HYRUM All Mountain Crest heard about this week was how good Bountiful was on defense and how the Braves would present the first serious challenge to the Mustang offense.
The Mustangs wanted to do nothing more than show everyone that their offense wasn't the only thing worth talking about.
"We wanted to show the state we're legit on both offense and defense," quarterback Alex Kuresa said.
Mountain Crest created plenty of believers on Friday night. The Mustangs held Bountiful to 181 yards of total offense and only 6 yards in the fourth quarter on their way to a 21-7 victory.
Right from the start, moving the football proved to be impossible for the Braves. They gained only 91 total yards in the first half with a paltry nine yards coming through the air.
Mountain Crest had its own struggles sustaining drives in the first quarter, at one point failing to convert a fourth down inside the red zone. But the Mustangs seized momentum when John Werner blocked a punt on the first play of the second quarter.
Werner's block gave Mountain Crest the ball at the Braves 9-yard line. Two plays later, Ethen Lofthouse gave the Mustangs a touchdown lead on a 6-yard burst between the tackles.
The blocked punt and quick score seemed to invigorate Mountain Crest. The Mustangs needed only three plays to add to their advantage.
This time a big play on offense put them over the top. Kuresa connected Alex Knowles for a 66-yard touchdown strike to make it 13-0 with 7:39 remaining in the first half.
"I just felt like the momentum was totally on our side," Werner said. "After that, there was no looking back."
Kuresa did his part to keep momentum in Mountain Crest's favor. The sophomore quarterback threw for 166 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone and finished with 211 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 15-of-24 passing.
He outgained Bountiful's entire offense by himself in both halves. Kuresa gave much of the credit to his receivers.
"I have a lot of faith in my receivers," Kuresa said. "I know if I throw it up, they'll go get it."
Mountain Crest had no trouble adding to its lead in the third quarter after taking advantage of good field position. The Mustangs only needed to go 24 yards in four plays scoring on a 12-yard pass from Kuresa to Lofthouse to make it 21-0 with 6:31 remaining in the quarter.
Still, Bountiful wasn't quite out of it yet. The Braves finally found the end zone on their next drive when Drew Miner pitched to Joey Nelson and the senior took off 59 yards down the sideline on a reverse.Andrew Welling intercepted Kuresa two plays later, giving Bountiful the ball at the Mountain Crest 27. This time, however, the Mustangs came up with a timely stop. Lofthouse blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt by Joe Lake with 1:04 remaining in the quarter to bring to an end the Braves' hopes for a rally.