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High school football: Juan Diego clinches 3AA North Region title with 37-16 win over Stansbury

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10 2013 10:55 p.m. MDT

Juan Diego's Cole Nelson (9) keeps the ball on the option play. (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media) Juan Diego's Cole Nelson (9) keeps the ball on the option play. (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media)

STANSBURY PARK — The Stansbury Stallions and No. 1 ranked Juan Diego met on a cold, rainy Thursday night in a game that would most likely determine the region championship.

Juan Diego prevailed 37-16, getting two touchdowns each from Chase Williams and Cole Nelson, and a solid performance from its defense.

"This was a huge win for us," said Nelson. "Our offensive line won the game for us tonight. All we had to do was run hard. Our line did it for us."

Jessie Springer found the end zone from two yards out on the Soaring Eagle's first drive, giving them a 7-0 lead.

Stansbury answered with a solid drive, but a couple key penalties pushed the Stallions back, forcing them to punt it away.

Alex Mackay (28) carries the ball for Stansbury. (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media) Alex Mackay (28) carries the ball for Stansbury. (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media)

Nelson found the end zone for the Soaring Eagle on the ensuing drive, following his blocks and taking it 25 yards for the score, giving Juan Diego a 14-0 advantage with 4:23 left in the first quarter.

The Stallions turned it over on downs on their next possession, but the defense stepped up big.

Landon Stice picked off Nelson's pass, taking it 35 yards to the end zone, cutting the Juan Diego lead to 14-6.

Juan Diego responded on the next drive after Chase Williams scored from 36 yards out, but Stansbury was able to respond again.

Alex Mackay scored from 26 yards out to cut the lead to 20-13, but Stansbury wasn't able to find the end zone for the rest of the night. Mackay finished the game with 13 carries, 120 yards and the lone score.

Gage Manzione (34) hands off the ball to Jesse Horowitz (21). (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media) Gage Manzione (34) hands off the ball to Jesse Horowitz (21). (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media)

"We knew what they were gonna do," said Nelson. "We knew their offense like the back of our hand, and everybody just did their jobs."

Williams scored again for the Soaring Eagle on the ensuing drive, extending the lead to 27-13 with just 1:55 left in the half.

"We're all improving every week," said Williams. "We have a great staff, and our offensive line has become a real weapon for us. I'm proud to be running behind them."

Stansbury fumbled on the first play in the ensuing drive, and Juan Diego scored its final touchdown of the half just two plays later.

Nelson ran it in from 22 yards out, giving the Soaring Eagle a 34-13 lead heading into halftime.

Gage Manzione passes the ball downfield. (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media) Gage Manzione passes the ball downfield. (Charlie Haddon, Haddon Media)

Each team was only able to sum up a field goal in the second half, and the Soaring Eagle were able to move to 8-0 on the season, extending their regular season winning streak to 26 games.

Game notes: Stansbury's Connor Littlefield had 21 tackles in the loss, setting a new school record. Stansbury's Alex Mackay ran for 120 yards or more for the third game in a row.

CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a Stansbury High School graduate. After serving an LDS Mission to the Dominican Republic, CJ will attend Southern Utah University. Follow CJ on Twitter @BigCeeJ3113.

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