ST. GEORGE — It was one of those hits that Brady Sargent will be able to tell his grandkids about someday, and he won’t even have to exaggerate.
Sargent forced a fumble with a ferocious tackle late in the game and Connor Parry took the ball on the next play and led Snow Canyon to glory as the Warriors burst past Cedar for a 29-26 victory Thursday night at Warriors Stadium.
“Things were looking bad until Brady’s hit,” SC coach Marcus Matua said. “He comes out and gets that good hit and the ball pops out and then we were able to get that late touchdown. It was a great play.”
Cedar led 26-21 with just over three minutes left in the game and had just stopped the Warriors on a fourth-and-one play. Facing a desperate clock situation and a five-point deficit, Snow Canyon was in dire straits. But Sargent, the starting catcher on SC’s two-time state champion baseball team, blitzed through the Cedar line from his linebacker position and lit up the Redmen quarterback, who coughed up the ball. Snow Canyon recovered and were set up with a first down at the Cedar 32-yard line.
On the next play, Parry took the ball from his quarterback position in the Wildcat offense and burst through the line, following a block from Trevor Horlacher. Seconds later Parry was standing in the end zone with the ball and six points in his hands.
“Trevor lit up that last defender and I just hit the hole hard,” Parry said. “I made one cutback and that was it.”
Parry, who had nearly 400 rushing yards the past two games, had just 36 yards on 15 carries before the play. But SC moved the speedy runner to QB, adding an extra blocker. The strategy worked.
“I was super frustrated,” he said. “The defensive scheme of Cedar’s confused us a little. We had to change some things around. When I went to quarterback, we had an extra running back in there to block.”
Cedar had taken the lead moments earlier on an impressive drive that spanned 65 yards on 10 plays. Austin Obering rushed it in from a yard out on fourth down to cap the march and put the Redmen ahead 26-21 with 7:32 left in the game.
Snow Canyon took the ball and moved down to the Cedar 25-yard line, but a Parry run on fourth down came up short, leaving the Warriors down and nearly out with 5:32 left. Cedar got one first down and ran the clock down under four minutes before Sargent’s heroics set them up with the ball.
The Warriors led 14-7 at the half, but Cedar came out after intermission on a mission, scoring back-to-back TDs to take a 20-14 lead. Brock Oldroyd ran in the first one from six yards out and Obering passed to Jeff Rogers from 11 yards for the second. But a high snap after the Rogers TD gave Snow Canyon time to partially block the extra point, leaving it a six-point game with 4:20 to go in the third quarter.
That gave the Warriors a chance to retake the lead and they did just that by driving 61 yards in just four plays. The big hitter was a screen pass from Jacob Frei to Zach Kennedy that covered 44 yards and resulted in six points.
“It was designed to get me right behind the linemen in the middle,” Kennedy said. “The key was letting the defense go and then getting the ball and using my speed.”
Parker Jenkins hit the extra point to put Snow Canyon ahead 21-20 with 2:32 left in the third quarter. Obering’s TD put Cedar ahead, but a slant pass on the two-point conversion try by the Redmen QB bounced off the turf, leaving it at 26-21 and setting the game up for its fantastic finish.
“Credit them, they came out and stuffed us,” Matua said. “We had to change things up. They dominated us for three and a half quarters. But the boys kept believing.”
Statistically, the game was very even except in a couple of key categories. Both teams had about 270 yards of offense, but the Redmen turned the ball over five times (three interceptions, two fumbles) and the Warriors had several big returns in the special teams category.
Kennedy several times set his team up with good field position with big returns, including a 50-yard kickoff return after Cedar’s final touchdown. The senior RB had 56 rushing yards, 66 receiving yards and two TDs to go with his exceptional returns.
Snow Canyon, which improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in 3AA South Region play, also got a good game from QB Jacob Frei, who passed for 136 yards and two scores and also rushed for a TD. Kennedy and Frei each scored a TD in the first half.
Cedar, which fell to 3-5 and 1-3, got a nice outing from Obering. The junior was forced into extra playing time after an injury to Brecken Lewis. Obering took advantage by passing for 100 yards and a score and rushing for 73 yards and another TD. Oldroyd also got extra playing time with Dallin Grover nursing an injury. Oldroyd rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
The Warriors will try to keep their region title hopes alive with a home game vs. Desert Hills next Wednesday. The Thunder had a bye this week.
Cedar has a home game next Wednesday with league-leader Dixie.
3AA South Standings
Dixie … 4-0, 6-2
Pine View … 4-1, 6-2
Snow Canyon … 3-1, 6-1
Desert Hills … 2-2, 5-2
Cedar … 1-3, 3-5
Hurricane … 1-4, 1-7
Payson … 0-4, 1-7
If playoffs started today:
1st Round Byes — Dixie, Pine View, Juan Diego, Stansbury
3AA S 3rd seed Snow Canyon would host 3AA N 6th seed Tooele
3AA S 4th seed Desert Hills would host 3AA N 5th seed Uintah
3AA S 5th seed Cedar would play at 3AA N 4th seed Bear River
3AA S 6th seed Hurricane would play at 3AA N 3rd seed Park City
STGNews Videocast by Michael Nielsen
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.