Road to the 3AA Finals: Hurricane had a streaky season in 2014

Hurricane celebrates its overtime victory over Cedar, Hurricane at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, September 19, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

The Hurricane Tigers had a streak-filled season, with a four-game winning streak and their current three-game winning streak hurricane-smsandwiched around a three-game losing streak. But Hurricane, 8-5, is definitely closing the year on the upswing. Here’s a recaqp of the season for the Tigers, including the hiring of head coach Steve Pearson:

Pearson hired as head coach (Jun. 27)

Under head coach Chris Homer, the Hurricane Tigers went from 3A afterthought to 3A powerhouse, playing in four straight state championships games and winning it all in 2011.

Steve Pearson was right there the whole time.

Steve Pearson
Steve Pearson

Now Pearson, who served as offensive coordinator for Homer and the Tigers for 13 years, will try to fill Homer’s shoes, taking the head coaching position at Hurricane while Homer moves over to the athletic director spot.

Pearson, who officially took the reins in mid-June, said the expectations are high in H-town, but not any higher than what he expects out of himself, his team and his staff.

“There will always be expectations and pressures,” he said. “But the biggest pressure will be the pressure we put on ourselves to be successful. We know what needs to be done and we’re not going to spend a lot of time worrying about what goes on at the barber shop.”

Skyline 24, Hurricane 14 (Aug. 22)

HURRICANE — Despite a strong running game, Hurricane defensive errors led to a Skyline victory.

skyline-smThe Eagles never trailed, though Hurricane twice pulled to within a single score at 14-6 in the first half and 21-14 midway through the fourth quarter. Jeremiah Ieremia was outstanding with 9.5 tackles. including 2.5 tackles for loss.

Stats: Skyline 24, Hurricane 14

Hurricane 28, Stansbury 7 (Aug. 29)

HURRICANE – One lucky play changed Hurricane’s fortunes Friday night. Nick McDaniel took a tipped ball 93 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers never looked back in blasting Stansbury 28-7. The pass, thrown by QB Kayden Langston, went right to a defender, but caromed off his hands into the waiting arms of McDaniels, who then outraced the Stallions to the end zone.

stansbury-smThe rest of the game was anything but luck as the Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage with fullback Jeremiah Ieremia scoring three touchdowns. Hurricane led 14-0 at the half and built the advantage to 21-0 before Stansbury finally broke into the scoring column. Ieremia clinched the win with a fourth-quarter TD.

Stats: Hurricane 28, Stansbury 7

Moapa Valley 28, Hurricane 14 (Sept. 5)

The Tigers couldn’t generate any offense in the second half and squandered away a 14-0 lead to fall on the road in Nevada.

moapa-smJake Carr pounded home a pair of short TD runs and Hurricane appeared to be on its way early in the second quarter. But the Pirates’ RJ Hubert returned the kickoff after the second TD 92 yards for a score to change momentum.

Hurricane, 1-2, will try to get back on the winning track by hosting winless Payson next Friday to open region play. Moapa is 2-0. Moapa pulled to within 14-13 before halftime on a 16-yard TD pass from Zach Hymas to Cole Mulcock. Andrew Huerta put the Pirates ahead 21-14 when he recovered a fumble and rumbled 50 yards for a TD in the third quarter. The 2-point conversion made it 21-14 and the Pirates added an insurance TD in the fourth quarter on another Hymas TD pass.

Stats: Moapa Valley 28, Hurricane 14

Hurricane 45, Payson 20 (Sept. 12)

HURRICANE – The Tigers put together a four-quarter masterpiece in rolling the Lions Friday night at Tigers Stadium.

payson-smHurricane then scored four of the next five TDs to put the game away.Hurricane allowed just 104 yards to Payson in building a 45-12 lead before a late TD closed the gap a little. The held a slim 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter when Jeremiah Ieremia pushed it to 10-0 with a 4-yard TD run. Easton Smith found Preston Little from 8-yards away to make it 10-6, but the Tigers bumped it back to a double-digit lead at 17-6 at halftime after a Kaden Langston to Kole Richins 54-yard strike.

“It was good to have this in contrast to last week,” HHS coach Steve Pearson said. “We wanted to compete for a full four quarters, not just two.”

Hurricane, 2-2 overall and 1-0 in region, plays at Cedar next week

Stats: Hurricane 45, Payson 20

Hurricane 13, Cedar 7, OT (Sept. 19)

ST. GEORGE — Nick McDaniel took a pitch around the right end and sprinted 25 yards for a touchdown in overtime to lift the Tigers to the thrilling win and spoil the Redmen Homecoming celebration.

cedar-smHurricane’s Jake Carr and Cedar’s Dallin Grover each scored a TD in the first half, but neither team could get any points after halftime, forcing the extra period. Cedar netted just three yards in four plays in its possession of OT with a fourth-down pass falling to the ground harmlessly. Hurricane QB Kaden Langston then took the first play, faked a handoff up the middle to Carr and pitched it “rocket pitch” to McDaniel, who spied the hole and sprinted nearly untouched for six points to end the game.

Defenses ruled the night as neither team reached 300 yards of offense and no one could penetrate the red zone in the second half. Carr had 126 rushing yards for HHS in the win.

The Tigers, 3-2 overall and 2-0 in region, hosts Dixie next Friday. Cedar, 3-2 and 0-2, is at Pine View next week.

Stats: Hurrced2014stats

Hurricane 34, Dixie 14 (Sept. 26)

HURRICANE – The host Tigers scored 34 consecutive points to put any favorable outcome out of reach for the visiting Dixie Flyers.

dixie-smAfter Dixie quarterback Jaden Harrison found Bret Barben on a 20-yard strike to put the Flyers up 7-0, Hurricane scored five consecutive touchdowns to close out the first half, three by fullback Jeremiah Ieremia.

Dixie’s only other score came in the second half, this time an 83-yard misdirection run by Harrison. But Hurricane would still eat up clock on sustained run-dominated drives, limiting the Flyers’ chances to close the lead further. Dixie also turned the ball over five times, not including twice more on downs in the red zone.

Hurricane, picked to finish fifth by the media in Region 9 preseason polls, now sit atop the standings, tied with Desert Hills at 3-0. Ieremia finished with 151 rushing yards in the game, while teammate Nick McDaniel added 76 more. The Tigers, 4-2 overall, are at Snow Canyon next Friday.

Stats: Hurricane 34, Dixie 14

Hurricane 21, Snow Canyon 13 (Oct. 3)

ST. GEORGE — Hurricane rushed for 252 yards and picked off two Snow Canyon passes to hold on for the defensive win, and in the meantime, forged ahead into first place in the 3AA South Region by improving to 4-0 in league play.

snow-canyon-smDefense ruled the first half with the Tigers holding a 7-0 edge. Nick McDaniel had the only score of the first 24 minutes, a 78-yard pitch around the end and up the sidelines.

Snow Canyon drove it early in the second half, but Jeremiah Ieremia picked off SC quarterback Jacob Frei and ran it all the way back to the Warriors 5-yard line. Ieremia took the next play and rushed it in for a 14-0 Tigers lead early  in the second half.

The Warriors pulled to within 21-13 on a 5-yard run from Sam Slivers in the fourth quarter, but never saw the ball again as Hurricane went on a 13-play drive to run the remainder of the clock out deep in Snow Canyon territory.Snow Canyon got on the board with a TD pass from Frei to TJ Taimi from 10 yards out. But the Tigers answered with another long drive. Ieremia scored his second TD on a 12-yard run to make it 21-6.

Stats: Hurricane 21, Snow Canyon 13

Pine View 29, Hurricane 14 (Oct. 9)

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.

Pine-view-sm“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.

The win guarantees a tie for first in region if Pine View (7-2, 4-1) can beat 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 against Logan.

Logan 41, Hurricane 21 (Oct. 15)

LOGAN — It was the Hunter Horsley show in Logan as the Grizzlies junior quarterback passed for 353 yards and rushed for 140 more as Logan beat Hurricane 41-21 Wednesday night.

loganHorsley accounted for all six Logan TDs — four passing and two rushing — as the Grizzlies pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Logan led 21-0 and missed a field goal late in the second quarter. Drake Hermansen rushed for 55 yards to set up a 1-yard Jeremiah Ieremia run, making it 21-7 at the half. Ieremia’s 4-yarder made it 21-14 and the Tigers got a stop midway through the third quarter. But Kaden Langston was sacked on a big third down play and the Grizzlies scored 20-straight points to turn the game into a runaway.

Hurricane, 5-4 overall and 4-1 in region, returns to the 3AA South next Friday to battle Desert Hills. The home game for Hurricane will determine which team gets a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Logan is 6-3.Hermansen had 77 rushing yards and Ieremia chipped in 69 as the Tigers had 251 yards on the ground.

Stats: Logan 41, Hurricane 21

Desert Hills 21, Hurricane 3 (Oct. 24)

HURRICANE — Defense was the theme of the night at Tigers Stadium and nobody is better at it than Desert Hills.

Desert-Hills-smThe two best defenses in the region squared off Friday night with the Thunder pulling away in the second half for a 21-3 victory over Hurricane. With the win, Desert Hills clinched the top seed heading into the state playoffs and pulled even with Pine View for a final region record of 5-1.

“We forced them into some tough down and distances,” DH coach Carl Franke said. “We knew we would wear them down. We played pretty physical and dominated the line of scrimmage.”

It was not a pretty game, with 19 penalties and a combined offensive output of barely 400 yards. But that seems to be the way the defending-state champs like it. The Thunder trailed 3-0 at the half, similar to last week’s 3-0 third quarter deficit to Snow Canyon.

Hurricane passed the ball relatively well. Kaden Langston was 8 of 13 for 112 yards. Noah Elison caught four of those passes for 64 yards.

Hurricane, 5-5 overall and 4-2 in region, settles for the No. 3-seed and will host a first-round playoff game next week. Park City, 2-8 and the sixth-place team from the 3AA North, will visit Tigers Stadium. The Miners were 1-5 in region play, including Friday night’s 35-26 loss to Juan Diego.

Stats: dhhur102414

Hurricane 49, Park City 28 (Oct. 31)

HURRICANE — Hurricane played with fire a little bit Friday evening. But fortunately, the Tigers didn’t get burned.

park-city-smA slow start for heavily-favored Hurricane against Park City kept the Miners in the game for nearly three full quarters, but a 28-point flurry of points at the end of the third helped the Tigers rise for a 49-28 win in the first round of the 3AA playoffs at Tigers Stadium.

“We came out really, really flat,” Hurricane coach Steve Pearson said. “Park City came to battle. I’m just glad we were able to weather it and gain some traction and get the job done.”

With a pair of fumbles and an ill-conceived fake punt at their own 14-yard line, Hurricane helped the Miners to a 14-7 lead late in the first half. The Tigers did get TDs late in the second quarter by Jake Carr and JD Stanworth to forge a 21-14 halftime lead, but the score remained 21-14 until there were two minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when things got a little weird. Like Halloween weird, as HHS scored 28 points in two minutes off of great defensive play.

With the win, the Tigers advance to the 3AA Quarterfinals and will take on long-time nemesis Juan Diego in Draper. Juan Diego beat Hurricane in three straight 3A championship games a few years back and eliminated the Tigers from the playoffs two years ago with a 41-0 shutout.

The Tigers, 6-5, had 26 first downs and held a nine-minute advantage in time of possession.

Stats: Hurricane 49, Park City 28

Hurricane 32, Juan Diego 15 (Nov. 7)

DRAPER — Some called it a curse, some a “history” and some just an irritation.

juan-diego-smWhatever it was, Hurricane’s losing streak against Juan Diego is now over as the Tigers beat the Soaring Eagle 32-17 Friday night and earned a trip into the 3AA Semifinals.

“I don’t want to overplay it and it’s not a state championship, but the kids kind of pioneered something here tonight,” Hurricane coach Steve Pearson said. “I am sure there are a lot of alumni that are sitting at home that were in some of those back-to-back-to-back games and are with there wives and their kids that finally have some closure and it’s good for them and for our staff and for Coach (Chris) Homer.”

Tigers senior Traycen Shamo, who had a forced fumble and a game-clinching touchdown in the win, summed it up well.

“It feels so good to represent our brothers past that haven’t quite got there,” he said. “We worked our butts off in practice and said ‘Let’s do something that no Hurricane Tiger has ever done,’ and we went out there and had an unbelievable experience. It feels so good.”

Truth be told, Hurricane was just a much better football team on this night. The Tigers dominated the line of scriammge, forced four turnovers and generally mauled Juan Diego.

The Tigers, 7-5, earn a rematch with Desert Hills next week. The semifinal game will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. The winner will face the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal between Dixie and Pine View in the state championship game Nov. 21 at 11 a.m.

Stats: Hurricane 32, Juan Diego 15

Hurricane 17, Desert Hills 14 (Nov. 14)

SALT LAKE CITY – It must be nerve-wracking for a football coach to put so much faith in a 10th grader. But Hurricane coach Steve Pearson did just that and sophomore quarterback Josh Parker responded by helping the Tigers to a 17-14 win over Desert Hills in the 3AA State Semifinals at Rice Eccles Stadium.

Desert-Hills-sm“We do have confidence in him,” Pearson said. “This time of year, you have to have confidence in him. You have to stretch it a little bit and try things you haven’t done. Josh stepped up and did a great, great job. He’s a very cool customer and that’s what we love about him.”

Parker, who made just his second career start since senior Kaden Langston went down with an injury, certainly didn’t win the game by himself. But he managed the game, passed for 104 yards and (perhaps most importantly) didn’t turn the ball over.

The Tigers never trailed in the game and led by 10 twice in the game at 10-0 early in the third quarter and 17-7 late in the third. But Desert Hills, which beat Hurricane 21-3 just four weeks ago, kept climbing back into the game.

In fact, the Thunder had the ball inside the Hurricane 10-yard line with under two minutes to play and the score 17-14. D-Hills had just converted a fourth-and-7 play from the Hurricane 41 when Nick Warmsley found Bridger Cowdin for a 34-yard gain.

With the clock reading exactly two minutes to play, Warmsley rolled right and took a wicked hit from Tigers linebacker Charlie Sefita. The smashing blow popped the ball 10 feet in the air and Tyson Yardley plucked the loose pigskin out of the sky to stop the scoring threat. Hurricane then ran out the remaining time to clinch a spot in next week’s 3AA championship game.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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