In their second match-up of the season, The Cedar Valley Aviators took on The Stansbury Stallions in the playoffs. Because the Stallions were seeded higher than the Aviators, it was played at their home field. Although the two teams have already played one another, it was still an interesting game. The game was full of suspense, turnovers, big plays, and heartbreak.
The first quarter:
To start the game, the Aviators chose to defer to the second half after winning the coin toss. It didn’t take long for the Stallions to seize the opportunity to score. The Aviators chose to kick the ball away from Star Returner Dylan Hamilton, and instead kicked it to Brock Wilson. Wilson promptly took the ball 95 yards to the end zone on the opening kickoff. After a made PAT by Luke Daynes, the score was 7-0, with only 15 seconds used.
After a three-and-out and punt by the Aviators, the Stallions drove down to the Cedar Valley 21-yard line. The drive stalled out, and Luke Daynes kicked a field goal through the uprights, putting the Stallions up 10-0.
The Stallions kicked to the Aviators, where the ball was returned to the 30-yard line. Then, they put together a 4-minute, 70-yard drive, capped off with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Thomson to Kekai Baker. The extra point was then made by Elijah Holman.
The Stallions started at the 26-yard line after a short squib kick to prevent another kickoff return. After picking up a first down, the Stallions ran a couple of plays, until, on third down, Mateaki Helu had first down yardage, but ended up fumbling the ball.
The Aviators then had the ball at Stansbury’s 49-yard line but missed an opportunity to score by going three and out. They then punted Stansbury. To end the first quarter, the Stallions were called for holding, pinning them to their own eight-yard line.
The second quarter:
To begin the second quarter, the Stallions put together a nice drive up to the Aviator’s 48-yard line. Helu then ran the ball to the end zone to put the Stallions up 16-7. Owen Keyes then kicked the extra point to make it 17-7.
Stansbury’s kick to Cedar Valley ended up being returned to the 19-yard line, where the Aviators began their drive. Baker had a 34-yard reception to put them at the Stallion’s 47-yard line. After a couple of plays, Joe Lomu ran the ball for 39 yards for the touchdown. Holman then made the point after, making it 17-14.
The Aviators kicked the ball to the Stallions, and with excellent coverage, stopped them at the five-yard line. Stansbury then had a three-and-out of their own and punted the ball out to their own 41-yard line. The Aviators then drove the ball down to the four-yard line. Lomu then punched in a touchdown, followed by an extra point by Holman, to put the Aviators up 21-17 with 3:55 left to go.
When the Stallions got the ball back on the thirty-yard line, they tried to run the clock out before striking but were plagued by an illegal shift penalty. Helu tried to make something of the extra yardage, but couldn’t pick up the first down. The Aviators called timeout to give themselves as much time as possible to score.
After two plays, the Aviators were faced with a third and sixth situation. They decided to throw the ball, but it was intercepted by Stansbury’s Trent Jones. The Stallions then missed two passes, with a third going to Hamilton for nine yards. Unable to draw the Aviators offsides on fourth and one, Stansbury called time out. Coming out of the time out, they called an inside run to Helu, but the Cedar Valley defense read them like a book. The Aviators then ran out the clock to make the score 21-17 going into halftime.
The third quarter:
Cedar Valley returned the kickoff to the 35-yard line to start the second half. They ended up going three and out, no thanks to a holding and a false start penalty. They punted the ball to the Stansbury 23-yard line. The Stallions got a first down and then wasted no time scoring. Ezra Harris slung the ball to Hamilton, who took it 66 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was no good, making the score 23-21 for the Stallions.
The Aviators received the kickoff at the 22 and had a beautiful six-minute, 74-yard drive, which stalled out at the four-yard line resulting in a field goal attempt. Dylan Chapman of the Stallions broke through the line and blocked the kick. This play and the previous play can be seen in the photo gallery video posted at the bottom of this article.
With the ball at their own 13-yard line, the Stallion’s offense went to work. They picked up a first down through runs by both Harris and Helu. After a holding penalty in the next set of downs, the Stallions were looking at second and 14 at their own 21. Harris and Hamilton then worked their magic again, with a 79-yard touchdown. Luke Daynes made the extra point, making it 30-21 for Stansbury with 14 seconds to go in the third.
The quarter ended in a kickoff to the 23-yard line and a run for no gain by Cedar Valley.
The fourth quarter:
The Aviators came out and got a first down, but ended up stalling out at the 44-yard line with 9:17 left to go in the game. Cedar Valley punted the ball to the Stallion’s 16-yard line. Helu then ran the ball for five yards. Immediately after, Helu ran the ball for 75 yards, putting the Stallions at first and goal. Harris then threw the ball to Hamilton for his third touchdown of the game, putting it 36-21 with 8:07 left to go. They then failed their two-point conversion attempt.
They kicked off to the Aviators, who got the ball at the 23-yard line. Two false start penalties plagued their drive, and they had another three and out. Stansbury then received the punt at the Cedar Valley 47-yard line. Hamilton caught a pass for ten yards, but then the Stallions found themselves calling timeout with 4:22 left to go on fourth and three. Harris ended up throwing an incomplete pass and turning the ball over at the Cedar Valley 26-yard line.
Cedar Valley then found the first down through a pass interference call on the Stallions. An incomplete pass made it second and 10 for the Aviators. On the next play, Stansbury’s Noah Nunley intercepted a pass from Thomson on the 33-yard line. Helu then ran the ball for four yards and then fumbled again the next play with three minutes left to play.
With the ball on their own 13-yard line, the Aviators almost had another drive stall out, but with a pass interference call on the Stallions on fourth down, they moved the chains. With 2:09 left to go, they got another first down.
A holding call killed the drive for Cedar Valley. They had an incomplete pass, a sack, and then a play to get them up to fourth and 10. An incomplete pass with under a minute to go sealed the Aviators’ fate, turning the ball over on downs. The Stallions then took a knee and called it a night, winning the game 36-21.
Passing: Harris went 11-19, threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Thomson went 26-41, threw for 272 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.
Rushing: Helu had 173 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Lomu went for 76 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns.
Receiving: Hamilton had nine receptions for 207 yards and three touchdowns. Baker had eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Tackles: Wilson and Michael Geovjian had 10 and 9 tackles respectively. Taygen Hansen and Ethan Baker had seven each.
Interceptions: As earlier mentioned, Jones and Nunley both snagged one from Thomson. Cedar Valley did not have any interceptions.
“The Aviators really brought it tonight,” said injured Stallion Max Olson. “They definitely had more energy than us in the first half,” said Austin Olivares. Overall, the Stallions are very aware of how the attitude was going into the game and recognized the Aviators went to play and weren’t messing around. Although Stansbury beat Cedar Valley earlier in the season, it was a real challenge for them. The Stallions will return against the Olympus Titans on Friday, November 4th at 4 PM in Stansbury. The Aviators’ season is over, meaning they will have some good rest until Spring Practices.
Photo gallery can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XMzRg_DNs8. All Photo credit goes to AJ Conlin, The Hive Sports