SPANISH FORK — “Don’t be nervous, have fun, and leave everything out on the field.”
Those were the words Stansbury coach Brandon Anderson had for his team before its first playoff game in school history against the Spanish Fork Dons Thursday. The Stallions did just that, winning 1-0 behind a Josh Gallegos goal at the 55th minute. Kyler Clements and the Stansbury defense also posted a clean sheet.
Spanish Fork threatened early with two corner kicks, but the Stansbury defense held their ground. Everytime it seemed as if the Dons would score, the Stallions defense stepped up and made a play.
At the 34th minute, Ridge Payne had a very good chance to score for the Dons. Just as Payne was about to take his shot, Stansbury defender Bryce Terry knocked the ball away, and cleared it to a teammate upfield. Terry was solid all day for the Stallions, along with his defense.
With a 0-0 tie at halftime, the game was up for grabs. Momentum was in neither team’s favor. Someone needed to step up and make a big play for his team. Fortunately for the Stallions, Gallegos was the man for the job. With the game deadlocked and 0-0 at the 55th minute, Gallegos put the Stallions up 1-0 with a header off a fantastic setup by Zach Sharp. Momentum was now in Stansbury’s favor, but the Dons refused to go away quietly.
In the 62nd minute, Dallin Bies had a great chance at a goal for the Dons, with just a few players between him and the goalkeeper. Terry came in and knocked Bies to the ground, doing just what he needed to do to prevent the goal. He was immediately given a controversial red card for “denying an obvious scoring opportunity.” This was a huge loss for the Stallions. With just 21 minutes remaining they held to a slim lead, and were now playing a man down.
“I usually am an offensive player, but all I thought about for those last 21 minutes was playing defense and preventing a goal,” said Gallegos.
After several attempts to score, time finally ran out for the Dons. The Stallions rushed the field and piled on Gallegos in what was just the beginning of a huge celebration.
“It feels great,” said a smiling Gallegos. “It was just such a tough game and we were finally able to break through and score.”
The Stallions move on to the next round of the playoffs and will travel to Juan Diego to face the Soaring Eagles on Saturday at 1 p.m. And this game marks the end of a great season for the Region 12 champion Spanish Fork Dons.
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a junior at Stansbury High School.