Road to the title game: Pine View Panthers

Pine View vs. Uintah, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Pine View High School’s road to the 3AA state championship had plenty of bumps along the way, including key injuries and a couple of tough losses. But the Panthers survived and are one win away from their first state title.

pine-view-logoLed by a star running back who wasn’t even the starter when the year began in Jacob Mpungi, and a defense that held seven of 12 opponents to 14 points or less, PV accumulated a 10-2 record, winning three straight playoff games to get to the championship.

Here’s a glance back at the Panthers’ season:

Week 1: Pine View 34, Judge Memorial 7

The Panther defense nearly pitched a shutout, giving up only a late kick return in the blowout win. Junior Ryan Javines was named the starter at quarterback just days before the opener and he came through with flying colors, passing for 248 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 40 more yards.

Pine View outgained Judge 491-118, but held just a 13-0 lead through three quarters. But the Panthers struck for two quick TDs early in the fourth, with Jacob Mpungi scoring on a short dive and Zach Spendlove grabbing a 6-yard pass from Javines. D’Angelo Mpungi tacked on a 34-yard fumble return after a hit by Dillan Robertson.

“Our defense played great tonight,” said Pine View defensive coordinator Brett Gifford. “We forced four turnovers and kept the ball at their end most of the night.”

Week 2: Pine View 47, Uintah 3

Pine View's Ryan Javines (15), Pine View vs. Uintah, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Pine View’s Ryan Javines (15), Pine View vs. Uintah, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The Panthers had it working on both sides of the ball in this one as the offense racked up 494 yards and the defense kept the Utes out of the end zone and allowed just 177 yards while forcing four turnovers.

Javines threw four TD passes, one each to Carson Clark, Michael Moten, Daniel Larsen and Kawika Santiago, and PV led 27-3 at halftime. Dylan Hendrickson had a pick-six from 37-yards out and the PV offense averaged nearly 8 yards per play in the game.

“It’s nice for us on defense to see the offense have such success because then we can just relax and make plays,” Gifford said. “I was proud of the offense, and of the defense, too. We got put into a couple of tough situations in the game and the fact that we gave up just a field goal was huge.”

Week 3: Pine View 24, Manti 7

Making his first start due to an injury to Santiago, Jacob Mpungi introduced himself to the rest of the state with a 205-yard rushing performance, which included a 90-yard TD jaunt. He also had a 23-yard TD catch off a Javines pass as Pine View overcame a 7-0 deficit to dominate the final three quarters of the game.

Javines also hooked up with Hudson Reed on a 76-yard score to break away from the 7-7 halftime tie. Linebackers Austin Peterson and Christian Reis combined for 16 tackles in the game, which improved the Panthers record to 3-0. PV also lost lineman Tyler Heaton for a couple of games with a scary elbow injury.

“Their offense took some time to adjust to,” Gifford said. “They run a fly option. It is not an offense you see often. Once we made some adjustments, our defense shut them down.”

Week 4: Pine View 49, Cyprus 12

Led by Jacob Mpungi (193 rushing yards, three TDs), the Pine View offense put up 35 points in the first half in the rout. Mpungi had another long run, this one a 95-yarder, and the Panther offense tallied 502 yards in the game.

Javines struck gold on TD passes to Moten (37 yards) and Lance Mandrigues (46 yards) and Pine View averaged nearly 8 yards per play once again in moving its record to 4-0 for the preseason. The Panthers did have 10 penalties and three turnovers in the game, but overcame the adversity with five TDs of 29 yards or longer.

“We got tremendous games from our offensive line,” said PV head coach Ray Hosner. “On the defensive side, Jon Parry and D’Angelo Mpungi played well.”

Week 5: Dixie 38, Pine View 7

The bubble burst a bit for the Panthers in this one. After three straight huge offensive games, PV managed just 206 yards and Mpungi, who had rushed for nearly 400 yards the past two games, was held to 58 yards on 15 carries.

Pine View's Jacob Mpungi (6), and Dixie's Kaden Williams (44), Pine View vs. Dixie, Football, St. George, Utah, Sep.16, 2016, | Photo by Kevin Luthy, St. George News
Pine View’s Jacob Mpungi (6), and Dixie’s Kaden Williams (44), Pine View vs. Dixie, Football, St. George, Utah, Sep.16, 2016, | Photo by Kevin Luthy, St. George News

Pine View’s defense also struggled to contain Dixie’s high-powered offense. The Flyers gained 352 yards and scored on four long drives using running back Ammon Ah Quin and ball-control offense. The Flyers scored more points in the game than the Panthers had given up all season.

“That game, well it just wasn’t our night,” Hosner said. “Dixie beat us. But we learned a lot from that game.”

Week 6: Pine View 13, Snow Canyon 7

In 2015, these two teams went into three OTs before either could score, with Pine View eventually winning 8-6. This game was almost as impressive defensively, with the Panthers allowing just 191 yards and a single TD in the second quarter.

Pine View never trailed, though the game was tied at 7-7 until Conner Brooksby hit a field goal just before halftime for a three-point Panther lead. Pine View’s only TD of the game came on a Javines 14-yard pass to Mandrigues. Mpungi was held to just 62 yards on 20 carries, but the Panthers outgained the Warriors 258-191. Hendrickson intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the game.

“Our defense played well tonight. Definitely having Tyler Heaton back (from injury) really helps a ton,” Gifford said. “Up front, we were able get pressure on (Matt) Kitchen and create some turnovers.”

Week 7: Pine View 49, Hurricane 19

The Panther offense, which had sputtered the past two games, was back in full force in this one, gaining 399 yards. Javines had four TD passes (to Hendrickson, Larsen, Mpungi and Moten) and Mpungi rushed for 110 yards and scored three times.

The game was pretty close until a 61-second stretch in the third quarter. Pine View scored 21 points in that span, using a couple of Hurricane turnovers and an onside kick to turn a 21-12 game into a 42-12 blowout.

“Turnovers were huge in that stretch,” said PV coach Ray Hosner. “We also made some adjustments at halftime as we felt like we could take advantage of some mismatches. But yeah, things changed in a big hurry, didn’t they?”

Desert Hills’ Bo Barben (13) and Pine View's Brennan Bithell (34), Desert Hills vs. Pine View, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Desert Hills’ Bo Barben (13) and Pine View’s Brennan Bithell (34), Desert Hills vs. Pine View, Football, St. George, Utah, Oct. 7, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Week 8: Desert Hills 36, Pine View 19

The Panthers were right there, tied at 19-19, heading into the fourth quarter. But the Thunder scored 17 unanswered, with the help of a couple of Pine View turnovers, to pull away for the win. Javines passed for 265 yards and a couple of scores, but also threw two interceptions.

Hendrickson scored on a couple of deep balls in the second quarter and Brooksby’s 29-yard field goal in the third quarter were the only points on the board in that period and tied the game at 19-19. But DH scored two TDs and a field goal to get the win late. Javines was sacked six times in the game.

“Pine View fought hard in that game,” DH coach Carl Franke said. “I thought they had a good game plan and it was a close game until the fourth quarter. They had a hard time stopping Nephi Sewell.”

Week 10: Pine View 18, Cedar 13

The Panthers had to chew on that loss for two weeks with a bye in Week 9, but played well, especially on defense, against the Redmen. Pine View dominated the first three quarters and held a 12-0 lead on the strength of a 26-yard Mpungi TD run, a safety by Reis and a Brooksby field goal.

But Cedar rallied in the fourth and actually took a 13-12 lead on a short dive by Trent Maurer with just under five minutes left. Javines then led PV on the game-winning drive, going 62 yards on 10 plays, with Mpungi putting the Panthers ahead 18-13 with 1:40 left. PV penalties helped the Redmen get within scoring range in the closing seconds, but a last-gasp pass fell incomplete.

“It’s a great win to beat a good team,” Hosner said. “Every game they’ve played, they’ve been in it. I thought they felt they had a chance to upend us real quick. It’s when you fall asleep. You give them a little bit of momentum. That’s when they start believing.”

Playoffs first round: Pine View 58, Ben Lomond 21

Pine View's Jacob Mpungi (6), Pine View vs. Ben Lomond, 3AA State Football Playoffs, St. George, Utah, Oct. 28, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Pine View’s Jacob Mpungi (6), Pine View vs. Ben Lomond, 3AA State Football Playoffs, St. George, Utah, Oct. 28, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

As the third seed (behind Dixie and D-Hills), the Panthers got to host a first-round playoff game against the sixth-seed from the North Region. And while the Scots had decent talent on offense, they had no chance on defense as the Panthers had 35 by halftime and 51 after three quarters.

Jacob Mpungi had his best game of the season, rushing for 238 yards and four touchdowns and PV had 632 yards of offense in the blowout. Mpungi scored on runs of 1, 54, 1 and 61 yards. Mandrigues also scored a couple of touchdowns as PV improved to 8-2 on the year and advanced to the 3AA quarterfinals.

“We knew they had some explosive players, but we just needed to do our jobs,” Peterson said. “We knew they wouldn’t be able to run the ball on us. They made some plays early in the pass game, but we fixed it and took care of things after that.”

Quarterfinal round: Pine View 38, Tooele 36

The Panthers seemed poised to blow away the Buffaloes a couple of times in this one, but turnovers kept it tight. PV led 24-10 just before halftime when an overthrow by Javines turned into a pick-six for Tooele. The Buffs got within 24-23 in the third, but missed a tying extra point. PV then scored 14 unanswered and led 38-23 with 9:33 left in the game.

PV's Tyler Heaton (52) and Jacob Mpungi (6), Pine View at Tooele, Tooele, Utah, Nov. 4, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin, St. George News
PV’s Tyler Heaton (52) and Jacob Mpungi (6), Pine View at Tooele, Tooele, Utah, Nov. 4, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin, St. George News

Tooele scored a quick TD, then got it back after a missed PV field goal. The Buffaloes were able to score with 12 seconds left in the game, but missed a two-point conversion try to leave the score at 38-36. After recovering an onside kick, Tooele had its miracle hopes dashed when Heaton sacked the Buffaloes quarterback before he could heave a Hail Mary. Mpungi had 283 yards of offense and three scores in the game.

“It was crazy,” Hendrickson said. “And so emotional. You could feel the emotion on the field and everyone did their job and we were able to come out on top. We watched enough film to know that Tooele never quits and the same thing happened when Tooele played Park City. Park City was up 14-0 at halftime and they came back and beat them, so we knew that they wouldn’t quit and our coach told us to be disciplined so we just did it for him.”

Semifinal round: Pine View 35, Dixie 14

Revenge was on the mind and the Flyers, playing without injured quarterback Jacob Barben, were no match for the fired up Panthers. Mpungi rushed for 190 yards and Javines hit three deep balls in the game, two to Mandrigues, to help PV overcome a 14-0 deficit.

Javines scored on a short run just before halftime to cut the Dixie lead to 14-7 and Pine View was dominant after that, using the momentum to outscore Dixie 28-0 in the second half. The PV offense was at its best after halftime, accumulating 384 post-intermission yards. Javines finished with 274 passing, 160 of those to Mandrigues.

“We just needed that little bit of momentum and as soon as we got it, we just couldn’t stop,” Larsen said. “Our line started blocking better and we just started taking over.”

Pine View's Lance Mandrigues (1), Dixie vs. Pine View, 3AA Football Semifinals, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Pine View’s Lance Mandrigues (1), Dixie vs. Pine View, 3AA Football Semifinals, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

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