Stansbury coach Jacob Jones recognized Morgan's strategy to play physical, which Holdstock admittedly said "kind of made me pretty mad, but we overcame it and still won." So Jones inserted his freshman into the game to utilize his speed as a counter approach.
"I just wanted more speed up front," Jones explained. "There were a bunch of balls that were going in the back and we weren't fast enough to get to them. I felt like he was the faster guy."
The elements weren't ideal for the faster-paced style, though. The grass was unkempt, preventing players from solid traction, while powerful gusts altered passes and shots well from their intended destinations.
But Stansbury stuck with the strategy, and, finally, in the 54th minute, Holdstock crept behind the defense, baited right and fired a laser into the bottom left corner. He added the insurance goal in the 67th minute on a similar situation.
"Who could have thought? A kid who had a hard time putting the ball in the back of the net was the one who put two in," Jones said.
Morgan (4-9), the final qualifier from Region 11, executed perfectly in the first half, which ended in a scoreless stalemate. It was most certainly a win for the Trojans, who entered with a losing record, and they soon induced a feeling of anxiety for the home crowd in the first 10 minutes of the second half, flirting with an upset with two great looks on goal, but Stallions' keeper Chad Coleman thwarted both attempts.
"They got two wonderful, wonderful opportunities that our keeper made some amazing saves on," Jones said. "You tip your hat to your keeper, and you say, 'thank you,' and we'll tip our hat to our freshman and say, 'thanks for showing up today.'"
Stansbury (12-2-3), the top-seed from Region 10, will host third-ranked Dixie (12-3-1), which finished second in Region 9 after losing a coin-flip in a tie-breaker with Snow Canyon. The Flyers easily dispelled North Sanpete in the first round, 6-1. The quarterfinal matchup is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stansbury.
"They're a fantastic team. I haven't seen them play. I don't know much about them other than the fact that we tied Snow Canyon and they lost to Snow Canyon and beat Snow Canyon," Jones said. "It will be a great game. I expect them to be a little bit stronger than Morgan was."
Although the Stallions claim the home-field advantage and the higher seed, Dixie is considered the favorite on many accounts, but that is hardly a concern for Holdstock.
"I'm an underdog. I scored two goals in state," Holdstock reasoned. "If that doesn't motivate me, I don't know what else will."
P Stansbury freshman Mitchell Holdstock scores two goals in his first postseason game.
• Stallions keeper Chad Coleman earned the shutout between the post, which included two game-saving deflections.
• Stansbury will face Dixie on Saturday at 1 p.m. at home in the quarterfinals.
• Grantsville tops Ben Lomond 3-2 in overtime. > tribpreps.com