We’re a young team, so we scheduled some big powerhouse schools in the preseason to hopefully benefit us for the playoffs. —Clint Christiansen
Ridgeline (7-4) at Stansbury (7-3)
4A state tournament quarterfinals
Friday, 4 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Stansbury by 3
All-time series: Stansbury leads 1-0
Coach vs. coach: Stansbury’s Clint Christiansen leads Ridgeline’s Chris Howell, 1-0
Last meeting: Sept. 30, 2016 – Stansbury 30-24
There is a popular idiom, “familiarity breeds contempt,″ that has wound its way through Western culture. While its origin is unknown, it first made an appearance in literature in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Tale of Melibee” in 1386. Today, it is often a phrase reserved for the most heated of sports rivalries — think Utah vs. BYU — and the occasional marriage.
The Stansbury Stallions and Ridgeline RiverHawks are not rivals by any means. After all, one game with a second on the way does not make a rivalry.
Nor do they do share much, if any contempt, for one another.
“They are a talented team. A solid team,” Stansbury head coach Clint Christiansen said of the RiverHawks.
Familiarity, however, is one thing they do have.
“We played them last year,” said Christiansen. “They were in our region. We were at the same football camp (this summer). We are a little bit familiar with (Ridgeline).”
What that familiarity will do for Christiansen and the Stallions, or Chris Howell’s RiverHawks, in their quarterfinal match remains to be seen.
One thing Christiansen does know, however, is that his team will not be intimidated.
“We are undersized. We are so tiny compared to the teams we play against,” said Christiansen. “We’re a young team, so we scheduled some big powerhouse schools in the preseason to hopefully benefit us for the playoffs.”
Among those teams were the Sky View Bobcats, the Taylorsville Warriors and the Mountain Crest Mustangs.
While the Stallions lost each of those contests, they were exposed to the type of opponent they would be facing late in the season, like the RiverHawks.
“I don’t think our kids will be in shock or awed when (they) show up and they are so much bigger than we are,” said Christiansen. “They’ve seen big teams before.”
To combat their overall lack of size, the Stallions utilize the triple-option attack, an offense that Christiansen noted “may be our best defense.”
Leading the way for Stansbury has been Silas Young, the junior running back who has racked up 1,237 yards and 19 touchdowns on 165 carries.
Young is one of just seven Stallions to score a rushing touchdown this season, with Mitch Lindsay (65 carries for 241 yards and six touchdowns) and Jet Richins (64 carries for 261 yards and four scores) each making a mark.
Lindsay, the team’s quarterback, has also made a mark through the air, if a somewhat limited one. His 802 yards passing and eight touchdown passes lead the team.
“Offensively we have to try to create with our triple-option and misdirection stuff,” said Christiansen. “The kids play hard. They aren’t going to awe you, but they are gut-tough kids.”
His kids will have to play one of their best games of the season to get past the RiverHawks.
In only its second year, Ridgeline has proven to be a capable football team. In 2016 the RiverHawks advanced to the 3AA quarterfinals before falling to the eventual champion Desert Hills Thunder.
This season, Howell’s squad battled through the tough Region 12, before settling in with a 7-4 overall record and a No. 3 seed.
Leading the way has been quarterback Brady Stuart.
“Brady was our backup a year ago,” Howell said before the start of this season. “He is more of a scrambling type with the ability to be a playmaker on the run.”
That scrambling ability has enabled Stuart to rush for 716 yards on 120 carries and score eight touchdowns.
Add his ability throw the ball through the air, as Stuart has thrown for 933 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he becomes a significant threat.
“Goal No. 1 is to not let the quarterback beat us with his feet,” said Christiansen. “They’ve got some really good receivers, too. We are just going to have to figure out how to play their receivers.”
The top pass catcher on the RiverHawks is Sam Weda (39 receptions for 556 yards and nine touchdowns), though Cameron Dahle (17 receptions for 168 yards and five scores) and Micah White (19 receptions for 184 yards and three scores) have certainly contributed.
“The spread is the spread. Everyone pretty much runs the same thing out of the spread,” Christiansen said of the RiverHawks' offense. “It is just about being able to match with them”
“At this point, everyone is a good team,” added Christiansen. “We just have to go out and roll the dice and see what happens.”
Ridgeline statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 28.2 ppg (10th in 4A)
Scoring defense: 22.8 ppg (10th in 4A)
Passing leader: Brady Stuart (83-130, 63.8%, 933 yards, 15 TDs, 3 INTs)
Tackles leaders: Paden Green (45 tackles), Steven Brinhurst (34 tackles)
Sack leaders: Steven Brinhurst (3 sacks), Trevor Hobbs (3 sacks)
Interception leaders: Hayden Williams (6 INTs)
Stansbury statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 34.0 ppg (6th in 4A)
Scoring defense: 24.6 ppg (13th in 4A)
Passing leader: Mitch Lindsay (41-96, 42.7%, 802 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs)
Receiving leaders: Conner McKay (15 rec., 403 yards, 5 TDs), Tavita Gagnier (13 rec., 282 yards, 3 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Alix Taukeiaho (67 tackles), Justin Matthews (57 tackles), Conner McKay (57 tackles)
Sack leaders: Kyle McKenna (9 sacks), Dallon Brooks (7 sacks)
Interception leaders: Tavita Gagnier (4 INTs), Justin Matthews (3 INTs)
Felts Facts for Ridgeline High School
Head Coach: 2016-current — Christopher Howell (15-8)
All-time record: 15-8 (2 years)
Region championships: 0
Playoff appearances: 2
Current playoff appearance streak: 2 (2016-2017)
All-time playoff record: 2-1
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Felt’s Facts for Stansbury High School
Head Coach: 2009-current — Clint Christiansen (62-35)
All-time record: 56-32 (9 years)
Region championships: 5 (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 co, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 7
Current playoff appearance streak: 7 (2011-2017)
All-time playoff record: 4-6
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0