MORGAN, Utah – The Stansbury Stallions and the Morgan Trojans met Friday night in a game that would most likely determine the Region 11 championship. Both teams provided a game that lived up to the hype; a 29-28 Stansbury victory in overtime. Stansbury moved to 6-0 on the season.
Morgan drew first blood midway through the first quarter. The Trojans finished off a five minute, 11-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Kade Carrigan.
On their first possession of the game, trailing 7-0, the Stallions gave Morgan another great opportunity. Jackson Clausing broke through into the second level but fumbled the ball while fighting for extra yardage. Morgan had the ball only 47 yards from the goal line and had a chance to take a two-score lead.
But the Stallion defense stepped it up. On third down, Stansbury defensive end Austen Kincaid recorded one of his two sacks of the night, bringing down quarterback Ben Saunders and forcing a punt.
“Our linebackers were solid all night, and so was our secondary,” Kincaid said. “The line demanded double teams, and that left me open. If it wouldn’t have been for my team, I wouldn’t have been able to make those plays.”
Kincaid wasn't the only Stallion that played great defensively. Colton May led the defense all night, recording 16 tackles.
“This was by far the toughest, most fun game I have ever been a part of,” May said. “I’m so proud of my teammates. They worked so hard tonight, and I love every single one of them.”
After starting at their own 23, the Stallions took the ball 77 yards in 10 plays, converting on a fake punt to keep the drive alive, late in the first quarter. Chase Christiansen found Dacota Case for a 7-yard pass to tie the game at 7-7.
After recovering the kickoff when it bounced off the front line of Morgan, the Stallions were not able to take advantage of the momentum. Chase Christiansen threw his first interception of the season to Kade Carrigan, who took the ball to the Stansbury 17. Five plays later, Lantzen Toomer found the end zone on a 1-yard run, giving Morgan the 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
The Stallions were able to tie the game just before halftime when Jackson Clausing scored from eight yards out, which sent the teams into the locker room tied at 14.
Neither team was able to score in the third quarter, but the Stallions took the lead with 11:55 remaining in the fourth. After taking nearly eight minutes off the clock and running 18 plays, Clausing scored again, this time from two yards out to give the Stallions the 21-14 advantage.
Morgan was stopped on a fake punt attempt on their next drive, and later in the fourth while still trailing 21-14, the Trojans fumbled, giving the Stallions the ball 35 yards from the goal line.
The Stallions gave the ball right back to the Trojans on their first play of the drive, throwing an interception on a pitch pass to the end zone.
Trailing by seven with only three minutes left and 80 yards to go, Morgan needed a big drive. The Trojans got what they needed and took the ball all the way to the end zone, converting on a fourth and eight in the process. Joseph Kippen scored a 16-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 21-21, which forced it into overtime.
Morgan wasted no time, taking only three plays to score on their first possession. Kippen scored again, this time from nine yards, and the Trojans took a 28-21 lead.
Stansbury also was able to score quickly. Chase Christiansen scored from 11 yards out, and the Stallions were an extra point away from tying the game at 28 apiece.
As the offense trotted off the field after the score, they turned around to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Chase Christiansen found the end zone once more on the conversion, and the Stallions were victorious.
“That game could’ve gone either way,” Stansbury coach Clint Christiansen said. “Morgan is a great team, and we treated this game like it was the region title. Everybody talks about the Juan Diego’s and the St. George teams, but these are two teams you better look out for. Either one of us could make a run at that state title.”
Although he finished with just 11 carries for 56 yards, Chase Christiansen made key plays down the stretch to help the Stallions get the win.
“There’s nothing quite like the game we just played,” Chase Christiansen said. “There’s something amazing about playing an overtime game, especially against a Morgan team that is outstanding in every sense of the word.”
Friday’s win was the first overtime game in the Stallions’ young history.
The 6-0 Stallions are back home next week to face the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year – the Deseret Hills Thunder. Morgan will be at home once again to face Bear River.
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a senior at Stansbury High School.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company