The 3AA South isn’t used to losing games to anyone. But garnering a winning record against a line-up of preseason opponents that included a 5A team, four 4A teams and the reigning 3A champs was too tall a task for the southern Utah squads in Week 1.
Pine View and Snow Canyon were able to come away with wins, the former a thrilling overtime victory and the latter a road blowout against a former 3AA South team. Desert Hills just couldn’t quite stay with 5A Jordan, while Dixie and Cedar dropped games Friday night to 4A foes and Hurricane lost Thursday to Skyline.
St. George News writers Andy Griffin, Darren Cole, Jordan Abel and AJ Griffin, along with photographer Robert Hoppie and videographer Dallas Griffin, hustled around the region to bring you the best coverage, valued insight and amazing photos and video possible. Here’s our Breakdown report:
Pine View 30, Judge Memorial 24 (2 OT)
Written by Andy Griffin
ST. GEORGE — Wacky. That’s the best way to describe a game that was 24-0, then tied at 24-24, then finally over in a second overtime after no one scored in the first one.
Running back Kobe Topalian took a shotgun handoff in the second OT, broke one tackle, then out-raced the defense to the goal line to lift the Panthers to the win, just moments after it looked like a sure loss for PV.
Pine View had failed to score in the first overtime, leaving Judge with a relatively easy field goal for the win. The 35-yard try by Tim Hemmersmeier was tipped by Tyler Heaton, leaving it wide right of the goalposts. Pine View then stuffed the Bulldogs in the second overtime, setting up Topalian’s heroic run.
“It’s all a blur,” Topalian said. “I hardly remember. I felt a guy on my right at the line, but when I shook him off, I saw a big hole on the right and took off and my teammates blocked everyone else.”
The Panthers led 24-0 late in the first half and looked like the superior team. But Judge owned the second half to make the comeback and force the extra periods.
“That’s a big team, a strong team over there,” PV coach Ray Hosner said. “Football really is a game of momentum and they had it the second half. But just a couple of little plays in overtime changed it back in our favor.”
The first was that partially blocked field goal by Heaton. Pine View had failed to score in the first overtime, leaving the door wide open for Judge to win it.
Hemmersmeier had made a 50-yard field goal earlier in the game, so it looked as if the Dogs were going to come away with the win when he lined up to kick the 35-yarder in the OT. But Heaton split the blockers and deflected the ball.
“Tyler blocked one earlier in the game, so I knew he could get another one,” Pine View’s Dillon Robertson said. “Sure enough, he got a big hand in there and made sure we could keep playing.”
A fumble on Judge’s offensive possession in the second overtime set up the same scenario, only this time for the Panthers.
But instead of a field goal, Topalian took a shotgun handoff, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and then cut right and went untouched to the end zone to end the game.
Early in the game, it seemed a blowout was in order. Riley Livingston connected on TD passes to Mason Wiley and Lance Mandrigues and Topalian had a short TD run. Add a Connor Brooksby field goal and PV led 24-0 20 minutes into the game.
But the Bulldogs made a switch at quarterback, bringing in Sam Garcia to spell Kelsin Pupunu. The change seemed to ignite the Judge squad.
Garcia led the Bulldogs on a 78-yard TD march and he found Bapa Falamaka with a 12-yard TD pass to make it 24-7 with just 16 seconds to go in the first half.
The momentum swing continued after intermission as JMHS kept Pine View pinned on defense and moved the ball on offense. A 50-yard field goal by Tim Hemmersmeier cut it to 24-10 19 seconds into the fourth quarter and another Garcia-to-Falamaka TD pass (this time 38 yards) made it 24-17 with 7:51 left in the game.
After yet another Pine View punt, the Bulldogs tied the game on another Garcia-Falamaka hook-up (16 yards) with 1:46 to play. That set up the overtime periods.
Falamaka finished with 89 yards receiving and the three TDs, while Mandrigues had 98 receiving yards for Pine View.
Judge out-gained Pine View 285-244, but had four turnovers to Pine View’s one.
Stats: Judge at Pine View 8-21-2015
Jordan 54, Desert Hills 34
Written by Darren Cole
ST. GEORGE – Desert Hills welcomed bigger school Jordan for its home opener this year. A 27-0 stretch over two and a half quarters bullied the Thunder into a 54-34 loss.
“They are bigger, and of course have enough boys to platoon both ways,” said Thunder head coach Carl Franke. “But we schedule tougher competition to see how we stack up before playing region games. Our boys played hard. We made some mistakes. But overall we will take the positives out of this and work on the negatives.”
With 3:21 left in the first quarter, Nick Warmsley was flushed from the pocket and found receiver Stetson Wood on a comeback route. Wood then turned the opposite direction, leaving the Jordan defender in the dust for a 40-yard touchdown to tie the score 13-13.
Then the drought hit. The Thunder’s next seven possessions ended with two fumbles, a missed field goal, two punts, a turnover on downs and time expiring at halftime (after the Thunder had driven the ball to Jordan’s 1-yard line).
Conversely the Beetdiggers put up 27 points over the same span. Quarterback Drew Lisk had over 500 yards of total offense and scorched the Thunder defense with designed quarterback draws.
“He had a great opening game,” said Jordan head coach Eric Kjar. “He had some great throws and has speed in the running game.”
Desert Hills did put up 21 points in the fourth quarter. The Thunder opened the quarter with a 2-yard run from Warmsley on the first play. However, less than a minute later Lisk answered with a 42-yard run to give Jordan the four-score cushion.
The most exciting play for the Thunder came on its next possession. After the Beetdigger special teams were able to pin Desert Hills deep on the kickoff, Warmsley found receiver Zak Fuchs for a 90-yard touchdown pass.
“We have been playing together since third grade,” said Fuchs. “Nick noticed that the safeties had both gone wide and that the middle of the field was wide open. He made a good audible.”
After forcing a turnover, Warmsley scored again, this time from 3-yards out to pull the Thunder within 47-34 with 4:27 left to play. However, Lisk would again answer less than a minute later with another touchdown run of his own from 6-yards out to take it to the final margin.
Desert Hills would fumble again on its last possession. Both teams put their reserves in and Jordan ran out the clock to end the game.
We had opportunities,” said Franke. “I told our team we have to be better conditioned than the teams we play. We don’t have the luxury of the bigger schools to platoon. We have to have players go both ways.”
The Thunder got on the scoreboard initially in the first quarter with a 45-yard pass from Warmsley to Garrick Sharp. For the game Warmsley had 81 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns. His counterpart, Lisk, ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He threw for 444 yards and four touchdowns.
The leading receivers were Fuchs for Desert Hills (111 yards/one touchdown) and Riley Elliot for Jordan (171 yards/one touchdown).
The Thunder will host the Foothill Falcons from Las Vegas next Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Stats: Jordan 54, Desert Hills 34
Snow Canyon 44, Payson 7
Written by AJ Griffin
PAYSON – The Snow Canyon Warriors racked up an impressive 387 total yards and forced 5 turnovers as they whipped the Payson Lions 44-7 at Payson High School Friday night.
In the first quarter, after an exchange of punts, Joshua Barnes capped a 34-yard drive with a 3-yard rush up the middle to score the first Warrior TD of the 2015 campaign. Later in the first, Payson had a shot to answer, driving down to the Warrior 7-yard line, but were denied when big man Hunter Frei de-cleated QB Buc Frasier and forced a fumble that teammate Teagan Mendenhall jumped on.
Close-but-no-cigar would be the story of the night for Payson as the Lions reached the red zone five times, three times inside the 5-yard line, but came away empty-handed each time. Payson’s only score came late when the SC reserves launched a bad snap into the end zone.
“Our defense, they come to practice everyday,” Warrior head coach Marcus Matua said. “We have some good speed defensively and we have some good schemes and we talked about today how there is no pressure if you’re prepared. We, as Warriors, came out today and played with no pressure. We did a great job of keeping them out on defense. We did allow them to score on the offensive miscue, but that is something we can work on.”
After Frei and company denied Payson at the 7-yard line, the SC offense put together a haymaker of a drive from which Payson would never recover. QB Jackson Nowatzke orchestrated a 93-yard drive, finally handing it off to Barnes from 2-yards out to put SC up 14-0. Barnes would rack up 86 yards and two touchdowns by the time the night was over.
“Josh Barnes, we know what to expect from him.” Matua said. “Every day I joke with him at practice about being an all-state running back and he needs to believe that because he has the capabilities. We have a stable of great backs and Josh Barnes leads that pack.”
Payson immediately fumbled on its next drive, setting up a 14-yard Kody Jacobson TD run. This gave the Warriors 21-0 lead going into halftime. In the second half, the Warriors wasted no time as Frasier’s first pass attempt was tipped and linebacker Kaleb Gates got under and intercepted the tip. This set up a Jackson to TJ Taimi connection for a 40-yard TD pass, making it 28-0. Later on, Britton Webster pulled away from everyone on a 30-yard touchdown run. Defensively, SC also forced a safety after a bad snap and Warrior David Dillard took advantage of another bad snap as he was the first to corral a loose ball in the end zone to score a TD.
“Our defense stepped up,” senior Dylan Parry said. “It was fun playing and we came out and hit hard. We were intense the whole time. I give all the credit to the D-line. They were wrecking and penetrating and setting everything up.”
Matua said he was proud of the product his team put on the field Friday night.
“It was a great start to the season,” he said. “The boys came out from the get-go just ready to play. You could tell just the attitude that they had when we got off the bus. They went out there and showed us what they are made of and what they are capable of doing.”
Snow Canyon collected its first victory of the season at 1-0. Payson dropped to 0-1. The Warriors will prepare to return north on Aug. 28 to take on Cottonwood High. Payson will host Provo next Friday.
Stats: Snow Canyon 44, Payson 7
Provo 40, Cedar 16
Written by Jordan Abel
CEDAR CITY — Lights on, fans screaming, band blaring and school pride back on the line as high school football began Friday night for Cedar High School.
The Redmen matched up against Provo High School for each school’s first game. The Bulldogs walked away with the victory 40-16 after a tight first half and impressive offensive play in the second half.
The Redmen struggled to move the ball forward until late in the fourth quarter when it was all but over. Cedar forced four turnovers, three of which came in the first half.
“I thought defensively we played our tails off,” Cedar head coach Josh Bennett said. “We created four turnovers on defense, and I think when you’re able to do that, you should be able to win football games. Offensively, we weren’t good. We weren’t able to execute, we weren’t able to block. I don’t know if it’s a learning curve or something. It’s something on my end, I’ve gotta get fixed. But, defensively, we gave a great effort, especially for being on the field the whole game.”
The Redmen led at halftime 16-15, after all 16 of their points were scored in the second quarter.
Provo took an early 7-0 lead in the first but relinquished a safety in the second after a snap sailed over its punter’s head and out of the back of the end zone. On Provo’s next possession, the Bulldogs got down to the 5-yard line before Cedar cornerback Jaden Tullis intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it back 101 yards for a touchdown.
“I (had) tripped the play before, and (the receiver) almost caught it,” Tullis said. “I just let that go and got ready for the next play. I just made a good play like my coaches taught me to do.”
Provo would score on the ensuing possession, including a two-point conversion, but left too much time for Cedar quarterback Mason Fakahua and the Cedar offense. Fakahua found Derek Ball for a 46-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds remaining in the half.
“Most of the part, a lot of (the field) wasn’t open,” Fakahua said. “Provo had a great defense. Their (corner)backs were in the right spot every time. It was hard, but the middle was mostly open.”
In the second half, it was all Bulldogs. Provo forced two interceptions and the Bulldogs offense was nearly unstoppable, leading Provo to the victory.
“We couldn’t get any momentum going on offense, and then we’d put our defense back out on the field in a bad situation,” Bennett said. “We just couldn’t move the ball. Then we’d put the defense back out on the field, and they’d play their butts off. We’ve got to figure out a way to move the ball better.”
One problem Cedar’s offense was having was snapping the ball to the quarterback. There were eight snaps that found the turf, all of which were recovered by Cedar.
“(The center and I) just need to communicate better,” Fakahua said. “We haven’t played in a game where everyone’s yelling and the band is playing, so it falls on me. I gotta yell a little bit louder for him to hear me.”
Cedar next plays Virgin Valley Friday, Aug. 28 at Cedar High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Stats: Provo 40, Cedar 16
Springville 35, Dixie 21
Written by Darren Cole
SPRINGVILLE – The Dixie Flyers traveled north to take on the Springville Red Devils Friday night with the more experienced Springville squad coming away with a two-touchdown margin of victory, 35-21.
“We are young and our immaturity showed on the field,” said Dixie head coach Andy Stokes. Stokes, who is also in his first year, also shouldered the blame for his own inexperience. “We made some mistakes, but nothing that cannot be fixed. And the team will get better as the season progresses.”
Dixie’s two all-state performers showed that their selections were not made in error last year. Tre Miller rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Bret Barben also gained over 100 yards in receiving. First-year Flyer quarterback Zak Harrah completed 15 of 27 passes for 130 yards.
Dixie scored first when Miller broke loose for an 80-yard run. Springville answered with a 9-yard pass from Jantsen Thorpe to Tanner Perrero. Springville took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter on a 3-yard run by Scott Averett. Dixie running back Hobbs Nyberg would even the score before halftime with a 6-yard scamper.
The Red Devils came out of halftime and put up two early scores for a 14-point margin. Thorpe threw for the first touchdown, a 15-yard pass to receiver Brock Slavens, and ran for the second one, a 30-yard run.
Dixie would answer with another Tre Miller touchdown run, this time from 7-yards out to pull within 28-21. The Flyers would not find the end zone in the fourth quarter, however. Springville once again pushed the lead and the final margin back to 14 points with Perrero’s second touchdown reception.
Dixie will host Mohave, out of Bullhead City, Ariz., next Friday. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Stats: Springville 35, Dixie 21
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