ST. GEORGE – It was a tale of two halves for the Dixie defense Friday night. But both of them were pretty good.
In the first half, the Flyers held the Desert Hills offense to zero first downs until three minutes left. In the second half, the Thunder offense was able to move the ball, getting into the Dixie red zone a few times. But each time came away with no points. Dixie put together a complete game as both the offense and defense clicked, beating Desert Hills 27-7, to remain undefeated in 3AA South Region play.
Dixie held the edge in time of possession, 29:49-18:11 and held the Thunder to just 114 total yards.
“We played pretty well against a good team,” said Dixie coach Blaine Monkres. “We capitalized on our big plays and came up big on defense when it was needed.”
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Dixie was able to capitalize on its big plays. The first scoring came on a 51-yard pass from quarterback Ammon Takau to Lukas Hildebrandt. The offensive line gave Takau enough time to pump his arm and then to connect with Hildebrandt executing a double move. The Miles Barker extra point gave the Flyers a 7-0 lead with 2:43 to go in the first quarter.
Shortly afterward, Dixie cornerback Tanner Webster intercepted Thunder quarterback Nick Warmsley at the Thunder 6-yard line and returned it to the end zone, increasing the lead to 14-0. The Thunder offense finally was able to get on track on their last possession of the half. Bridger Cowdin ran the ball in from eight yards out to cut Dixie’s lead to 14-7 with 51 seconds to play in the half, giving the Thunder a sliver of hope.
But Dixie opened the scoring in the second half, again capitalizing on a big play to grasp a firm hold on the game. Takau hit wide receiver Andy Appel on a come-backer. The Desert Hills defender dove for the tackle one way, and Appel turned the other, eluding the defense and racing 54 yards for the score. The Thunder blocked the PAT, but Dixie had a two-score advantage, 20-7, with two minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Flyers were able to pad their lead with a 2-yard run by wide receiver Drew Batchelor midway through the fourth quarter.
“Our defense played disciplined,” said Flyer linebacker Taylor Strehlow. “The coaches prepared us with our keys and we were able to shut them down. They got some big plays in the second half, but we were able to regroup and prevent them from getting into the end zone.”
Hildebrandt had four receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown, while Appel hauled in four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Takau finished the game 10-for-15 with 205 yards and two scores for the Flyers. The Dixie defense held the Thunder offense to just 15 passing yards and seven total first downs.
The victory leaves Dixie as the sole undefeated team in the region with an overall record of 5-2 (3-0). The Flyers continue region play next week when they will host Payson. Preseason region favorite Desert Hills falls to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in league play after consecutive losses to Pine View and Dixie. DH visits Snow Canyon next week.
Related post: Week 7 photo gallery
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