Mountain Crest running back Eddy Hall’s jersey was soaked through and darkened, and he shivered in the snow that had accumulated on the turf.
What Hall said next explained much about how the Mustangs had persevered through frigid conditions to beat Highland 14-6 in a sloppy defensive battle in the Class 4A semifinals Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
HighlightsMountain Crest recovers four Highland fumbles and intercepts two passes
» Eddy Hall and Nick Taylor each score on the ground for the Mustangs
ONLINE NOW » Running back Eddy Hall takes over at quarterback, leading Mountain Crest to victory with 110 yards rushing.
"Oh, we could play another game," Hall said. "I’m still warm. It’s fun weather — I like it. Two weeks ago, we practiced like this, and it was the funnest practice ever."
The several inches of snow that blanketed the field for much of the game impacted both teams. Sustained drives were rare, and the teams combined for just 441 yards of offense. But it was the Mountain Crest defense that mastered the conditions, which may have otherwise benefitted Highland’s run-heavy attack.
Mountain Crest recovered four Highland fumbles and snagged an interception to ensure the Rams seldom entered the red zone.
"This whole season’s for our defense," Hall said. "Our defense is incredible. They’ve led us all the way here and probably have as many touchdowns as our offense."
The Highland defense did its part to keep the Rams in the game, too. Playing in their own territory for much of the game due to their turnover-prone offense, the Rams were able to consistently turn away the Mustangs.
"On our part, we didn’t do our part in the first half," Hall said. "But our defense kept us in the game."
In the first half, the Mustangs stuck with their game plan of mixing in the pass with the run, before running the ball for much of the second half, including a wildcat attack with Hall at the helm. Neither approach yielded much success, but the Mustangs were benefactors of good field position on both of their scores. The Mustangs scored their first touchdown, a 2-yard run from Nick Taylor, after Faimafili Laulu-Pututau intercepted Rams quarterback Austin Peterson on the Rams’ 18-yard line. Their other touchdown, a 5-yard run from Hall, came after the Mustangs recovered a fumble on the Rams’ 21-yard line.
"It was frustrating the whole game," Hall said. "We couldn’t really move the ball, but the defense kept giving us back, giving us back. They gave us chances at chances. In the end, those two times we needed it, we scored."
The Rams’ lone score came in the second quarter when Thomas Pembroke broke off a 95-yard kickoff return, which ended up being the last touchdown of the game.
Hall finished with 110 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries, while Pembroke led the Rams with 81 yards on five carries.
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