SALT LAKE CITY — Heading into the showdown between Lone Peak and Mountain Crest at Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday night, all the talk was surrounding Mustangs quarterback Alex Kuresa, and justifiably so.
However, another gunslinger debuted and stole the spotlight.
Lone Peak's Chase Hansen used his dual threat capabilities and accounted for 388 yards to lead the Knights to a 23-13 victory.
"It was a good win for our boys," said Lone Peak head coach Tony McGeary, "Mountain Crest is always a top-notch 4A powerhouse and we knew we had to be ready. We had a lot of things to correct — and still do — but we limited our mistakes."
Hansen, who transferred from American Fork at the beginning of the season, displayed more leadership and seemed to be much more comfortable in his second game with the Knights. The junior completed 17 of 26 passes for 151 yards and was the main factor in the ground attack — carrying the ball 18 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
"Tremendous. He's coming into his own and just gutted it up," McGeary said. "He took some shots along the way, but he's a tough quarterback. He stepped up as a leader for us tonight."
In the first half, the Knights seemed to struggle with containing Kuresa and Troy Pickett. The duo hooked up eight times in the first half with two scores — the second of which came on a perfectly placed fade to the left corner of the end zone to put Mountain Crest up 13-9 with 2:04 remaining in the second half.
The easily earned success would stop there. In the second half, Lone Peak's secondary kicked into overdrive and created two interceptions on back-to-back possessions — forcing the Mustangs into a hectic offensive tempo for the rest of the night.
"Coming in, we wanted to try and contain (Kuresa), McGeary said. "We knew he would have the ability to scramble. We knew that we couldn't give up on him because he's so elusive. You can't quit on the play because he will hurt you.
"They did a great job in the secondary. We practiced with him scrambling and staying with our receivers, which really benefited us."18 comments on this story
The newly found defensive prowess opened the doors for Hansen to take control. On the opening drive of the second half, he orchestrated an eight-play, 63-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard scamper from Hansen.
On the ensuing possession, Hansen blew the game wide open. Lining up in a deep shotgun, he motioned his receiver to set up a veer option. However, the snap was delivered high, and Hansen turned coal into gold in the blink of an eye.
After surveying the play for a moment, he erupted up the middle of the scrum untouched for a 77-yard touchdown to put the final nail in the coffin.
"We were trying to set that up with the big sweep, so it worked perfectly," said Hansen, "The line blocked great."