ST. GEORGE — Dixie coach Blaine Monkres must quietly smile to himself when he thinks about the myriad of weapons he has at his disposal in any given game.
Monkres, an offensive guru, used just about all those weapons in the first half Wednesday night in hanging 37 points on the Payson Lions before intermission. The final score, 44-21, wasn’t indicative of how good the Flyers were on a cool night at Walt Brooks Stadium.
Drew Batchelor rushed for 106 yards (on just four carries), Ammon Takau passed for four touchdowns and three different receivers had 60-plus yards receiving as Dixie improved to 4-0 in the 3AA South Region and 6-2 overall. The Lions fell to 1-7 and 0-4.
“I’m real proud opf the kids,” Monkres said. “Ammon is getting better and better every week. he’s on the same page with his receivers and he’s spreading the ball around. You go to sleep if you’re a receiver and you’re not getting the ball.
Payson was gamely staying in this one early. In fact, a few seconds into the second quarter, the Lions cut the Dixie lead to 10-7. But the Flyers cranked up the offense and the defense and scored 27 points in a frenetic eight-minute span to send the game into the blowout zone.
“You know, that’s kind of heart and soul of team, to show up every (game) night and play hard,” Dixie’s Braxton Ipson said. “We believe in ourselves. We’re real happy to be 4-0 in region.”
Takau started the run by capping a 7-play, 68-yard drive with a 5-yard keeper to make it 17-7 with 9:36 to go in the first half. After a Payson punt, Dixie took just two plays to make it 24-7. Batchelor took a jet sweep around the left end for 35 yards. Takau then hit Lukas Hildebrandt on a perfectly-timed corner route to make for the score and Dixie had a 17-point lead with 7:40 to go in the half.
Payson QB Easton Smith tried to get his team going, but Ipson tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage and linebacker Joseph Takau intercepted the floating ball. Payson held the Flyers out of the end zone, but Dixie got the ball right back on a punt that rolled to the Dixie 5-yard line with 3:54 to play in the half.
Impressively, the Flyers marched 95 yards in seven plays and used just 1:47 off the clock in scoring again. Hildebrandt had a 19-yard catch in the drive, but it was Konner Aitken who made the big play, catching a deep ball from Ammon takau and beating the defenders around the edge. The 48-yard pass made it 31-7 with 2:07 to go in the half.
But Dixie wasn’t done. The Flyers sacked Smith and forced a fumble at the Payson 24- yard line, setting up a 1-play drive as Takau found Jaden Harrison from 24 yards out to make it 37-7 with still 1:21 to go until the break.
To the Lions credit, they managed to get a score before halftime with Smith Passing to Phil Perez from 2-yard out to make the halftime score 37-14.
“Payson’s got athletes,” Ipson said. “That quarterback is one of the best we’ll see.”
The second half saw Dixie’s defense take center stage. Shad Pulsipher had two sacks and Dixie totaled seven in the game. With the sacks factored in, Payson finished with just seven rushing yards in the game. Smith, who showed tremendous arm strength at time in the game, finished with 220 yards on 14 of 22 passing. He had three TDs, an interceptions and a fumble.
“They’re a good team,” Pulsipher said. “The coaches just tell us to stay humble, come out every week and concentrate. It doesn’t matter what team we’re playing or what their record is.”
Dixie’s lone score of the second half came in the third quarter as Trey Miller took a jet sweep in from 9-yards out to make it 44-14. Payson also scored late in the third as Smith hit Perez from 28-yards out to cut it to 44-21. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter with both coaches substituting liberally.
Dixie showed good balance with 244 passing yards and 214 on the ground. Jaden Harrison had a TD catch in the first quarter and Miles Barker booted a 30-yard field goal for the Flyers, who play at Cedar next Wednesday night.
Perez ended up with 106 receiving yards and two scores. Carter Figgins also scored on a 14-yard pass from Smith. The Lions have two shots left to get a win in the new 3AA South Region. Next Wednesday the Lions play at Pine View.
Game stats: paydix10913
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