COMMENTARY — As monitored the Twitter feeds during my radio broadcast last week at Pine View, an interesting thing kept coming up. The three 3AA South games seemed to be following each other in score and competitiveness.
At one point, Pine View, Desert Hills and Hurricane were all at 31 points and were running away with their games. Late in the first half, the Panthers led Snow Canyon 31-0, the Thunder were on top of the Redmen 31-0 and Hurricane, moments later had pulled away from the Lions to lead 31-12. The games ended up with different scores (PV beat SC 59-28, DH beat Cedar 45-7 and HHS beat Payson 45-20), but they all had one thing in common. They were all blowouts.
And going beyond that, all the offenses had racked up big yardage and points, including Dixie’s non-region game vs. Canyon View. Pine View had 604 yards and 59 points. Desert Hills had 502 yards and 45 points. Hurricane had 485 yards and 45 points. Dixie had 596 yards and 55 points.
Given that evidence, it’s easy to say that the offenses ruled the day. And the O’s certainly were impressive. But I was most impressed with the defenses.
At Thunder Stadium, Desert Hills allowed just 190 yards the entire game. And truthfully, if you subtract on defensive oversight, Brock Oldroyd’s 89 yard dive-and-sprint, DHHS would have held Cedar to 100 yards and no points. Led by Tucker Cowdin, the Thunder D had eight sack, forced five punts and recovered two fumbles, plus turned the Redmen over multiple times on unconverted fourth-down tries.
For Pine View, the defense was amazing in the first half of the game. In building a 38-0 lead, the Panthers defense allowed just 39 yards in Snow Canyon’s first 25 plays. The Warriors did get on the board before halftime to make it 38-7 and eventually scored 28 points, but the tone certainly had been set.
At Hurricane, the Tigers defense was also superb. Hurricane allowed just 62 yards in the first half and 175 for the game, forcing two turnovers and six punts against the Lions. The brother tandem of Jeremiah and Quando Ieremia harassed PHS quarterback Easton Smith all game long.
Say all you want about the offenses, but the defenses deserve plenty of credit, too.
We’re just one game into the region slate, but it seems the teams with the best defenses are the teams that will be at the top of the region in six weeks when the dust clears. That means good news for D-Hills, Pine View and Hurricane. And might spell trouble for Snow Canyon, Cedar, Payson and even Dixie, which surrendered 480 rushing yards to Canyon View.
There will be a shootout or two (we’ll probably need a calculator to keep track of the Dixie-Snow Canyon game on Oct. 24), but my money’s on the teams that can get stops.
This week’s Region 9 sports schedule:
Desert Hills at Payson, 7 p.m.
Hurricane at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Ruben S. Ayala, Calif. at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon made up its lightning game and now sits atop the region with 15 points, though the Lady Warriors have played two more games than the other contenders. It seems pretty clear that SC, Dixie and Cedar are clear playoff teams. There will likely be two races: One to see who wins the region of those three teams, and another to decide who gets the fourth and fifth playoff spots (Region 9 gets five spots this year). The Desert Hills at Hurricane game tonight could be one of those team’s declaration that they are a playoff contender. Pine View hosts Cedar and the Lady Panthers could also take a big step toward the playoffs with an upset win.
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014
Cedar at Pine View, 4 p.m.
Canyon View at Dixie, 7:30 p.m.
Desert Hills at Hurricane, 7:30 p.m. DA
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014
Desert Hills at Cedar, 4 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Canyon View, 4 p.m.
Hurricane at Dixie, 7:30 p.m.
The spikers are really just getting rolling, but like soccer, there seems to be three teams rising to the top, Hurricane, Desert Hills and Snow Canyon. Hurricane is the upstart with the plucky players who captured a surprising state championship last season. D-Hills has been the mainstay the last few years, including a state championship two years ago and an undefeated region crown last year. Then there’s Snow Canyon, with wise coach Alaina Parker and her fistful of championships. It makes for an interesting race, that’s for sure.
Volleyball fans should get a kick out of tonight’s Snow Canyon at Hurricane match with region title hopes already taking a big hit for the loser. Unlike soccer, Region 9 only gets four playoff teams. At this early stage, it’s anyone’s guess as to which team will step up and grab that fourth spot.
Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014
Dixie at Canyon View, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Hurricane, 7 p.m. DA
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014
Canyon View at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Dixie at Pine View, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Cedar, 7 p.m.
“This Week in Region 9″ is a weekly column written by Andy Griffin exploring the happenings in Region 9 at all sports venues. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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