Riley Crosbie and his teammates knew they were facing a bigger, faster and stronger squad in the top-ranked Timpview football team.
Still, they found plenty of reason to believe they would prevail in the semifinal game of the 4A state tournament Thursday afternoon.
"They're a great team," said the senior punter and free safety after the Mustangs lost 38-0 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. "We knew we had to play for each other. They were faster, stronger, bigger and everything, but we still prepared to win. We never gave up ... Things just didn't go our way today."
Instead of the upset they envisioned, the Mustangs tried to find solace in their effort against a team that has run over most squads it has faced this year. The Mustangs managed just seven first downs and didn't even average one yard per carry in the ground game.
Timpview rushed for 201 yards, while Mountain Crest earned just 67.
Still, the experience was a good one for the team, which is loaded with young talent.
"Playing in this game is a whole new experience," said senior Kyle Anderson. "The young guys that played today, they'll be used to this. They'll be ready for next year."
Mustang head coach Mark Wootton said he was proud of the effort his players put forth, despite the odds they faced, and his players, especially the seniors agreed.
"We started the year 0-3, but we never gave up," said Crosbie. "Everybody doubted us then, but we just never gave up. We have great coaches, and the younger guys really worked hard. I was really lucky to play with them ... We have good junior leadership. Mountain Crest will be back."
The players said they prepared for the game just as they have opponents all season long.
"We just tried to prepare for their speed and toughness," said Anderson, who is a defensive lineman. "We thought that if we came out with more heart, we could win."
Anderson said he felt the team did play better in the second half, but by then the T-Birds had built a substantial lead of 35-0."We just gave it all we had," Anderson said.