ST. GEORGE – No betting man would have gone with the Pine View Panthers Thursday night, who were hosting the defending-state champion Dixie Flyers. After all, Dixie came into the game simply needing a win to clinch the Region 9 title once again and set itself on a clear course back to Rio Tinto Stadium.
But Pine View was having no part of Dixie’s victory celebration, instead overcoming a halftime deficit to secure a 2-1 Panther home win and send the Flyers home to a day uncertainty.
Keith Collins and Braden Johnston each scored second-half goals as the Panthers improved to 8-3-1. With 25 points, Pine View will either finish in third (if Desert Hills wins tomorrow) or second (if the Thunder lose).
But keeping Dixie from clinching the region crown on Pine View’s turf had to be a reward in and of itself. The Flyers now hold a two-point edge on Desert Hills, which plays at Snow Canyon Friday night.
Dixie, 11-5-0 overall and 9-3-0 in region, is still in first place with 27 points. Alex Green scored the lone goal for the Flyers. But almost shockingly, Pine View got two goals in the second half on a Dixie team that had given up just five goals in 11 previous region games combined.
The scenario for Desert Hills is clear. If the Thunder (8-2-1, 25 points) win at Snow Canyon, they will be region champions and will host a 4-10-1 Morgan team. If the Thunder lose to the Warriors, they drop to the third seed and will play their first-round playoff game at either Payson or Spanish Fork.
Dixie will play at home in the first round next Thursday regardless of what Desert Hills does – as a top seed vs. Morgan or as a second seed vs. Delta.
Also, a Desert Hills-Snow Canyon tie would give the region crown to Dixie and give the thunder second place.
The Warriors are battling just to get into the playoffs. They trail Cedar by two points going into tomorrow’s final game.
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