Note: Stansbury finished with an 11-1 overall record in 2012 and won the Region 11 title with a 6-0 record. It lost to Dixie 20-13 in the 3A quarterfinals.
TOOELE — For two of the main cogs of the Stansbury football program, going to practice is a family event.
Clint Christiansen, the fifth-year head coach of the Stallions, and his son Chase, a senior quarterback and linebacker, are heading into their fourth season together. And they are doing so with great potential.
"It is the fifth year this school is open and this is probably the best team we’ve had so far," said the head coach, whose team has advanced to the 3A quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.
"We have high expectations for our team, which most coaches do right now," Christiansen said. "We’ve got some good kids. We’ve got quite a few kids who are good enough to be offered scholarships, so we think our chances are pretty good to make a run at this thing."
One of those players is Chase, who has committed to play for Utah State. The team captain recorded 953 rushing yards, 674 passing yards, and 30 total touchdowns a season ago.
"An amazing football player; so many skills, so many things he can do on offense and defense," Christiansen said. "He’s just an explosive athlete, a big playmaker; we look to him to do a lot of things, to make a lot of things happen for us."
But, the coach added, he's got a great supporting cast, too.
"There’s a lot great kids around him that allow him to do the things that he does. If they try to take him out of the picture, we feel like we have a lot of other threats on the team that are going to do some damage," Christiansen said. "Your quarterback is only as good as the surrounding cast they have."
That group of players includes Allan Havili, a junior lineman who had 51 tackles and two sacks last year; Hudson Conrad, a junior wide receiver and defensive back; Austen Kincaid, a junior tight end and defensive end; Tyler Jensen, a senior running back and defensive back; and Zayne Anderson, a junior running back and defensive back who has received an offer from USU.
"Right now we're six guys deep playing running back for us, and interchangeable at any time," Christiansen said, noting the talents of seniors Jesse Horowitz and Nick Mackay, who combined for more than 600 rushing yards in 2012.
"A lot of guys can do some damage on the offensive side of the ball," Christiansen continued. "There are some good receivers out there; we feel like we can throw the ball more than we ever have, and we’re pretty good on the offensive line."
As excited as the head coach is about where his team has started out, he made sure to note that all the hype has yet to be defended with a single down.
"These guys have been tested; they’re very good at what we do," he said. "We haven’t played any games yet, though. That may all change as soon as we hit Desert Hills. We may not be singing the same tune, or maybe we will. We’ll see."
The Stallions open the season with road trip to visit the Thunder, a game the Stansbury squad is looking forward to.
"It’s a great matchup between the two schools. There is a lot of respect between us and them and their coaching staff and players," Christiansen said. His team defeated Desert Hills during the regular season last year and the Thunder beat Stansbury in the 2011 3A quarterfinals.
"We’re excited to play them," the coach said, "and when that one’s over, we’ll get ready for the next one."
Stansbury Stallions at a glance
Coach: Clint Christiansen is entering his fifth season as Stansbury’s head coach, where he has led the Stallions to a 23-9 record. In 14 years of head coaching experience, he has accumulated a 70-67 overall record. Christiansen is a graduate of Granstville High.
(8 returning starters; triple option)
Coach Christiansen said the Stallions will continue to run the triple option, "and run it well," as evidenced by their standing as third-best offensive team in 3A last year, averaging 34.75 points per game. Senior quarterback Chase Christiansen returns to lead the potent squad, and he is surrounded by numerous experienced and interchangeable players, who can rotate through the offense as needed.
(8 returning starters)
The Stansbury defense allowed just 126 total points last season, an average of just 10.5 points per game and second only to Juan Diego. Coach Christiansen does not expect any less intensity out of his team this year. Allan Havili will again be a major presence on the defensive line, and Zayne Anderson and Tyler Jensen accounted for four and three interceptions, respectively, out of the team's 12 total picks in 2012.
Coaches preseason 3AA North straw poll: Second
Deseret News 3AA North prediction: First
Bottom line: The Stallions have every reason to be good again this season. However, the key for Stansbury to have a successful year and finally advance past the quarterfinals includes establishing an effective and consistent run game to allow the team to throw the ball more than it has in the past.
Stansbury coaching history
2009-present — Clint Christiansen (23-19)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2012 — Colton May, LB
2012 — Chase Christiansen, QB
2011 — Jeremy Cafe, DL
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
High school football: Stansbury Stallions 2013 preview
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.
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