It means a lot for the school and everybody, all these guys coming out, it means a lot. We haven’t been back here in a while, and we want to represent Mountain Crest well. —Nick Nethercott
For the first time since 2012, Mountain Crest is headed to play a state football championship game, but Mustang head coach Jason Lee isn’t satisfied yet. Mountain Crest has one more game to win.
“We’re not satisfied, the kids understand that. We didn’t come just to play in next week’s game, we didn’t come just to play in it. We came to win. We’ve got a lot to prepare for, those other two teams playing are outstanding teams. Stansbury is an outstanding team, but my kids are outstanding too, and my staff is second to none,” Lee said.
The Mustangs played their defensive-oriented style of football — led by Tanner Lofthouse's 17 tackles — to defeat the Stansbury Stallions 17-7 Thursday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium to advance to the 4A state championship.
“It was a little ugly in the second half, but kids battled, they battle every game. I told you that’s what they’ve been bred and they’ve been working towards for the last two years,” Lee said as his players shouted “Who’s next?” in the huddle off to the side of him.
Nick Nethercott caught the first touchdown of the ballgame and finished with 93 receiving yards, while quarterback Brady Hall was 9 of 12 for 133 yards and a touchdown pass. Hall also led the Mustangs in rushing yards with 49, and running back Beau Robinson contributed 117 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The story of the game was defense. Mountain Crest found ways to stop Stansbury’s triple-option attack when it counted, only allowing one touchdown, which came on the Stallions’ opening drive of the second half.
“Our coach tells us all the time, ‘Read your keys.’ We all have assignments out there and we knew with the triple-option, they like to pull it sometimes, and they’ll drop back and throw. We knew if we kept our assignments sound and locked up those receivers, we’d have a good chance of winning the game,” Nethercott said.
Mountain Crest opened the scoring with a 30-yard pass by Brady Hall, who found Nethercott in the end zone as the Mustangs opened scoring. After stopping the Stallions, the Mustangs struck again with a 50-yard pass from Hall to Nethercott that set up a 35-yard field goal by Eli Wells to make it 10-0.
With seven minutes left in the half, Stansbury fumbled for the second time and Mountain Crest took over inside the 20-yard line, but Hall fumbled at the 1 and Stansbury came up with the ball. The Stallions couldn’t make much of the opportunity, driving to midfield, but ending up having to punt. Mountain Crest scored once again before halftime as Beau Robinson ran it up the middle for a touchdown, and the Mustangs took a 17-0 advantage into the locker room.
Stansbury, led by Silas Young and Mitch Lindsay, marched down the field on the Stallions' first possession of the second half, and at fourth down from the 3-yard line, Tavita Gagnier got the edge and ran into the end zone, scoring Stansbury’s first and only points of the contest. A Mountain Crest fumble around midfield with four minutes left in the third gave the Stallions new life, but Jay Mackay’s 34-yard field goal attempt was no good for Stansbury. The Stallions had chance to score in the red zone late in the fourth quarter, but went four-and-out.
Next up, Mountain Crest will face the winner of Sky View and Orem for the 4A state trophy.
“It means a lot for the school and everybody, all these guys coming out, it means a lot. We haven’t been back here in a while, and we want to represent Mountain Crest well,” Nethercott said.