COMMENTARY — Welcome to the STGnews weekly Monday Rundown, where we’ll take a glance at what happened over the weekend in high school sports and what it means for the teams you love. If you have ideas or suggestions for the Monday Rundown, please comment below or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes … no wait … Usually, a game that receives as much attention and hype as last Friday’s Hurricane-Dixie game has no chance of being as exciting and fun as us members of the media make it out to be. We talked about it on the radio, we wrote columns about it, we designed graphics for it, all because it looked like it was going to be a great game.
And this time it was.
The defending-champion Tigers and the hungry Dixie Flyers staged an epic battle Friday night in Hurricane’s 34-32 win. The crowds were great, the teams played well, the star players made phenomenal plays. In fact, the only complaint anyone could have about the game was the number of penalties called.
Being a referee is a difficult job and I am not going to blame the 21 penalties for a combined 237 yards entirely on the officials. But after a while, I had this frustrating emotion well up in me, like most fans I believe, wondering why the refs can’t just let the guys play.
On the biggest drive of the game, with Hurricane up by two and Dixie with the ball, it looked like we were going to have a fantastic finish. The Flyers converted on a fourth and one with 3:35 left and had the ball at the Tigers 30-yard line. What followed was unbelievably disheartening: A penalty flag was thrown on four straight plays. First, a hold on Dixie, maling it first and 21 at the Hurricane 41. Then a defensive hold made it first and 10 back at the 31. Then, two consecutive holds on two straight plays on Dixie pushed the ball all the way back to the Dixie 49-yard line. On the following play, a first and 31, Dixie threw an interception and essentially ended the game.
Now, I will say this: There was likely holding on every one of those plays. But, there are degrees of holding. At that time of the game, I would hope the holding was so egregious that the officials felt they HAD to throw a flag. I can’t address that as I have not seen the film. But those back-to-back-to-back-to-back penalties certainly had negative impact on the game.
All that aside, I was very impressed with the level of football that was played by both teams. Dixie and Hurricane fans can both be very proud of their teams. They played hard, they played at a high level and they played with class. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both these teams playing into November.
The Snow Canyon Warriors have quietly put together a four-game winning streak and while they haven’t exactly played any powerhouses during that stretch, winning is winning. “It’s no secret that we’ve played some teams that have struggled, but we have to make sure we’re taking a step forward each week. We have to make sure we’re preparing ourselves for the week after and the week after that,” said SC coach Jay Graft.
Meanwhile Desert Hills is really putting it all together with a first-year coach and a first-year quarterback. Of course, the athletic and dynamic Ty Rutledge is the QB and coach Carl Franke has most of the staff from the Jake Nelson era intact. The Thunder had 456 yards of offense in a 28-7 win over Pine View Friday night while holding PV to just 288. Did anyone see this coming?
Monday Rundown’s Power Rankings for Region 9 football:
1. Hurricane, 2-0: On track with last year’s championship team.
2. Desert Hills, 2-0L It’s early, but could also be on track with last year
3. Dixie. 1-1: This is a good team and will be in contention.
4. Snow Canyon, 1-0: Untested, but run game looks very good.
5. Pine View, 0-2: Could get a boost if QB Kody Wilstead returns this week.
6. Cedar, 0-1: Remember, the Redmen get better as the season moves along.
7. Canyon View, 0-2: Where will a win come from? Maybe non-region Ogden this week.
And speaking of hype and excitement, Tuesday night volleyball takes its turn in the spotlight. The Snow Canyon Lady Warriors, winners of five championships in six years, take on up-and-comer Desert Hills. The Lady Thunder are currently in first place, a half-game ahead of Snow Canyon, though neither team has lost a region game yet.
That’s right, two undefeated teams battling it out for first place about half way through region play. Sound familiar?
Anyway, both teams participated in the Rocky Mountain Champions Classic at Lone Peak High School with SC dropping close matches to Northridge and Lehi (which is led by former NBA star Thurl Bailey’s daughter BreElle) and Desert Hills falling to Century (Ida.), Idaho Falls and also to Lehi.
The battle for first place between the two region 9 schools takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Snow Canyon.
We also have a great battle at the top of girls soccer in Region 9. Offensive-minded Snow Canyon (averaging nearly three goals a game) leads defensive-minded Cedar (surrendering just .42 goals per game) by two points in the standings. In soccer, teams get three points for a win, one point for a tie points for a loss. So SC, at 6-1-0, has 18 points. Cedar, at 5-1-1, has 16 points. Third place Desert Hills has 10 points.
Cedar plays at Snow Canyon Thursday night (7:30 p.m.). When the two teams met in Cedar a few weeks ago, the Lady Reds won 1-0.
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