COMMENTARY – I like touchdowns. A lot. But I also like big hits, goal-line stands, pick-sixes and blindside quarterback sacks.
I was asked not long ago which I preferred: A defensive struggle with just a score or two, or an offensive shootout with TDs lighting up the scoreboard every couple of minutes. Honestly, I have a very hard time choosing between the two.
Friday night, we had Pine View and Snow Canyon combine for 84 points, 11 touchdowns, 45 first downs, 841 yards and 67 pass attempts. Pine View never punted and only lost the ball on downs once. Of the Panthers 11 possessions in the game, eight went for touchdowns, one was lost on a failed fourth down and the other two came at the end of the half and the end of the game.
Likewise, Dixie scored eight touchdowns. The Flyers fumbled the ball three times in the first quarter and still scored 58 points. After the three turnovers, Dixie scored a TD on its next seven possessions.
All that scoring is fun, for the winning teams, anyway. Scoring big means more recognition, perhaps more college recruitment possibilities and of course, hopefully winning more games.
But, of course, there is another way. Desert Hills and Hurricane have been cranking up the defense.
Friday night, the Thunder shut out Cedar, allowing just five first downs and 138 total yards. The defensive masterpiece included to red zone stands. Both times the Redmen had the ball inside the Desert Hills 5-yard line. Both times, Cedar came away with zero points.
This is nothing new for the Thunder, who have allowed just 19 points in four games, an average of just 4.8 points per game. With two shutouts already (Cedar and Stansbury), Desert Hills is smartly staking its season on ball control offense and fierce defense.
For Hurricane, the first win of the season came on the road and they also did with defense. The Tigers won 31-22 over Payson, but that Hurricane defense had allowed just three points until the fourth quarter when three quick turnovers gave the Lions a chance. Hurricane led 24-3 late in the game, but Payson had pulled to within 24-22 with 6:08 left in the game after the turnovers set up short fields.
Undaunted, Hurricane’s defense forced a bad pass on the two-point conversion try, then didn’t allow another yard to the Lions the rest of the game. It had to be an inspiring moment for Hurricane fans, who have grown used to winning a lot of games with defense.
As for the offense vs. defense debate, modern football is engineered for the offenses. Scores like Bear River’s 62-48 win over Tooele last Friday used to shock us. Not anymore. In fact, of the 54 prep football games played last week, 23 of them had at least one of the teams scoring 40 points or more, nine had a 50-plus point team and three had 60-plus point teams.
But the thing to remember is the defenses are out there and eventually, whether the score is 6-3 or 56-53, eventually your team is going to need to stop the other team in order to win the game.
By the way, besides that one college football game up north, we have a nice little rivalry game here in southern Utah. Dixie goes to Pine View with a pair of junior quarterbacks taking center stage.
Pine View’s Kody Wilstead (380 yards a game, 17 TDs, 5 ints.) will toss the pigskin around against Dixie’s Ammon Takau (218 ypg, 8 TDs, 4 ints., plus 238 rushing yards).
Fans who prefer a more run-oriented game may want to visit Desert Hills (vs. Payson) or Hurricane (vs. Cedar).
Desert Hills — 4-0 overall, 1-0 in region
Pine View — 3-1 overall and 1-0 in region
Hurricane — 1-3 overall and 1-0 in region
Dixie — 2-2 overall and 0-0 in region
Snow Canyon — 2-1 overall and 0-1 in region
Cedar — 1-3 overall and 0-1 in region
Payson — 1-3 overall and 0-1 in region
Games this week:
Dixie at Pine View
Cedar at Hurricane
Payson at Desert Hills
Snow Canyon at Copper Hills (non-region)
Because soccer allows for tie games, the team standings can get a little complicated. A refresher course reminds fans that wins are worth three points, ties are worth one point and losses net zero points. Teams get the same number of points for the region standings, whether they win 10-0 or 1-0. For instance, a team that is 1-1-1 (one win, one loss and one tie) would have four points in the region standings. Those one-pointers for ties definitely factor in as we get close to the state playoffs as the teams with the most points make the playoffs.
So far this season, the top two teams haven’t had to worry about ties. Dixie and Cedar sit atop Region 9 with five wins and no losses. Dixie is doing it with defense, allowing just two goals in those five games. Cedar, meanwhile, is averaging 4.0 goals a game and has scored six or more goals in two of the games.
Well, something’s got to give as the Lady Flyers and the Lady Reds meet up Tuesday afternoon (4 p.m.) in Cedar City. Cedar’s Courtney Carpenter is one of the top scorers in 3A with 10 goals in eight games. Dixie’s Liz Empey has three shutouts in the last five games.
Girls soccer standings
Dixie — 5-0-0 (15 pts)
Cedar — 5-0-0 (15 pts)
Snow Canyon — 3-2-0 (9 pts)
Desert Hills — 1-2-2 (5 pts)
Pine View — 1-3-1 (4 pts)
Canyon View — 1-3-1 (4 pts)
Hurricane — 0-6-0 (0 pts)
Dixie at Cedar, 4 p.m.
Canyon View at Pine View, 7:30 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Desert Hills, 7:30 p.m.
In volleyball, Snow Canyon, Desert Hills and Hurricane are all undefeated in region play, but it’s very early (DH is 3-0, SC and Hurricane are 2-0). It should be an interesting Tuesday night as Desert Hills visits Snow Canyon, where the Thunder won last year, breaking a monstrous SC home win streak.
Hurricane visits Cedar Tuesday as well and Pine View is at Dixie.
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