This just might be a permanent trend.
When Clint Christiansen got the job as the first football coach at Stansbury, the first couple of seasons didn’t go well. His teams won a total of three games in 2009 and 2010.
But Stansbury has been winning ever since.
Christiansen’s mark in the last six years is 52-16, and the school made its first state semifinal appearance last season.
Although Desert Hills thumped the Stallions to finish the campaign, the beat goes on.
“We feel we are as good as we were last year, maybe a little better on the offensive line,” Christiansen said. “We expect to make a little bit of noise.”
With the graduation of the McIntyre brothers (Matt and Mitch, who collectively gained more than 2,000 yards rushing), Stansbury will have to find some skill position replacements.
“This team has a lot to live up to,” Christiansen said. “But they had a fantastic camp up at Utah State, so the hope is up there. I think we have the chance to be a pretty good team.”
Coach • Clint Christiansen, ninth year
Last season • 9-3, 6-1 in Class 3AA North; Advanced to 3AA state semifinals
Aug. 18 • Sky View, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 • at Taylorsville, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 (Thurs.) • at Grantsville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 • at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 • Tooele, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 • at Ogden, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 • at Park City, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 • Ben Lomond, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 (Thurs.) • Bonneville, 7 p.m.
Behind center • Jet Richins (6 foot 2,180 pounds) was a starting linebacker as a sophomore. He’ll still be doing that, but Richins has shown enough to be given a chance to be Stansbury’s quarterback for his junior year. The triple-option flexbone is still a run-oriented attack, and the wingback positions will be filled by Tavita Gagnier (6-1, 165), Kaeden Kincaid (5-10, 155), Kyle McKenna (5-8, 150) and Abram Miller (5-7, 155) while Alix Takeiaho (5-10, 220) is a prime candidate at fullback.
Ball hawks • Christiansen might be inclined to throw the ball more, if Richins is up to it. That’s because, according to the coach, the current group of receivers “marks the first time we’ve been really deep. It’s a battle at wide receiver, and we’ve never had that before.” Juniors Austin Woodhouse (5-10, 150) and Conner Kincaid (5-9, 135), as well as Drake Schlappi, lead the contingent. The Stallions have more potential receivers in senior Conner McKay (6-1, 190) and junior Jake Spaulding (6-0, 160) at tight end. Look for McKay and Woodhouse to use their ball-honing skills in the defensive secondary, too.
In the trenches • Two seniors mark the five slated to be on the offensive line. Peerce Matravers (6-1, 215) probably will line up at left tackle, while Dallan Brooks (6-2, 290) will be at right guard. The other three are juniors — center Hunter Thomas (5-9, 190), guard Calvin Mead (6-3, 220) and tackle Bowen Vorwaller (5-10, 170). As for the defensive line, several will rotate, including Brooks and Mead. Both recorded more than 20 tackles apiece as underclassmen.
Hit men • Alix Taukeiaho (5-9, 220) proved adept at getting to the ball carrier, recording 88 tackles his junior season. He’ll be back at inside linebacker as well as Richins, who had 38 stops as a sophomore. Caden Kincaid and Justin Matthews (6-0, 150) are two candidates to play at outside linebacker, as well as senior Dawson Stewart (6-1, 165), a standout on the high school rodeo level.
Key returners • Jet Richins, Jr. (QB/LB); Alex Taukeiaho, Sr. (LB); Dallan Brooks, Sr. (OG/DL); Calvin Mead, Jr. (OG/DL)
Key losses • Mitch McIntyre, QB/FS; Matt McIntyre, LB; Ryan Moody, SS; Clayton Stansorth, LB
The next wave • Hunter Thomas, Jr. (C); Bowen Vorwaller, Jr. (OT); Austin Woodhouse, Jr. (WR); Justin Matthews, Sr. (LB)