ST. GEORGE – Now that their sophomore quarterback is playing well, the Desert Hills Thunder are flat out scary good.
Nick Warmsley had 344 passing yards and Bridger Cowdin scored three touchdowns as Desert Hills blasted Payson 44-13 Tuesday night at Thunder Stadium.
“It’s a hard-knock life as a sophomore quarterback sometimes, but Nick is really coming along,” DH coach Carl Franke said. “He made some good throws and some great reads. There are still times when he makes some bonehead moves, but he’s young and still learning his craft. Tonight, he delivered passes where his athletic receivers could make plays.”
Payson, determined to stuff Cowdin, often lined up with eight or nine defenders at the line of scrimmage. The talented junior running back had just 74 yards rushing, but participated in the passing game, blocking for Warmsley and also catching three passes for 33 yards, one of which went for a score.
“Bridger is very unselfish,” Franke said. “All he wants, all the team wants, is to win football games. The kids are focused.”
Warmsley hit 14 of 23 passes for his 344 yards, a whopping 24.6 yards per completion. Jordan Hokanson had his second big game in a row, catching eight passes for 208 yards, including an 83-yarder in the first quarter.
“Jordan’s starting to feel comfortable and to trust Nick,” Franke said. “Sometimes it takes years for a quarterback and a receiver to develop that relationship and get that timing down.”
Speedy Braden Reber started the Thunder off right with a 59-yard catch and run for the game’s opening score. After a defensive stop, Hokanson ripped off his big receiving TD, putting the Thunder ahead 14-0 while still in the first quarter.
The lead went to 21-0 early in the second quarter one the first of Cowdin’s back to back short TD runs. The second one, just before halftime, made it 28-0. Cowdin also had a 29-yard TD catch and the Desert Hills also added a safety and a Landon Broadhead run to pull ahead 44-0 early in the fourth quarter.
Payson scored to late TDs on passes from Easton Smith to Matt Hales and Riley Loveless to Hales.
We probably passed more than we would have liked, but that’s what you do when they put nine guys in the box,” Franke said. “If teams continue to load the box, we’ll continue to hurt them with the pass.”
Besides his TD catch, Reber also had an interception and three pass deflections and finished with 103 receiving yards. Linebacker Sil Bundy had three tackles for loss as Desert Hills improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the 3AA South Region. The Thunder play at Pine View next week.
Payson, which drops to 1-4 and 0-2, got 265 passing yards from Smith, 92 of which went to Hales. The Lions host Snow Canyon Friday night.
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