Well, that’s better.
Opening week was not great for the 3AA South, but Week 2 was about as good as it can get for the southern Utah teams as they went a perfect 6-0, including road wins for Snow Canyon and Pine View. The Warriors and Panthers both improved to 2-0 with their away victories, while the rest of the region picked up wins at home, including blowouts for Desert Hills, Dixie and Cedar and a fine defensive effort from Hurricane.
The St. George News sports staff, including writers Andy Griffin, Darren Cole, Jordan Abel and Brad Christensen, photographers Robert Hoppie and Dave Amodt and videographer Dallas Griffin, hustled around the region to get you the best analysis, actualities, highlights and photographs possible for Week 2. Here are our reports:
SNOW CANYON 26, COTTONWOOD 13
Written by Darren Cole
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — From a scoring perspective, Cottonwood owned Snow Canyon in the first and fourth quarters, outscoring the Warriors 13-3. But when you account for the 23 straight points Snow Canyon put up on the Colts, it was a long night for the home team.
In the third quarter, the Warriors took their first lead on an Andrew Day field goal from 25 yards out to go up 10-7. Nowatzke then found wide receiver Jake Rhea for a 41-yard touchdown pass. Snow Canyon capped the scoring in the third with a 2-yard run by Joshua Barnes.
Andrew Day would put up his second field goal from 22 yards before Cottonwood would get on the board again.
The Warriors only outgained Cottonwood 271-236 yards, but Snow Canyon won the battle of the turnovers 4-1 with two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
“The key to our victory tonight was our defense,” said Warrior head coach Marcus Matua. “We played a tough Cottonwood team with a good rushing attack. Our defense caused some turnovers and put our offense in great field position time after time.”
For the game, Barnes led all rushers with 84 yards on 19 carries. Rhea had two receptions for 45 yards. Nowatzke found TJ Taimi six times for 37 yards. Nowatzke completed 11 of 14 passes for 105 yards.
The two teams played a year ago in St. George with the Colts coming away with a 35-21 victory.
Snow Canyon remains undefeated in 2015 at 2-0. The Warriors will host Juan Diego next week.
Stats: SC 26, Cottonwood 13
PINE VIEW 23, Uintah 0
Written by Jordan Abel
VERNAL — It took a while for the Panthers offense to get going, but the defense was in high gear all game long.
Pine View is off to a good start in non-region play with a 2-0 record with one game remaining before starting region play. The Panthers outgained the Utes 374 yards to 104 yards. PVHS had 282 yards in the air and 92 on the ground. Uintah had only 88 through the air and 16 yards rushing.
Pine View didn’t put any points on the board in the first half, but coach Ray Hosner said the team didn’t play poorly offensively.
He said the goal for the team offensively is score or flip the field, and the offense would flip the field to make it harder on Uintah. Punter Dillan Robertson even downed a ball inside the 20-yard line, and none of his punts were ever returned for any yards.
At halftime, with the score still tied at zero, Hosner pushed his team to follow its leaders on the field.
“We just decided we’ve got to be able to run behind a certain group of guys,” Hosner said.
Turnovers were even in the game, as both teams turned the ball over three times. Pine View picked up a fumble on the Uintah 33-yard line to set up its first touchdown, though. The touchdown came on a 20-yard pass from Riley Livingston to Mason Wiley with 9:21 to go in the third quarter.
“I thought our defense played exceptionally well,” Hosner said. “They kept us in the game.”
Hosner said Uintah dared Pine View to throw it, so Livingston threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Lance Mandrigues to open up the field for some extra running plays.
“They were stacking seven guys in the box, which made it hard for us on offense as a spread team,” Hosner said. “We went to play action and then threw over the top and were able to score.”
The linemen were finally able to open up a hole so Kobe Topalian could get a 1-yard touchdown run.
“We’ve had a few injuries to guys on the offensive line, so our young kids are stepping in and doing a great job for us,” Hosner said. “They’re learning every day.”
Pine View held strong defensively, forcing a safety in the fourth quarter to make the score 23-0. Once again, it was Topalian with a big play. He sacked Uintah quarterback Kedric Coons in the end zone. Pine View also only allowed Uintah to convert once on nine third down attempts.
Pine View next plays host to Manti High School Friday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.
DESERT HILLS 50, FOOTHILL (NEV.) 6
Written by Andy Griffin
ST. GEORGE — The Desert Hills football program was a bit like a hungry, wounded animal heading into Friday night’s game against Foothill, Nev. But the Thunder feasted well on Falcon this night.
Still smarting from a 54-34 loss to Jordan and reeling from a serious injury to star Nephi Sewell, D-Hills needed a shot of positive energy. The big win over the Henderson, Nev.-based Falcons was just the ticket.
Nick Warmsley looked like a superstar, passing for three touchdowns and rushing for three more, while the defense did its job, allowing just a single TD in the third quarter.
“We did a lot of the technical things wrong last week,” DH coach Carl Franke said. “We tried to help the kids understand that this week in practice and they took it and ran with it.”
Warmsley passed and ran for nearly 300 yards and was smart enough to get the ball out to his athletes, including speedy Zak Fuchs.
“We’ve got a lot of speed this year,” Fuchs said. “We’re going to use that as our main asset on offense. Nick has really stepped up with a lot of confidence for us. He’s a big leader for our team. He’s a tough guy to stop when he gets it going.”
DH scored three times in the first nine minutes of the game. Warmsley started it off with a keeper on a read play, out-sprinting the FHS defenders for a 43-yard TD run. Then he used his arm for the next couple of scores.
After a shanked punt gave the Thunder the ball at the Foothill 35, Warmsley found track star Garrick Sharp for a 35-yard TD pass to make it 14-0 with 7:19 left in the first quarter.
After a Falcons punt, Warmsley had his biggest play of the night, a 73-yard bomb to Fuchs, another sprinter on the DHHS track team. He pulled away from the defense to make it 21-0 with still 3:18 to go in the opening period.
Christian Cottle added a field goal and Warmsley hooked up with Fuchs again to make it 31-0 at halftime. Warmsley had two TD runs in the second half before Franke called off the dogs and substituted liberally.
“Nick Warmsley never played a down at quarterback until his sophomore year of high school,” Franke said. “To be where he’s at now, it’s incredible.”
Warmsley, who has guided his team to 84 points in two games this season, said his teammates have been crucial to his success.
“My line is freakin’ amazing,” he said. “We’ve all worked so hard in the weight room. It’s not about points or yards. It’s about winning, for all of us. The whole team is that way.”
Justice Alo and Badge Morris were huge on defense and Franke also tabbed Ryan Hoppie as being a difference-maker. The junior safety, making his first varsity start, had 12 tackles and an interception.
The Thunder, 1-1, play at Roy next Friday. The Royals lost to Jordan by a touchdown Friday night.
Stats: DH 50, Foothill 6
DIXIE 56, MOHAVE (Ariz.) 10
Written by Darren Cole
ST. GEORGE — The Dixie Flyers rebounded from their opening loss with a pounding of the Mohave Thunderbirds from Bullhead City, Ariz, 56-10.
Mohave started the game keying on containment of Tre Miller. “They loaded the box early,” said Stokes. “Quarterback Zak Harrah had a great night. He threw three touchdown passes tonight.”
The Dixie defense continually forced three and outs against the Thunderbirds. Mohave scored only twice all night — A touchdown late in the game against the Dixie reserves and a field goal in the second quarter after a long kickoff return and a personal foul penalty pinned the Flyers deep in their own territory.
“Our defense played outstanding,” said Stokes. “Malakia Fakahua and Magalei Stevenson both had eight tackles apiece and had great flow to the ball. Even though the stats don’t show it, Cutler Thomas performed his contain assignment tonight. That was a key in stopping their offense.”
In the second half, Mohave made adjustments to the Flyers passing attack. Big mistake. Miller had a career night with most of his yardage coming in the third quarter. The senior halfback gained 208 yards on 17 carries, scoring twice.
Offensively, Dixie scored seven touchdowns and gained 432 yards. The last touchdown came on free safety Daniel Tuitavuki’s pick-six. Tuitavuki stepped in front of the Mohave receiver and then pranced 55 yards for the score.
Offensive tackle Kim Eyles was moved to the left side for the first time tonight. “Their best athlete was at right defensive end,” said Stokes. “We moved Eyles to that side and their stud became a non-factor. Eyles played extremely well tonight.”
Harrah completed 10 of 17 passes for 167 yards. Bret Barben, Jaden Harrison and Mark Abraham had three receptions apiece. Harrison also had 43 yards rushing.
Dixie improves to 1-1. The Flyers will host Alta High School next Friday.
HURRICANE 32, UNION 21
Written by Brad Christensen
HURRICANE — In a game that had moments of football brilliance and occasional sloppy play, the Hurricane Tigers defeated the visiting Union Cougars 32-21 to even their record at one win and one loss in this early high school season. Union drops to 0-2 as they head back home to play rival Uintah next week.
On the opening kickoff, the Tiger coverage broke down and Union ran the ball to the Hurricane 48. Throughout the night, the Cougars kick returns put them in great field position, but they were not able to capitalize on this advantage for many points.
After starting on their own 30-yard line, the Tigers marched down the field, using a combination of runs by various backs and short passes by junior Josh Parker. At the 5:21 mark in the first quarter, Jacob Carr powered in from the 2-yard line for the first score of the game. The extra point gave Hurricane the 7-0 lead.
Union again started its next possession near mid-field after kick coverage broke down for HHS. After trading punts, the Cougars got the ball back. The snap went over quarterback Vili Lutui’s head, but he scooped it up, scrambled away from the defensive linemen and threw for a first down.
Twice, the Cougars had touchdowns called back because of penalties. After a throw to Henrique Moreira to the 1, Weston Horrocks punched it in to even the score 7-7. The Tigers marched the ball down the field behind great blocking by the offensive line and runs by Carr and Kyler Blackmore.
In true Tiger fashion, the ball was given to the fullback, Carr, who broke tackles and ran over people for 12 yards to score again. Jaden Stone added the extra point to put Hurricane up 14-7 at the half.
The third quarter started with more special teams problems for Hurricane when Union blocked a punt and recovered the ball on the 25-yard line. Three plays later and an extra point and the game was again knotted at 14.
On the next Tiger possession, Union’s Christian Llamas recovered a fumble for the third touchdown of the night for the Cougars.
At this point, Tigers coach Steve Pearson told his team that how they chose to respond would be a defining moment in their season. Hurricane took the ball and marched down the field with great runs by Lucas Stout and Carr. Carr’s number was called and he drove past the goal line for his third touchdown of the game. A blocked kick left the score 21-20 in favor of the visiting Cougars.
Hurricane’s defensive line, led by Quando Ieremiah, Isaiah Johnson, and Marley Amosa put constant pressure on Union’s quarterback throughout the rest of the game.
The Tigers got the ball back and, early in the fourth quarter, Carr entered the end zone on a dive for his fourth TD. After a failed attempt at a two-point conversion, HHS led 26-21.
Union’s next possession was filled with penalties and miscues. The punter mis-kicked the ball right into the hands of Tiger defensive lineman Quando Ieremiah and he returned the ball to Union’s 18. A couple of plays later, Blackmore ran a sweep left into the end zone, putting the Tigers up 32-21. With 7:34 left on the clock, Union’s Weston Horrocks made a great runback to the 37-yard line and the Cougars started moving the ball. The drive was stopped as Kyle Williams intercepted a pass in the end zone.
The Cougars got the ball back with over two minutes left on the clock, but solid play by the Tiger D made them turn the ball over on downs. Parker took a knee twice and the Hurricane team celebrated its first victory of the year.
The Tigers play their second home game in a row next Friday as Moapa Valley comes calling. The Pirates beat Hurricane last season down in Nevada.
Stats: Hurricane 32, Union 21
CEDAR 41, VIRGIN VALLEY (Nev.) 7
Written by Jordan Abel
CEDAR CITY — Cedar High School scored early in the first quarter and never looked back in a 41-7 win over Virgin Valley High School (Nev.).
Cedar rookie head coach Josh Bennett was happy with his team’s play, but knows there is always something to work on.
“I think we played a quality team,” Bennett said. “I think Virgin Valley had eight guys back on offense, and eight guys back on defense. I was happy with how we responded from last week’s performance. Our whole focus this week was to get better and to work on the things we need to work on. The kids did a good job on that. Honestly, I think if there was a down on that game, it was the penalties. That’s just something we’ve got to stress in practice and work on to keep getting better each week.”
Redmen quarterback Mason Fakahua hit Berick Englestead on a 61-yard touchdown pass on the first offensive play from scrimmage, less than one minute into the game. From that point on, it was a one-sided affair as Cedar seemingly couldn’t be stopped on the ground.
“Our line worked harder than ever,” Fakahua said. “That’s what brings us fire. They did great and helped us get down the field.”
Fakahua found the end zone twice in a row, not including a 2-point conversion (which he also ran in). He ran the first touchdown for 33 yards, the second one was good for 52 yards.
“(Fakahua) is definitely a threat running the ball, so that was part of our game plan going into this week,” Bennett said. “We really stressed on getting better blocks and sustaining our blocks and I thought the kids did a much better job on that tonight.”
Drake Lewis found the end zone twice on the ground also. Travis Tait capped the scoring for the Redmen with a 1-yard rush before Virgin Valley finally found the end zone with 8:44 left in the game, when it was all but over.
“It helped studying the film this week against Virgin Valley,” Lewis said. “I (focused on) getting mentally prepared for the game and think a play ahead and do what I can do.”
On defense, Jaden Tullis, Drake Lewis, Shem Mackert and Bracken Yardley all recorded interceptions. Tullis also muffed a punt, but picked it back up and returned it 56 yards down to Virgin Valley’s 4-yard line to set up Lewis’ first score.
“We scouted out their offense to know what they’re going to run, so I set myself up in the right place for an interception,” Lewis said.
Cedar’s defense has forced eight turnovers in the two games.
“I’m proud of our defense,” Bennett said. “I think we (forced) four turnovers last week and four turnovers this week, so I think our defense is playing well.”
Cedar plays at Canyon View next in a non-region, rivalry match.
“It’s a cross-town rivalry,” Fakahua said. “All we can do is play the best we can. It’s always an important game. You know, we’re friends, but once we step out onto that field, it’s a battle. We prepare for them, they prepare for us, and that’s all we can ask for.”
Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 at CVHS.
“It’s always a rivalry game, preseason, region, no matter what,” Lewis said.
Stats: Cedar 41, Virgin Valley 7
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