Defense was the word of the night in a rare Thursday night of 3AA South Region football. Defense helped PV top Hurricane, though the Tigers’ red zone D forced five Panther field goals. Defense definitely helped Snow Canyon edge Cedar on the road, including one extraordinary TD-saving play late in the game. And defense owned the field for both Dixie and Desert Hills in blowout wins on the road.
St. George news staffers Andy Griffin, Darren Cole, AJ Griffin, Robert Hoppie, Dave Amodt and Dallas Griffin hustled around the region to bring you today’s breakdown of all the action. Here’s our report:
Pine View 29, Hurricane 14
Written by Darren Cole
ST. GEORGE — The Pine View Panthers grabbed a share of first place in Region 9 with a 29-14 victory over the Hurricane Tigers. The difference in the ball game were five field goals from kicker Ethan Baer.
“We had trouble punching the ball in early,” said Panther head coach Ray Hosner. “I have always said our kicker is just as important as any other player on the field. Ethan came through for us tonight.”
The story of the game through three quarters was Pine View’s inability to score touchdowns in the red zone and Hurricane’s inablity to move the ball at all.
“Our defense played well tonight,” said Panther cornerback Michael Long. “We took away what they wanted to do with (Jeremiah) Ieremia and forced them into passing the ball more than they wanted.”
Apart from the 154 yards the Tigers gained on their scoring drive in the second quarter and the final drive of the game against the Panther second-string defense, Hurricane could only muster 113 total yards the rest of the game. Panther linebacker Brooks Barney seemed to meet Ieremia on every carry and led Pine View with eight tackles.
After two Baer field goals (from 17 and 28 yards out) in the first quarter, Hurricane did move the ball in the beginning of the second quarter with a 65-yard drive, highlighted by a 37-yard run by Ieremia. With 9:05 left in the first half, Ieremia dove in the end zone from three yards out to tie the score. Harrison Goebel blocked the extra point to keep the game tied at 6-6. Baer added another field goal (20 yards) just before halftime.
The only scoring in the third quarter would be another Baer field goal, this time from 29 yards out.
The Panthers found themselves in the red zone again to begin the fourth quarter. “At that time we called conservative runs,” said Hosner. “Because we knew that another field goal put us up by two scores.” Baer added his fifth field goal, this one from 22 yards out, with 9:24 to play in the game.
Panther quarterback Kody Wilstead had his first touchdown pass, connecting with wide receiver Bladen Hosner on a 37-yard throw over the middle. The score put the Panthers ahead 22-6 with just over seven minutes to play.
On the ensuing Tiger possession, Panther outside linebacker Gage Afatasi stepped in front of Tiger quarterback Kaden Langston’s screen pass and returned the interception 46 yards for the Tigers final score. With 5:56 to play, the lead had grown to 29-6.
“They run a lot of screens and draws,” said Afatasi. “I dropped to my zone and the pass came right to me.”
The Tigers got on the board at the end of the game with an Angel Bulloch touchdown and two-point conversion.
Pine View had 399 total yards on offense. Wilstead connected on 21 of 38 passes for 275 yards and one interception. He found five different receivers with multiple catches. Preston Allen led with seven receptions for 90 yards. He was joined by Blake Ence (5-49 yards), Hosner (4-90), Colton Miller (3-33) and Steve Bangerter (2-37). Pano Tia Tia carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards.
Ieremia led the Tigers with 78 yards on 15 carries. Hurricane’s Noah Elison had four receptions for 61 yards. Elison also had an interception and led the TIgers with eight tackles on defense.
The win guarantees a tie for first in region if Pine View (7-2, 4-1) can win at Payson on Wednesday. The Tigers (5-3, 4-1) still have a showdown with Desert Hills in two weeks after a game next week out of region at Logan.
Highlights produced by Dallas Griffin
Snow Canyon 10, Cedar 7
Written by Andy Griffin
Former coaching legend Jimmy Valvano, during the final weeks of his losing battle with cancer, memorably said, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
Snow Canyon’s Caleb Heward should have that etched on his locker. The 5-foot-7 senior, the last in a line of Heward brothers to star at Snow Canyon, ran down a Cedar receiver from behind just yards before what surely would have been the winning touchdown for the Redmen, and poked the ball out of the receiver’s hands, saving the game and maybe the season for the Warriors.
“Every day we work on swarm defense, that’s our thing,” Heward said. “I just came to the ball and got there in perfect time to knock it out. It was a perfect set-up.”
The fumble came with just over three minutes left in the game and Snow Canyon nursing a 10-7 lead. Cedar quarterback Brecken Lewis, under heavy pressure, found Jadon Beazer near midfield. Beazer sprinted away from the SC defenders and found himself in open space. With Heward and another Warrior trailing the play, it looked like Cedar may snatch away this defensive war with a big TD pass.
But Heward closed the gap and knocked the ball loose, sending it forward into the end zone where it was recovered by the Warriors for a touchback.
Cedar got the ball back four plays later after a Snow Canyon fumble at the SC 32, but Richmond Anderson intercepted a Lewis pass to end the threat and the Warriors were able to run out the final 89 seconds for the win.
“It’s always a dogfight when Cedar and Snow Canyon get together,” SC coach Marcus Matua said. “We told the boys all week that Cedar would bring the wood, so we brought our hats, too and got after it. Hats off to Cedar. That’s a good team over there.”
Each team really only had one good drive in the game and it was the first one. Cedar took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead with 6:07 to go in the first quarter on a 10-yard run by Lewis, who was starting at QB for injured Mason Fakahua.
Snow Canyon answered with an 80-yards drive that also took 12 plays. Jackson Nowatzke, starting for injured Jake Frei (concussion), hit Britton Webster on a swing pass from 12-yards out to make it 7-7 with 1:18 left in the first quarter. SC had actually settled for a field goal as Kolton Barber hit a 47-yarder to make it 7-3. But the Redmen roughed Barber on the play and Matua chose to take the three off the board and take the first down. Nowatzke and Webster made it pay off.
Neither team had a drive longer than seven plays the rest of the game.
Snow Canyon’s first lead came at the 4:10 mark of the third quarter. Cedar had fumbled at its own 22. Three plays after the turnover, SC faced fourth-and-5 from the 17. Matua sent out Barber, who drilled a 34-yard field goal to give SC the edge.
The Warriors averaged just 3.4 yards per play in gaining a total of 171 yards. Josh Barnes, who did not play in the first half, rushed for 41 yards after intermission and was key in helping Snow Canyon run out the clock. Nowatzke had 56 passing yards, including a 36-yarder to TJ Taimi on the first drive of the game.
Cedar gained 196 yards in the game, though more than a quarter of that was on the one pass to Beazer that ended in a turnover. Lewis led the Redmen with 60 rushing yards and he also had 61 passing.
Snow Canyon, now 4-4 overall and 2-2 in region play, hosts Desert Hills next Wednesday.
Cedar, now 3-4 and 0-4 in region, will need to win at least one of its two remaining games to have a shot at the 3AA playoffs. The Redmen travel to Dixie next Wednesday before closing the season at home vs. Payson.
Dixie 56, Payson 14
Written by AJ Griffin
PAYSON –Ammon Takau found the endzone four times and Treton Miller scored twice as the Dixie Flyers whipped the hapless Payson Lions 56-14 Thursday night at Payson High school.
The Flyers scored the first 35 points of the game and dominated on both sides of the ball against Payson. Defensively, Dixie made big plays all night. Jaden Harrison snatched an interception in the first half and Sampson Kennedy picked up a fumble and returned it 20-yards for six as the Flyers continued to soar after beating Desert Hills last week. Coach Blaine Monkres was the first to express that he was proud of his team’s performance.
“We just told them before the game started that we could either build on what we accomplished last week or go back to the way we started before the big win last week,” Monkres said. “They chose the first and came right out there to get the comfortable lead and get some guys in. The defense had a couple of forced turnovers and they are getting better every week and playing hard. Last week was probably the first good game where the defense came out from start to finish and played the whole game and they did it again tonight.”
Dixie scored on its opening drive when Takau connected with Bret Barben in the corner of the end zone from 15-yards out. After Dixie’s first TD, Payson was able to move the ball, but never cashed in with points. The Lions held Dixie from scoring again the first quarter, but things went awry for Payson in the second quarter.
Dixie broke the silence when Miller capped Dixie’s early second quarter drive with a rush from 1-yard out. Once Dixie scored, the levy gave way and Dixie converted its next three drives with touchdowns, while forcing three-and-outs or turnovers defensively against Payson. Miller took another handoff from Takau, this time on a read, made one cutback and found paydirt from 16-yards out. On the following drive, Takau punched it in himself from 7-yards and just before halftime Takau tossed it to Dayton Dempsey for a 23-yard strike. Once the dust settled, the Flyers found themselves up 35-0 going into the halftime break.
“We came into this game knowing we had a big game last week,” Miller said. “We couldn’t come out tonight and drop an egg. We knew they were a good team so we came out as strong as we could. We knew that they had a good defense, but once we got going on offense we just kept going and going.”
Takau said in the second quarter everything started to click for Dixie.
“We just knew coming in that we couldn’t overlook them.” Takau said. “We knew everyone had to do their jobs and that we had to do it for each other. That point of the game (in the second quarter) gave us that big mental excitement. We came out and we knew that we had had a few mental mistakes early on, but at that point everything started rolling and we caught on fire.”
In the third quarter, Payson got on the board with a 36-yard reception when Dalton Baker caught Easton Smith’s pass, making it 35-7. Payson tried an onside kick that bounced out of bounds. The Flyers made Payson pay, taking advantage of the short field and scoring on a 3-yard Takau scamper. On the ensuing drive, Kennedy scooped up Smith’s bobbled handoff to his halfback and ran it in for a 20-yard fumble-6, putting Dixie up 49-7 at the end three quarters. The junior varsity squads were given some playing time and Dixie’s Mason Oki rumbled it up the middle for a 5-yard TD run to put Dixie up 56-7. Late in the fourth quarter, Payson’s Phil Perez broke free from defenders from 7-yards out to help the Lions finish the game with 14 points.
With the 56-14 victory over Payson, Dixie improves to 4-4 overall, and 2-2 in region play. The Flyers return home to play their long-time rival Cedar on a rare Wednesday night game. Payson remains winless at 0-8 overall and 0-4 in region play. The Lions will continue their home stand to play region foe Pine View on Wednesday.
Desert Hills 48, Tooele 14
TOOELE — The Thunder defense scores as many points as a lot of teams do with their offenses. Thursday night, DH did it again, with two defensive touchdowns and a blowout of 3AA North team Tooele. Nephi Sewell scored on a pick-six and Hunter Staley scooped up a fumble and raced to the end zone as Desert Hills broke open a relatively close 28-14 game at the half with 20 unanswered in the second half.
The offense isn’t too bad either for DH. Nick Warmsley rushed for two TDs and connected with Braden Fuller on a passing TD and Bridger Cowdin rushed for a score as well in the rout.
“Nick and Bridger ran the ball really well tonight,” DH coach Carl Franke said. “I actually like playing away from home a little this time of year, getting up here where it’s a little cooler and the kids can get ready for state. That’s why we do it, to get ready for the playoffs.”
The Thunder, 7-1 overall and 3-1 in region, return to 3AA South action next Wednesday with a battle against Snow Canyon at Thunder Stadium.
“The kids played hard tonight,” Franke said. “They played really disciplined football and really took a step in the right direction. The defense played great.”
Tooele, which started the season 5-0, has lost three in a row.
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