GRANTSVILLE — How else could the end of a great rivalry game be except controversial, crazy and extremely close? It was the highest form of drama, with unbeaten seasons, questionable officiating and action that came down to the wire when Stansbury and Grantsville renewed their Region 11 rivalry Thursday night.
It was a contest that would prove to be the craziest football game that many of the players, coaches and fans had ever been a part of. Ultimately, the Stansbury Stallions came up with a 14-13 win, extending their record to 9-0.
Chase Christiansen ran for 110 yards on 15 carries, scored both touchdowns for the Stallions and recorded nine tackles on defense. Jackson Clausing and Colton May combined for 25 tackles and a fumble recovery, and Clausing came up with what proved to be the difference in the game — a blocked PAT.
“Sometimes you have just got to find a way to make plays,” said Christiansen. “We were able to do that, and thank goodness we were able to come out on top.”
Grantsville came out ready to play right from the opening kickoff. The Cowboys forced a three-and-out on Stansbury’s first drive, and then put together a 10-play, 55-yard drive to take an early 7-0 lead.
On the first play of that drive, Cowboy running back Ky Fisher took the pitch and threw it deep down the right sideline to a wide open Dillon Hutchins for a 30-yard gain. Kelby Landon finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Stallions fumbled on the ensuing possession, and the Cowboys took over at their own 33-yard line. The Stallion defense was able to force a three-and-out and regained possession.
After a three-and-out by both teams, the Stallions took over again, this time at their own 23. It didn’t take long for the Stallions to score, tying the game on only the second play of the drive. Christiansen took the ball straight up the middle and turned on the jets to tie the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
After another fumble by the Stallions, the Cowboys were given great field position, having the ball at the Stansbury 23-yard line. Grantsville took the ball down inside the 10, but that was when the Stallion defense turned it on. Sophomore safety Zayne Anderson came up with his third interception of the year, forcing Landon to throw his fifth interception in his last two games.
Grantsville scored again just before the half. The Cowboys put together a nine-play, 46-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown by Fisher. The PAT was blocked by Clausing, but the Cowboys held onto a 13-7 lead going into the locker-room.
After a third quarter filled with physical play and defensive stops, the score stayed 13-7 heading into the final period. It was a good old-fashioned dog fight.
“I’m not usually one to hit someone unless they’re directly in the play,” said Clausing. “But it didn’t matter where you were on the field — you were going to get hit.”
On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Stallions found the end zone, giving them the lead for good. On the first play of the drive, Christiansen found Jaron Moon for a 46-yard gain, setting the Stallions up at the Grantsville 33-yard line. Seven plays later, Christiansen found the end zone again, this time from 2 yards out to give the Stallions a one-point lead.
“As soon as we matched Grantsville’s intensity, we started picking it up,” said Clausing.
After more physical play and defensive stops, the Cowboys took over at their own 13-yard line with just under three minutes to go, hoping to get in field goal range for their freshman kicker.
The Cowboys did just that, marching all the way down to the Stansbury 23, setting up a 40-yard field goal attempt for the kicker. The hold was down, the kick was up and he missed it wide left — but there was a flag. A personal foul call, one of many curious calls on the night, gave the Grantsville kicker another chance, this time from only 25 yards out — a chip shot for the freshman. However, he missed the 25-yarder wide right this time, and the Stallions were victorious.
“I don’t think we ever gave up on the play,” said Christiansen. “We really would’ve liked to block the kick, but we caught a break, and we won the game.”
The Stallions extend their school-record winning streak to nine games, clinching at least a share of the Region 11 title and moving to 9-0 on the year. The Stallions will finish off their regular season at Ben Lomond next week. Grantsville drops to 5-4 on the year, and will face Ogden at home next week.
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a senior at Stansbury High School.