Hard to say who was Stallions’ fastest,but he made the most of his chances
By Bruce SmithMatchup
The Stansbury Stallions were a competitive team. During the football season, they were across the field. Otherwise, the competition was within.
It started in the weight room. Coach Clint Christiansen, a lifter himself, started it all when he became the team’s head coach in 2009. It was also on the practice field, where players like Chandler Staley spent hours trying to improve themselves.
Officially, in a 40-yard race, Tyler Stevens was the fastest. In reality, Staley might have been a prime candidate.
“Stevens, Clausing, May. It’s tough to say (who was the fastest) because all of us were good friends during the season,” Staley said. “There was a bond you make on sports team. Winning encourages it. When you’re losing, everyone wants to point fingers. When you’re winning, it definitely helps with friendship.”
And, at least this year, Stansbury’s victories were keyed by its speed.
“We didn’t get beat by it (speed),” Staley said. “We did a lot of work in the offseason with our track coach. He was there for motivation and he kept us going 100 miles per hour.”
Staley’s burst made him a key contributor on Stansbury’s offense, where he carried the ball just 29 times but managed 290 yards (10.0 yards/carry) and four touchdowns. On defense, he had 56 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, and three interceptions.
“We did a lot of workouts, even prior to the season,” he recalled. “Every team conditions, but we started working on speed and then, during the season, upkeeping it. I was able to run down some kids on pass patterns and knock the ball down, if not intercept it.”
Staley was a three-sport letterman at Stansbury, competing in football, baseball and track and field, where he joined several football teammates in running the 100 and 200-meter sprints.
“We all compete pretty well,” he said. “It’s hard to say (who’s faster).”
Staley said his football highlight this was season was a 66-yard touchdown run at Park City, where he broke two or three tackles and then broke into a clear.
Staley often ran on sweeps. He said the Stallions’ option offense is based on repetition and he had a plan every time he touched the ball.
“The other slot (running back) guy (Dacota Case or Tyler Stevens) is coming around and blocking the outside linebacker. There’s also a wide (Cole Merseth) and he’s bocking the corner. I’m just reading their blocks and cutting off them.
“One of their guys finally grabbed me and tackled me as I was going into the end zone,” he said of the Park City touchdown run. “I didn’t celebrate much. It wasn’t too exciting (the TD came late in the game of a 42-7 win).”
Staley had 104 yards on just three carries that night. It was his season high in a mixed year that had games where he carried the ball anywhere from 1-6 times. In the 3A playoff opener against Union, he ran just twice, but scored touchdowns on each occasion.
Other football highlights included:
* - Beating Desert Hills 12-7. Staley had five carries for 19 yards in that game. “I did OK. I contributed,” he said.* - Playing Tooele (a 55-0 win). Buffaloes QB Adam Mikesell was Staley’s best friend, who lived down the street from Staley, and they played baseball together.
* - Returning an interception for a touchdown against Ogden in 2011. It was the Stallions’ first score in a 31-7 win. “It was a banana route and I jumped it as soon as the quarterback threw the ball. I caught it in the hands of the running back and I was already in stride. Nobody could catch me.”
Overall, Staley called 2012 a good season, but he’ll always regret the loss to Dixie in the second round of the 3A playoffs. The Stallions came into the game undefeated.“I thought we would at least go to (Rice-Eccles Stadium),” he said. “Opening kickoff, they took it back for a touchdown and the momentum was theirs most of the game. (The loss) really didn’t hit me until the locker room. It was sad, plenty of tears, even from the younger classmen. It affected us all.”
The sorrow was gone by the team banquet, which Staley called a great event. He said he hoped to continue playing football in college, but no further information was available at press time.