4A high school football preview: Bountiful vs. Mountain Crest
Braves and Mustangs will renew a rivalry in much bigger setting
Keith Johnson, Deseret News
BOUNTIFUL (9-3) VS. MOUNTAIN CREST (9-2)
Friday, 2:30 p.m. — Rice-Eccles Stadium (field turf)
Ticket Information: Fans can purchase tickets at www.uhsaa.org
TV: KJZZ — Parry's Power Guide — Mountain Crest by 8
SALT LAKE CITY — Two years ago Mountain Crest beat Bountiful in a regular season region game, and while some things have certainly changed, there are a couple of things that have stayed the same.
The coaches in that 2008 Region 5 game, Larry Wall for Bountiful and Mark Wootton for Mountain Crest, were the same as Friday's 2:30 p.m. 4A semifinal at Rice-Eccles Stadium, but the two schools are from different regions now. During that game, Mountain Crest's sophomore quarterback threw two touchdowns passes to lead his team to a 21-7 win. On Friday, the Mustangs are hoping senior quarterback Alex Kuresa can do the same.
"It seems like he has been there forever," said Braves coach Wall of Kuresa. "I guess it just seems that way because he is such a good player. I know we have a lot of respect for what he can do."
The Braves, and the rest of the state for that matter, have seen Kuresa making play after play for four years now. The BYU signee will leave Mountain Crest as one of the state's most prolific quarterbacks in history.
Kuresa has thrown for a state record 95 career touchdowns and rushed for another 27, making him responsible for 122 touchdowns. He trails only Logan's Riley Nelson (130) in that category. He has thrown for 10,214 yards in his career, easily a state record and has rushed for another 1,758.
"Alex is a great football player and a great person," said Wootton. "The thing about Alex that I don't think people realize is how hard he works. They see all the physical talent, but he has worked so hard every year to get better. He is one of the hardest workers we have ever had here."
While Kuresa has remained a constant, he is not a one-man team.
"Alex can't win it by himself," added Wootton. "I think that may be why we are playing some of our best football at the right time. We have had guys that have realized that they can make plays for us. They no longer wait around and watch Alex go out and make plays, they want to make them, too."
Bountiful has advanced to this stage relying on a bevy of players as well. The Braves have five players that have rushed for at least a pair of touchdowns. One of those is senior Spencer Schmidt.
"Spencer had knee surgery earlier in the year and he is out there playing — and playing well," said Wall. "He is exactly the type of kid that we have had this season. They are a bunch of hard workers that just want to play football and they do it for each other. They know what is at stake, and they really want to play one more week."
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
The all-time series between Mountain Crest and Bountiful is tied 3-3 ... The most recent meeting occurred in 2008 when they were in the same region, with Mountain Crest winning 21-7 ... Mountain Crest's Mark Wootton leads Bountiful's Larry Wall in head-to-head meetings 3-1 ... Bountiful has won five state championships, including back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003. Its all-time playoff record is 45-29 ... Mountain Crest has won three state championships, most recently when it beat Highland in the 2005 title game. The Mustangs all-time playoff record is 38-18.
Bountiful coach Larry Wall: One of the elder statesmen of the coaching ranks, Wall is in his 26th year as a head coach, all at Bountiful. His career record is 201-93.