High school football: Mountain Crest Mustangs are led by players with a unique bond
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
HYRUM — Football players are known for doing just about anything to stay on the field in a game.
Most admit to playing hurt at one time or another, and some will even change positions if it means more time on the field.
Mountain Crest's Jamison Webb is no exception.
In fact, because the senior quarterback lost two years of varsity playing time to a severely broken leg, he may want those moments even more than most.
His passion to play as much as possible in his final high school season makes his ability to put the team's needs before his own desire even more impressive. Twice this season in critical games Webb has stepped aside as the team went with a wildcat offense in which senior running back Eddy Hall ran the offense.
He just shrugs when asked whether it's difficult to be replaced in such emotional and important games. After all, aren't those the moments that players work for all year long?
"It's just the coaches decision and I respect it 100 percent," said Webb as brushes his long wavy hair out of his eyes. "It's just the culture of the team, I guess. We trust each other 100 percent. If our coaches put Eddy in for my job, I respect it. We've got to win, so I don't care."
In two of the team's biggest wins, Webb relinquished his quarterbacking duties to Hall, who ran the offense last year when Webb was still recovering from a broken leg that required surgery and a year with a painful metal plate attached to his bones.
Against rival Logan at Logan High, Webb was unable to lead the Mustangs into the end zone in the first half, so coaches decided to switch to the wildcat. Webb played receiver in the second half and Hall's ability to slice up a defense with his running ability helped the team to a come-from-behind victory.
In the 4A semifinals last Friday, it was actually Webb's idea to switch to Hall and the wildcat in the second half of the team's game against Highland.
"He came to us and said, 'I can't even grip the ball. I can't throw, so let's avoid the handoff exchange and see if we can get something going with Eddy,'" said head coach Mark Wootton of Webb. The Mustangs didn't score in the second half, but they were able to eat up clock and hold onto their lead for a shot at Timpview in the 4A championship game Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Wootton, who is also Webb's uncle, said at the beginning of the season he and other coaches told Webb that in order for the team to be successful both he and Hall would have to play a specific role.
"We told him he'd have to be the quarterback and play well, and Eddy was going to have to be able to run the ball," said Wootton. "Jamo's done a really nice job."
Hall said he thinks the decision might bother Webb a little, but he's an unselfish, committed teammate.
"On the field and off the field, he's an all-around good kid," said Hall. "He's a great team leader, and that's why he's our quarterback. He knows what's right for the team and so do I. We both have our off games, but we all trust our coaches to make the right decisions. And we're willing to do whatever it takes to get as far as we are right now."
Wootton said Webb is a "laid-back kid who is really kind of quiet. He doesn’t try to draw attention to himself, but he's a really good athlete."
While Webb is quiet and easy-going, Hall is an outgoing prankster.
"Eddy has a two-minute serious button," said Wootton laughing. "He's always, always joking, laughing and pranking. But he's ultra competitive. Whether it's basketball or football, if you take a shot at him, he can be pretty feisty. He's always been very, very self-assured and extremely competitive. He's just fearless." Webb smiles when asked about playing with a guy like Hall.
"It's fun to watch him," said Webb. "He's a great player. I learn little things that he does, like how he cuts and stuff. I copy him. It makes me a better quarterback. But in the end, I just want to win."
Webb's older brother, Cameron, was on one of the Mountain Crest teams that lost to Timpview in the semifinals for three straight seasons. Webb admits his older brother asked for a bit of revenge and he feels "a little" pressure to deliver what those past teams could not.
"But not much," he said smiling.
So why can this team accomplish what those Mustang teams in the past could not?
Everyone has a little bit different take on that, including some saying the Mustangs will play better defense to others saying they will have more confidence. But Wootton suspects it might be the team's affection for each other and the belief they have in their ability to succeed.
"They're a special group in the way they think they can win every time," said Wootton. "They really don't even talk about winning or ask 'Can we win?' They just think they're going to win. They're pretty special that way."
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