Cedar got a shocking win, Hurricane suffered a surprising loss and the rest of the games went pretty much as expected during Week 3 in the 3AA South.
The teams were getting their final licks in before the start of region play next Friday. Snow Canyon had the biggest comeback of the night, overcoming a three-touchdown deficit to knock off Juan Diego on the road. Pine View’s defense held high-scoring Lehi to just seven points. Desert Hills scored a defensive touchdown for the third straight game. Dixie just didn’t have the horses to run with Riverton. And Payson stayed in the game, but eventually fell to Spanish Fork.
Our St. George sports team scrambled Friday night to get everything covered. That team, which includes writers Andy Griffin, Darren Cole, AJ Griffin and Brett Brostrom; photographers Robert Hoppie and Rachel Gee, and videographers Samantha Tommer and Dallas Griffin, compiled this in-depth and fascinating report for the night, including stories, quotes, photos, highlights and statistics.
Snow Canyon 34, Juan Diego 28 (OT)
Written by AJ Griffin
DRAPER — The Snow Canyon Warriors rallied from a 28-7 deficit and scored 27 unanswered to steal away a 34-28 win over the Juan Diego Soaring Eagles Friday night at Juan Diego High School.
Joe Servati saved the Warriors from defeat late in regulation with a sack that forced a difficult game-winning field goal for JD that ended up short, and Dustin Brown snatched an interception in overtime to set-up a 25-yard game-sealing connection from Jake Frei to Chance Thorkleson.
The Warriors spotted the Soaring Eagles a generous lead in the first half due to mistakes and turnovers and quickly found themselves in a deep hole. Snow Canyon chipped away at the lead and found success running the ball. For much of the game, Josh Barnes was the only bright area SC could find success in offensively. Barnes racked up 136 yards rushing on his way to two touchdowns to keep the Warriors in the game.
After finally tying the game on a 40-yard reception from Frei to Thorkelson with 3:32 left in regulation, the Warriors watched as JD drove down the field to the SC 18-yard line. With only 29 seconds remaining, and on third down, JD QB Alexander Hoffman rolled out with receivers open near the end zone. Before he could release a pass downfield, Servati wrestled him down in the backfield, and forced a long field goal for Juan Diego with only 12 ticks left in regulation. SC iced the JD kicker Joel Bruder. Bruders’ attempt came up short and the game went into overtime.
“You know what? The first quarter and a half just wasn’t good,” Servati said. “But we were resilient and worked together as a team. It was great win. On the play where I got the sack, I was reading the play and I was game-planning. I heard their call on that play, and last time it was a pass so I made the read and I just ripped across to go get it (the sack).”
Warrior head coach Marcus Matua also noted the importance of Servati’s sack.
“That was huge to have him split the tackle and guard and make a play for us,he said. “Juan Diego’s QB had some space and running lanes, but Joe got to him. It was huge because if he had gained some positive yardage it would have been a different story and he might have made that (potential game winning field goal).”
SC won the toss before overtime and elected to play defense first. JD gained a few yards in the extra period but Hoffman made a mistake that would prove fatal. He rolled out to the right with room to roam and attempted to hit one of his receivers across the field. Hoffman threw across his body, and Brown made him pay.
“Basically, he just read what we talked about with playing our base defense,” Matua said. “Dustin (Brown) likes to come and stuff the run but he made his reads correctly and was in the perfect place and that was huge that he came away with the interception in overtime.”
After Juan Diego came away scoreless in overtime, it took the Warriors only one play to seal the win. Frei found Thorkelson for a 25-yard touchdown on a curl route on the right side. Thorkelson evaded a few defenders and dove for the end zone to collect his second touchdown of the day and win the game for SC.
“It was awesome,” Matua said of the game-winning touchdown. “As soon as we knew he was going to be in single-coverage, everyone on our side knew where the ball was going. Jake (Frei) called it and everyone knew it was going to Chance (Thorkelson). Chance caught it and made a couple moves and went to the corner and made it. He got to the end zone.”
Matua praised his squad for the big comeback. After falling behind in the first half, the Warriors had a touchdown in the waning moments of the first half called back. On the ensuing, and last play of the half, Frei found Jake Rhea open in the end zone, but Rhea was unable to hold onto it as it appeared the JD defender hit Rhea early.
Nevertheless, the referees determined a questionable no-call on the reception, leaving the Warriors high-and-dry going into halftime despite their great drive down field. Despite not being able to cash in on that drive, Matua said this motivated his team.
“That first quarter was atrocious,” Matua said. “But our boys were resilient and they fought back from it. We called a timeout after 7:30 was gone in the first quarter and said, ‘This is a long game, we have three and half-quarters left. Let’s go out and do something.’ They calmed themselves down and as soon as they got a couple of stops on defense, the offense started to go. After the called back touchdown and that last play that we thought was a pass interference, we could see in the boys’ eyes that ‘Oh this game is ours.'”
With Friday night’s win, the Warriors were able to get revenge on Juan Diego, which knocked them out in the 3AA Quarterfinals last year, 42-28. Snow Canyon improves to 2-1 and will travel next week to Pine View to open region play. Juan Diego falls to 0-3 and plays at Ben Lomond next Friday.
Desert Hills 29, Legacy 14
Written by Darren Cole
ST. GEORGE – In two game-deciding plays, Nephi Sewell put up 80 yards of return yardage and two touchdowns to turn a 14-7 deficit into a 19-14 halftime lead. The first score came on a 45-yard punt return with 6:50 to play. Six minutes later, Sewell wrestled the ball from the Legacy Longhorn running back and returned nearly unnoticed 35 yards for his second touchdown of the game.
The Thunder had a distinct advantage of already having played two games this season, while this was the season-opener for the visitors from Las Vegas. The game started with the Thunder offense taking advantage of seasoned running back Bridger Cowdin.
“Our pregame strategy was to run a blast to the left,” said Cowdin. “If we got five yards or better, we would run the same thing to the right, if we got five yards or better, then we would run it up the middle.”
Cowdin averaged better than 12 yards per carry on Desert Hills’ initial drive, capping it off with a 25-yard touchdown run.
After forcing a Legacy punt, the Thunder offense was again on a roll, but turned the ball over on downs at the Legacy 45-yard line. The Longhorns struck like lightning on their first play of the possession. Running back DeMichael Walker took the handoff and hit the gap right up the middle, running the ball untouched for 55 yards.
“Our defense had a lapse and the gap was uncovered,” said Franke. “When you have a talented, 4.4 40 running back break through untouched, nobody is going to catch him.” With 1:44 to play in the first quarter the score was tied 7-7.
The Thunder offense stalled on the following possession due to untimely penalties. On fourth down, the long snap went over punter Mason McDonald’s head. McDonald backtracked, scooped up the loose ball, turned and booted the ball — right into the blocking hands of Legacy’s Alvaro Sotelo’s hands. The Longhorns’ Romello Pritchett opportunistically grabbed the ball and scampered 15 yards for the go-ahead score. With just over one minute gone, the visitors had their first lead at 14-7.
After both teams traded empty possessions, McDonald was able to pin Legacy back to its 6-yard line with a 52-yard punt. Four downs later, Sewell fielded the Legacy punt, then followed big brother Gabe Sewell up the right sideline, cut back to the middle of the field, spun out of two tackles and sauntered the last 15 yards untouched into the end zone. Another bad long snap resulted into a missed PAT, but the Thunder had pulled to within 14-13.
As the half was winding down, the Longhorns took possession at their 20-yard line with 58 seconds left. Walker took the pitch and burst through the line for a quick-strike 15 yards. The Thunder’s Zach Fuchs slowed him with a grab from behind. Nephi Sewell, instead of finishing off the tackle, wrestled the ball from Walker and returned the ball 35 yards for the go-ahead score.
“I did the same thing last week,” said Sewell. “I don’t think they (Legacy) knew what was going on, because as I was running the other direction they were standing around.”
Coming out of halftime, Desert Hills shut down the Legacy offense totally. Offensively, the Thunder again gave the Longhorns a heavy dose of Bridger Cowdin, with the occasional Nick Warmsley keeper. The Thunder tacked on a 27-yard Christian Cottle field goal to go up 22-14 with 3:12 left in the third quarter.
Desert Hills added an insurance touchdown when Warmsley found wide receiver Mason Palmer with a 29-yard strike to the right side of the end zone.
Nephi Sewell sealed the 15-point victory when he intercepted a pass in the end zone with just over six minutes to play. The Thunder were able to nearly run out the clock with a sustained drive, giving the ball back to Legacy deep in their territory with less than a minute to play.
The Thunder move to 3-0 and will host Cedar next week in a battle of unbeatens to open region play.
Highlights produced by Samantha Tommer
Pine View 41, Lehi 7
Written by Andy Griffin
The Ence brothers — Skyler, Jesse and Justin — have all taken their turns having big days in a Pine View uniform. But even with all their accolades, it would be hard to find a bigger game than little brother Blake had Friday night against Lehi.
“Blake Ence, first of all, just played amazing,” PV coach Ray Hosner said. “When you have a kid that just doesn’t take no for an answer, he’s going to make big plays for ya’.”
Early in the game, with Pine View ahead 7-0 on the strength of an 11-yard Steve Bangerter TD pass from Kody Wilstead, Lehi marched up the field for the equalizing score. Pioneers running back Caden Calton, who rushed for 138 yards in the game, took a dive play and pushed the pile forward from the 8 down to the 2-yard line. Ence wrapped Calton up and ripped the football away, returning it out to the 9-yard line, preserving the slim lead.
“My ‘backers filled hard, they had him held up and I saw them pushing the pile,” Ence said. “I saw them push the pile back. Coach always gives emphasis on goal-line stands, so I just wanted to come and make a goal-line stand and the ball just happened to be in my hands.”
After Pine View punted, Ence again ripped the ball away from Calton. Brooks Barney recovered the loose ball at the PV 34-yard line. Two plays later, Wilstead found a streaking Colton Miller for a 66-yard TD to make it 14-0 with 10:57 to go in the second quarter.
Barney recovered his second fumble of the game moments later when Lehi QB Calvin Miller and Calton mistimed a handoff. This time, PV took its time moving the ball. Taking over at the PV 28, the Panthers marched 72 yards on 10 plays. Jaden Peterson dove it in from 2 yards away and the lead was up to 21-0 with 5:59 to go in the half.
Pine View erased any thought by the Pioneers of a comeback by scoring on the first possession of the second half, going 71 yards in 8 plays. With 8:50 left in the third quarter, Wilstead hooked up with Bangerter again, this time from 4-yards out, making it 28-0.
With the PV defense playing well, that would be more than enough for the win.
“Gong up against our guys every day, it gives us a great look as a defense,” Panthers cornerback Michael Long said. “We’ve been working really hard in the off-season and we’ve been flying around in practice this week. Just credit the coaching staff for pushing us the whole week.”
After an Ethan Baer field goal made it 31-0, the Panthers pushed the lead to 38-0 on Ence’s 41-yard TD catch off a deep pass by Wilstead.
“We called all verts and I was running down the sideline,” Ence said. I looked up and I couldn’t see it at first. Then I saw it and I just went up to make a play. I knew my team needed me to.”
Lehi erased the goose egg on the scoreboard on the ensuing kickoff when Calton scampered 99 yards for the score, making it 38-7. The Panthers added another Baer field goal early in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.
Pine View, 2-1, had 549 yards of offense, including Wilstead’s 20 of 33 passing for 368 yards and 4 TDs. Running back Pano Tiatia gained 155 yards on 21 carries (7.4 yards per carry), including a 60-yarder in the third quarter. Tyler Heaton had two sacks in the game.
Lehi, 0-3, got 138 rushing yards from Caden Calton and little brother Braden Calton caught eight passes for 91 yards.
The Panthers open region next Friday at home against Snow Canyon.
Stats: Pine View 41, Lehi 7
Highlights produced by Dallas Griffin
Riverton 62, Dixie 28
Written by Brett Brostrom
ST. GEORGE — Dixie couldn’t seem to figure out Riverton’s ferocious running game.
With a Wing-T offense similar to Hurricane’s, only in hyper-mode, Riverton racked up 485 rushing yards and scored nine rushing touchdowns. Paden Cayias, who had three of those scores, rushed for 182 yards and the Silverwolves averaged 8.5 yards per carry as a team.
“We’ve got to emulate what Riverton does,” said Dixie coach Blaine Monkres. “They’re not any bigger or faster than us, they just played harder and are more disciplined. You’ve got to come to practice every day and work at that pace that you’re going to play at in the game. If we don’t do that, we’re not going to win very many games. We got a few turnovers tonight on defense, which was good, and Jeff Martinez played really well for us as did Jaden Harrison. They both gave us 110 percent tonight and that’s what it takes to win.”
Dixie won the coin toss and chose to receive to start the game. The first play of the game resulted in an Ammon Takau thrown interception, and Riverton took over on the Dixie 25-yard line. Riverton punched the ball in within the first minute of the game, giving the Silverwolves an early 8-0 lead after a two-point conversion.
Dixie’s next offensive possession resulted in a three and out, giving Riverton the ball right back and great midfield position starting on the Wolves’ 40-yard line. On third down of that drive, Dixie’s Zak Harrah intercepted the ball and gave Dixie the ball on its own 40-yard line. The Flyers ran the ball well behind Treton Miller and Jaden Harrison with the drive ending in a touchdown by Harrison to make the game 8-7 with 5:52 to go in the first quarter. Riverton pushed the lead to 14-7 with 3 minutes left in the first quarter on a short run by Zac Lallis.
Dixie drove the ball well on the next possession, ending the first quarter on Riverton’s 21-yard line. The Flyers struggled to start the second quarter, committing two offensive penalties and failing to convert a fourth down attempt. That gave Riverton the ball back. Two plays later, Cayias broke one out from the Dixie 30-yard line and took it to the house, giving Riverton a 20-7 lead with 10:34 left in the half.
The Flyers may have received a little help from the refs as two of their passing attempts drew defensive pass interference calls, allowing Dixie to move 30 yards in two plays. Dixie scored on a run by McKane Keenan, closing to within 21-14 with still 9:36 left until halftime.
Riverton wouldn’t let up and as Dixie kicked the ball back to them, they drove right down the field and scored on a run by Cameron Christensen. The Wolves failed to convert the two-point attempt, making the score 27-14 Riverton with 6:56 left in the half.
Dixie failed to make anything of its next possession, going three and out and punting the ball to Riverton’s 33-yard line. RHS broke another huge run right up the middle of the field to the Dixie 9-yard line, punching the ball in again behind Cayias, making the score 34-14at the half.
Dixie went three and out once again, giving Riverton the ball and a ton of momentum. Dixie’s Mason Oki intercepted the ball with 22.9 seconds left in the half and the half ended with the 34-14 score.
With the score 40-14, Dixie’s Tre Miller ran the ball 80 yards for a touchdown for one of the few Dixie highlights after intermission.
“We knew they could run the ball,” said Riverton coach Mike Miller. “Fortunately, we scored more than them, but we knew they could move the ball well. Dixie is a good football team and they’re going to beat people this year. They’ve just got to keep their chin up and keep rocking and rolling. I thought they did a lot of good things. To be quite honest, the kids were coming over to me and telling me what plays to run based on what the defense was giving us, and I trust them. They’re smart kids.”
Stats: Riverton 62, Dixie 28
Moapa Valley 28, Hurricane 14
The Tigers played well in the first half and built a 14-0 lead behind the power running of Jake Carr. The junior fullback scored twice in the first half, both times from 4-yards out.
But that’s when things turned sour for the Tigers. Moapa Valley returned the kickoff after Carr’s second score 92 yards for a touchdown. Speedy RJ Hubert did the honors, making it 14-7 midway through the second quarter. The Pirates pulled even closer just before halftime, with Zach Hymas finding Cole Mulcock from 16-yards out for a TD pass to make it 14-13 after the missed extra point.
Turnovers and failed conversions haunted Hurricane in the second half. It turned bad when Andrew Huerta scooped up a Hurricane fumble and rumbled 50 yards to paydirt. The two-point conversion put MVHS up 21-14 in the third quarter.
With the Tigers offense struggling to convert, Moapa Valley iced the game with a Hymas-to-Nate Cox 4-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
Hurricane, 1-2, held Moapa Valley to just 297 yards. But the Pirates didn’t turn the ball over and Mulcock ended the day with 120 receiving yards en route to the win.
Hurricane hosts Payson next Friday to open the 3AA South Region play. Moapa Valley improved to 2-0.
Cedar 17, Skyline 7
SALT LAKE CITY — Skyline scored on the second play of the game on a 70-yard TD pass. The Eagles had no idea at the time that it would be their only points of the night.
The Redmen frustrated Skyline the rest of the evening and came away with a most impressive 10-point win — impressive especially since the Eagles had already beaten two 3AA contenders, Hurricane and Juan Diego.
Brecken Lewis hooked up with tight end Brecken Englestead from 15 yards out to tie the score in the second quarter, then Jeff Rogers booted a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter for a 10-7 CHS lead. Brock Oldroyd, who rushed for 88 yards in the game, iced it with a 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Cedar improves to 3-0 with the win, riding a crest as the Redmen begin region play against No. 1-ranked Desert Hills. Cedar travels to DH next Friday, The Redmen lost to the state champs 25-0 a year ago.
Stats: Cedar 17, Skyline 7
Spanish Fork 28, Payson 10
The Lions dropped to 0-3 with the loss, though improvement was shown from a team that hasn’t had a winning season in 35 years.
The game was tied at 7-7 at halftime and a field goal by Jaiden Tueller midway through the third quarter put the Lions ahead 10-7. But, behind the running of Taylor Noles, the Dons scored three straight TDs to close out the game and improve to 2-1 on the season.
Payson now heads into the gauntlet that is the 3AA South, starting with a trip to Hurricane next Friday night.
Stats: Spanish Fork 28, Payson 10
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