Union (5-5) at Stansbury (10-0)
3A state tournament first round
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: Stansbury by 38
All-time series: First meeting
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Stansbury's Clint Christiansen and Union's Matt Labrum
For a school that has only been open since 2009, Stansbury sure made a splash this year with a perfect regular-season record.
"We are pretty excited. Got us the No. 1 seed, and that's all our 10-0 record means now," said Stallions coach Clint Christiansen. "Now you can throw that season behind, and get ready for the new one."
While the Stallions are riding a team-best record, it hasn't been the smoothest road to the top. In fact, Stansbury combined for just three wins in its first two seasons. But in 2011 Stansbury had a breakout season, finishing with a 9-2 mark and a playoff berth. Things only got better in 2012.
Quarterback Chase Christiansen leads the Stansbury attack, having tossed 11 touchdown passes and rushing for 15 more.
Christiansen has rushed for 753 yards on the season, and is just 57 yards shy of eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
"It's been fun, I' m not going to lie," said coach Christiansen when referencing the opportunity he's had to coach his son. "Pretty proud of him as a father, and extremely proud of him as his coach."
Union has quite challenge ahead of it, and on paper the matchup with Stansbury doesn't appear too favorable.
While Union has made improvements from a winless campaign in 2011, it will need to be at its best Friday.
Quarterback Jayde Bertoch and rushing leader Gavin Nielsen will be the center of the Union attack, and will be trying to break through a Stansbury team that has outscored opponents 93-20 the past four weeks.
Stansbury linebacker Colton May will be at the center of the Stansbury defense, along with defensive tackles Allan Havili and Iosua Opeta. The two linemen have combined for 78 tackles, while May has 109 tackles this season.
"(May) has got two very good defensive tackles sitting in front of him, but we've got a full package that teams have to deal with," said Christiansen.
Stansbury's Tyler Stevens and star RB Dacota Case return after being bit by the injury bug, and it couldn't have come at a better time according to Chrisiansen.
"I'm really excited because now we are fully loaded. Our whole crew is back for the playoffs so it should be really exciting," said Christiansen. "We have no excuses. All of our guys are back in play, and they are ready to make a run at this thing."
And while the visiting team comes in as the underdog Friday evening, coach Christiansen made it perfectly clear that the sense of urgency is there for the boys to succeed and move forward.
"Playoffs are the urgency. There is no tomorrow," said Christiansen. "There's no time to come back and fix anything if you lose, and that is what we are stressing to the kids. Anybody can beat you on any given night."
"We want to make a run, but we know the task ahead of us and that there are some good teams coming."
Union statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 15.3 ppg
Scoring defense: 22.8 ppg
Passing leader: Jayde Bertoch (54-139, 38.8%, 537 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Gavin Nielsen (155 carries, 830 yards, 4 TDs), Steve Welsh (74 carries, 421 yards, 3 TDs)
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