Dixie (8-2) at Stansbury (11-0)
3A state tournament quarterfinal
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Dixie by 11
All-time series: First meeting
TOOELE — Glancing through the recent success, especially this season, it’s rather easy to forget that Stansbury is only in its fourth year of existence.
The Stallions, established in 2009, weren’t exactly Kentucky-Derby quick out the gates. In their first two years they posted a 3-16 record. Since then, enduring the painful beginnings, they’ve gone 20-2 and find themselves undefeated with an opportunity to advance to the 3A semifinals against Dixie at home Friday.
“It would be huge for us. That was our goal last year, to get to Rice-Eccles. Then once you get there, every team is very good, (and) then it’s just roll the dice and hope you have a little luck,” Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen said. “It would be huge. That means there would be 24 teams in the stands watching. We’re not worried about the wins and losses; our goal has been to get to Rice-Eccles and see what happens.”
Despite playing at home, Stansbury (11-0) is still swimming in foreign waters, having never advanced past the quarterfinals, and is considered an underdog against the Flyers (8-2). Dixie enjoyed success in what commonly is considered the toughest region in 3A behind its fast-striking offense. Comparably, the Stallions realistically haven’t been challenged with their scheduled opponents' combined record of 41-72 — not exactly murderers’ row.
Flyers’ coach Blaine Monkres isn’t looking too much into the butter-soft Stansbury schedule.
“Everybody likes to point compare, so we beat Deseret Hills and they did,” he said. “That’s Desert Hills’ only two losses. It should be a pretty even matched game on paper. I’m sure with being a new school they’re going to try and move on into the semifinals. It’d be something that no team has ever done there before.”
In order for Stansbury to advance it needs to restrict Dixie quarterback Blake Barney. Statistically, the secondary looks more than capable of containing the gunslinger that has passed for 2,367 yards and 24 touchdowns. In 11 games this season, the Stallions have given up less than 700 yards through the air and held opposing quarterbacks to less than 60 yards nine times.
“We’re pretty good in the secondary,” Christiansen said. “Our philosophy is, spread offense teams, we want them to go 70-80 yards down the field in small chunks and see if they can do it — not give up the big plays. That won’t change this week. We’ve got to make them earn it without the big hurrah play down the field.
“We’re going to try and get some pressure on (Barney), and hopefully we can get our inside linebackers to lay a few good licks on him,” he continued. “If you get a few good shots on the quarterbacks, sometimes they get a little timid. That’s easier said than done. He’s strong, he’s fast and he makes plays when he’s moving. We got to do our best to see if we can control him.”
“I’m not sure they’ve faced a passing team that’s going to throw it as much as we do. They do have a lot of athletes at linebacker and in the secondary,” Monkres said. “They can all run, and I’m sure they’re going over the passing game this week. Hopefully they haven’t seen anybody that can throw as well as we have.”
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