christiansen (14th year, 70-67 overall)
Offense: Triple option
Last game: Lost to Dixie 20-13 in 2012 3A quarterfinals
Players to watch: One of the names buzzing on football fans’ lips is Chase Christansen, who is the coach’s son and also a verbal commit to Utah State University. The Stallions are not a one-man show, however, as they return 16 starters from an 11-1 team a year ago, including running backs Jesse Horowitz and Zayne Anderson. Allan Havili is dominant on both lines and Tyler Jensen is a standout DB.
PPG: 34.8 (last season)
PAPG: 12.5 (last season)
Trend: Word in prep football circles was that Region 11 was a little soft and with league champ Stansbury and runner-up Morgan both failing to make it to the semis at Rice-Eccles Stadium, that seemed to be the case. Now that the Stallions are in the 3AA North with Juan Diego (among others), we’ll have a better idea how they measure up to the top teams. Of course, they also play both Desert Hills and Hurricane this season, so that will tell a lot as well.
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Carl Franke (2nd year, 8-4 overall)
Offense: Spread, pistol
Last game: Lost to Spanish Fork 35-28 in the 2012 3A state semifinals
Players to watch: DH has a potential superstar themselves in running back Bridger Cowdin. But unlike the Stallions, the Thunder have an inexperienced quarterback in Nick Warmsley. The pressure will be on the sophomore. Meanwhile, the Desert Hills defense could be the best in the state, at least at linebacker with Sil Bundy, Gabe Sewell and Tucker Cowdin.
PPG: 32.9 (last season)
PAPG: 18.5 (last season)
Trend: Desert Hills is desperate to get back on the field and play football, in part to purge themselves of last season’s bitter close loss to Spanish Fork in the semis. But also because the Thunder feel like they’re going to be pretty good. Like a lot of first-year head coaches, Franke said he learned a lot. But he was able to do it with a region championship team and an 8-4 record. That’s a tough opening-act to follow. Ty Rutledge was a transcendent athlete, so the Thunder have his skill, athleticism and fiery personality to replace.
Easily the best match-up in the new 3AA for the Endowment Game, and kudos to the coaches for not being afraid to schedule tough games early on. Both coaches seemed to think it will be a low-scoring game, much like last year’s 12-7 Stallions win. But DH was without several key players last year and it was at Stansbury, so the score may be misleading. It will be a fascinating duel between Stansbury’s star QB and DH’s star running back. Whoever has the biggest game will lead his team to victory.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (0-0) — Desert Hills
Darren Cole (0-0) — Desert Hills
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