HYRUM — On a night when he became the second leading passer in state history, Mountain Crest quarterback Alex Kuresa wasn't too interested in grading his performance.
After completing 18 of 27 passes for 208 yards and a score in Mountain Crest's 28-14 win over Highland on Friday night, Kuresa didn't give his outing a traditional mark like an A, B or C. Instead, he will remember the night for three other letters — w-i-n.
"A win," Kuresa said. "That's how I rate it. A win is a win and we'll take it however we can get it."
Mountain Crest didn't earn many style points — after its first two drives anyway — but it did enough to defeat the Rams for the fourth straight time, as the star quarterback said.
Kuresa started the night with a hot hand, completing 14 of 19 passes for 178 yards in the first half. He had a Randall Cunningham-style highlight, scrambling from east to west before delivering a 26-yard pass to Troy Pickett on a third-and-16 play in the first quarter. He also ran for a first down on a fake punt on the Mustangs' opening drive.
"He did great like always," said Mountain Crest running back/linebacker Nate Rigby. "I'm glad he's on my team."
Kuresa's 26-yard strike to Pickett was the highlight of a game that featured the typical opening night inconsistent and sloppy play on both sides of the ball.
"I like broken plays," Kuresa said. "I try to do whatever I can to make plays for my team. That's what they expect of me and that's what I expect of them."
Kuresa, who completed passes to eight different receivers, converted fourth-down conversions on three of the Mustangs' four scoring drives. In addition to a the fake punt run, he threw a 6-yard pass to Keegan Mitton shortly before he had an 11-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0.
In the fourth quarter, he completed a 17-yard pass on a fourth-and-6, a play before Rigby scored on an 18-yard run.
Highland's run game was bottled up for most of the night. The Rams managed just two first downs in the first half, and star fullback Toi Taufa was held to 48 rushing yards on 15 carries. Rigby led the defensive effort with three sacks.
The Rams battled back after their slow start. They put together two fourth-quarter scoring drives, and were getting back in the game after making it 21-7 on a 15-yard touchdown run by Justin Weaver. They had the Mustangs on the ropes on their ensuing drive before Kuresa hit Dax Fackrell for a 13-yard gain to change momentum.
Kuresa entered Friday's game needing just 19 passing yards to pass former Logan great Riley Nelson for second all-time in state history. He now trails all-time leader Ryan Zimmerman, also from Mountain Crest, by 1,466 yards.
Kuresa said he hadn't given much thought to second place.
"It's good, I guess," he said. "First place, maybe, I'll be more excited if it comes. It's a cool thing, an honor to be up there with guys like Riley Nelson and Ryan Zimmerman. "I feel better about the win."
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company