I like making plays, both on offense and defense, so it doesn’t matter which side of the ball. It just depends on the game. —Nick Nethercott
SALT LAKE CITY — Thursday night’s 4A semifinal match pitted the Mountain Crest Mustangs against the Stansbury Stallions in a rematch of an early season contest. The score was different this time around with the Mustangs defeating the Stallions 17-7 as opposed to their earlier 52-19 triumph, but the result was the same.
And while football is very much a team sport, some might say the ultimate team sport, certain Mountain Crest players found a way to make a mark both in September and in the pressure-packed playoff game.
There was Mustangs quarterback Brady Hall, who threw for 266 yards and three scores the first go around. The second time against the Stallions, Hall was slightly less prolific, with 139 yards passing and a touchdown, in addition to 51 yards on the ground, but he was still effective.
There was Beau Robinson, who rushed for 117 yards and a score, besting his earlier outing of 76 yards and a score.
And then there was wide receiver/defensive back Nick Nethercott.
When the Mustangs and Stallions met in the preseason Nethercott was nearly unstoppable, hauling in three passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
His second outing was just as good if not better, considering the context of the game.
Most recently, Nethercott caught a team-high four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball he added three tackles along with two pass break-ups, making for a balanced all-around effort.
That effort was needed, as the Stallions gave the Mustangs all they could handle.
“We knew Stansbury was gonna come out and play hard,” said Nethercott. “It is hard to beat a team twice and they played hard.”
Playing on both sides of the ball meant that Nethercott was on the field most of the game, and that gave him many opportunities to do what he loves the most.
“I like making plays, both on offense and defense, so it doesn’t matter which side of the ball,” said Nethercott. “It just depends on the game.”
His biggest play of the game came on offense when he and Hall connected for a 30-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter.
“They were loading the box at the beginning and we thought we could get them over the top,” Nethercott said of his touchdown reception. “We just kept throwing it and they kept giving it to us, so we kept taking it.”
While his plays on defense may have been lacking in highlight-reel material, the senior was part of a stout Mustangs defense that shut down the potent Stansbury triple-option attack.
“We just needed to read our keys. We all had assignments out there and we knew if we kept to our assignments and locked up those receivers that we’d have a good game,” said Nethercott.
Good game or no, only one thing mattered in the end for Nethercott and the Mustangs.
“A win's a win in the playoffs and winning is a lot of fun,” said Nethercott.
“The kids battled,” added Mountain Crest head coach Jason Lee. “They’ve been working for this the past two years. We are to that point, we aren’t satisfied. We didn’t come just to play this next weekend. We came to win (the state title). We’ve got one more to go.”
Whether that opponent is the rival Sky View Bobcats or the Orem Tigers remains to be seen because the two teams will battle Friday night at 6 p.m., but Nethercott knows who he wants.
“I’m not gonna lie, we definitely want to play Sky View again. They got the best of us last time and we feel like we’ve got some good matchups there," he said.