Saturday Breakdown: Defense rules for the 3AA South in Week 3

Like in Week 2, the 3AA South teams put together a 4-2 week with road wins from Pine View and Desert Hills and home wins by Cedar and Snow Canyon.

footballandhelmet-461x272The region is a combined 9-9 against non-region foes, which may seem mediocre until you consider the enemies. The 3AA South has played two 5A schools, seven 4A schools and three out-of-state schools so far in the 2016 preseason. Last night, the two losses came to a 4A school (in Dixie’s loss to Alta) and an out-of-state school (in Hurricane’s loss to Moapa Valley). In fact, the only game any team has played against someone from the 3AA classification was Pine View’s season-opening win at Judge Memorial.

So, what do we know so far? Well, about what we knew in the preseason. Desert Hills is good, especially defensively (and Nephi Sewell hasn’t played a down yet). Cedar might also be pretty good. Pine View has the best record, though the the strength of schedule so far for PV is not super high. The rest of the region is still a mystery, with Hurricane struggling on offense, Dixie struggling on defense and Snow Canyon struggling for consistency.

There is one more week of preseason games for the six 3AA South teams to make some noise and make final preparations for region play. As for Week 3, well, let’s take a closer look:

Snow Canyon 51, Carbon 7
Written by Andy Griffin

The Warriors started quick in both games prior to this Friday night, then wilted down the stretch.

snow-canyon-logoThat didn’t happen this time.

With Austin Staheli and Matt Kitchen leading the way, Snow Canyon tromped on the gas pedal and didn’t let up until the game was well in hand.

Staheli passed for a score and ran for another and Kitchen saw his first action in a couple of weeks (and threw a TD pass) as the Warriors scored on six straight possessions in the first half to claim a 41-0 edge at intermission.

Snow Canyon's Chris Poulsen (6), Snow Canyon vs. Carbon, Football, St. George, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Snow Canyon’s Chris Poulsen (6), Snow Canyon vs. Carbon, Football, St. George, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“We needed to keep it 100 percent effort the entire game,” said SC defensive end Spencer Snow. “We couldn’t let up like we’ve done before. Tonight was big because I think we went out and played every single play to the best of our abilities.”

Poor Carbon couldn’t stop Snow Canyon, allowing touchdown drives of 64, 40, 29, 57, 55 and 18 yards in the first half.

But perhaps even more frustrating for the undermanned Dinos was a lack of offense in the first half. CHS’s drives in the first half were 5 yards (and then a punt), minus-2 yards (punt), 9 yards (turnover on downs), minus-2 yards (punt), minus-5 yards (fumble), 16 yards (punt) and 31 yards (end of half). That’s a total of 52 yards in the first half, with just three first downs.

“On defense, we just tried to keep our intensity up,” said Warrior linebacker Kaleb Gates. “We’ve been working this week on keeping a level, consistent intensity, with no letdowns.”

Snow Canyon's Britton Webster (13), Snow Canyon vs. Carbon, Football, St. George, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Snow Canyon’s Britton Webster (13), Snow Canyon vs. Carbon, Football, St. George, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Carbon, with just 45 players in the program (grades 9-12) was far inferior to the athletic Warriors. Only when SC coach Mike Esplin brought in freshman and sophomores in the second half did the Dinos start to move the ball.

“We always talk about reps, right, and the only way to rep a win is to get one,” said Esplin, who notches his first victory as a head coach with win. “To feel the ability to get ahead and stay ahead, that’s a big rep for us. That’s one winning rep and now we just have to keep that consistency going.”

The only scoring in the second half came on a scoop and score from 25 yards by Carbon’s Taden Gray that briefly cut the score to 41-7; and a 29-yard TD run by Staheli around the left end, in which the QB beat the outside backer to the edge and then outraced the defensive backs. Daniel Urias threw a key block on the play. Backup kicker Andy Day also kicked a 37-yard field goal for the Warriors in an abbreviated fourth quarter (due to the mercy rule).

Snow Canyon's Spencer Snow (59), Snow Canyon vs. Carbon, Football, St. George, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Snow Canyon’s Spencer Snow (59), Snow Canyon vs. Carbon, Football, St. George, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The win was a critical one for Snow Canyon after blowing leads in the first two games of the year.

“It was really important, to get that W under our belt and feel it and experience the win,” Snow said. “There’s a lot of good words you could use, but I’ll just say this was very important.”

Many feet got to dance in the end zone for the Warriors after scoring TDs, including those of Chris Poulsen, Tyson Deland, Britton Webster (twice), Andy Day, Alex Kennedy and Staheli.

Snow Canyon improves to 1-2 on the season and will try to keep it going on the road with a trip to face the Ogden Tigers, who are 0-3 after a 35-21 loss to Ben Lomond Friday night.

Stats: carsc9216

Pine View 24, Manti 7
Written by Darren Cole

The Mpungi name got called by the announcer several times in Manti Friday night.

Jacob Mpungi was busy collecting nearly 200 yards rushing and scoring two touchdowns while brother D’Angelo was making tackles and getting a key interception to stop the Manti offense.

pine-view-logo“Both players played extremely well tonight,” said Panther defensive coordinator Brett Gifford. “Both made big plays at crucial times.”

The Templars’ Kolby Olsen scored first on a 14-yard run. The score ended a sustained 50-yard drive.

“Their offense took some time to adjust to,” Gifford said. “They run a fly option. It is not an offense you see often. Once we made some adjustments, our defense shut them down.”

Pine View's Jacob Mpungi (6), Pine View vs. Uintah, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Pine View’s Jacob Mpungi (6), file photo from Pine View vs. Uintah, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Jacob Mpungi scored the first touchdown for Pine View with a 90-yard run with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter. The teams headed to the locker room tied at 7-7.

On Manti’s first possession of the second half, Panther cornerback D’Angelo Mpungi intercepted Manti quarterback Marshall Dotson’s pass.

“That play was probably the play of the game,” said Gifford. “It deflated their offense and swung momentum in our favor.”

In the third quarter, Panther quarterback Ryan Javines hooked up with Jacob Mpungi for his second touchdown, this time from 23 yards out. Midway through the third, the Panthers had their first lead at 14-7.

In the fourth quarter, Pine View added 10 insurance points. The first three came on a Connor Brooksby field goal from 32 yards. Javines got his second touchdown pass of the night with just over five minutes remaining on a 76-yard catch and run by Hudson Reed.

Pine View nearly doubled the Templars’ yardage output 433-224. The Panthers were a yard shy of 300 on the ground while Javines threw for 134 yards through the air. Jacob Mpungi gained 195 yards on 17 carries, a whopping 11.5 yards per carry.

“Defensively, our middle linebacker Zach Spendlove, stepped up tonight,” said Gifford. “He made plays all over the field.”

Pine View's Tyler Heaton (52) leads the way for Jacob Brann (8), Pine View vs. Uintah, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Pine View’s Tyler Heaton (52) leads the way for Jacob Brann (8), file photo from Pine View vs. Uintah, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

There was a scary moment in the first quarter when Pine View captain and all-league lineman Tyler Heaton was rushed to the hospital after a freak arm injury. Fortunately, it turned out to be a dislocated elbow and doctors were able to pop it back in place. Heaton did not return to the game, but should be back next week, barring any complications.

Javines rushed for 82 yards himself out of the spread and is now 3-0 as a starter for PV after winning the QB job in the last week of fall camp.

Christian Reis and Austin Peterson combined for 13 tackles for the Panther defense.

The Panthers move to 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 105-17.  Next week they will travel to Magna to take on 1-2 Cyprus High School, which beat Copper Hills Friday night.

Manti, which falls to 1-2 on the season, got a 134-yard rushing performance from fly back Mac Stevens.

Stats: pvman9216

Cedar 28, Canyon View 8
Written by Jordan Abel

Last year, crosstown rivals Cedar and Canyon View played in a shootout, with CV taking a 42-41 victory. But the defenses owned the show this year as Cedar won at home 28-8.

cedar-logocanyon-view-logoCanyon View recorded 352 rushing yards alone in last year’s shootout, but Cedar’s coaches were not about to let that happen again.

“I was very pleased with our defense,” Cedar head coach Josh Bennett said. “Our defensive coordinator Mark Esplin and our defensive coaches came up with a great game plan this week, and (the players) executed the game plan. We wanted to come out and stop (CV’s) option, and I thought we did a good job at it. I was very proud of our defense tonight. We felt like if we could dominate the line of scrimmage, we’d give ourselves a chance to win this game, and we did.”

Cedar vs. Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by Jordan Sbel
Cedar vs. Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by Jordan Sbel

Cedar’s defense only allowed 128 yards in the entire game, while Canyon View’s defense was left trying to keep Cedar’s offense out of the end zone on short field situations in the first half. CV’s defense would find its footing in the second half, but at that point it was too late.

Cedar scored first on its second possession of the game when quarterback Mason Fakahua found Braden Garrett wide open on the sideline for an 80 yard catch and run.

“It was awesome; it was fun coming out on top,” Fakahua said. “I have respect for Canyon View. I love those guys, but it was awesome for us coming off the loss.”

The Redmen defense kept their offense in a good field position in the first half by holding CV deep in its own territory. CV only gained 31 total yards the first two quarters (26 rushing, 5 passing).

“We came out here ready to win,” said Daniel Jordan, who assisted on two sacks in the game. “Everybody has been making fun of us for a whole year with that loss, so we wanted to come out here and show them that we rule this town. This is our town. We were prepared to win.”

Cedar vs. Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by Jordan Sbel
Cedar vs. Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by Jordan Sbel

Canyon View’s defense was able to create timely turnovers as they picked Fakahua off at the 1-yard line in the first quarter and recovered two fumbles in the second quarter. But the Falcon offense just couldn’t get anything going against Cedar’s stellar defense.

“Our coach had an awesome scheme, and we tore it up,” said Jade Bulloch, who had three total sacks in the game. “We beat everybody off the line, and we physically beat them. This game means a lot to us, so it was awesome.”

Cedar scored two more touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second quarter. The first was a 7-yard pass from Fakahua to Parker Haynie. The second was a 2-yard rush by Travis Tait.

“We told the team this week that we need to focus on us getting better, not really focusing on the other team,” Bennett said.

Cedar seemed to pick up where it left off and scored on its first possession of the second half on a 37-yard drive capped by another 2-yard rush by Tait. But CV’s defense would only allow 62 yards the rest of the game.

The Falcons finally scored early in the fourth quarter on a 39-yard pass from Stockton Rigby to Abraham Huxford, but a four-minute drive by Cedar ended all hopes of a fourth-quarter comeback.

“Our game plan was to come in here and defend our land like they did last year,” Fakahua said. “We used last year as motivation, but it was a heck of a game.”

Cedar, 2-1, will host Juab next Friday at 7 p.m. Canyon View will continue looking for its first win as it hosts Dixie on Friday at 7 p.m.

“This is our home; this is our field, and we plan on coming out here and getting a win,” Jordan said.

Bulloch said: “We want to shut people out. We want to prove that we don’t have a weak defense. We want to be the best.”

Desert Hills 27, Foothill 0
Written by Darren Cole

In Henderson, Nev., Desert Hills knew it was in for a much tougher game than last season’s 50-6 whitewash of the Falcons.

With Foothill returning eight starters on offense, including four of five on the offensive line, this figured to be a closer game and it was. But what hasn’t changed is the Falcons’ inability to move the ball on a stout DH defense.

dhthunder“Our defensive front seven played outstanding,” said DH head coach Carl Franke. “They ran the hurry-up spread and our front seven stopped the run and put pressure on their quarterback all night. Our backfield took away the big play over the top. It was a great group effort from our defense.”

Foothill managed just 116 yards in the game, with the vaunted running back duo of Blake Wilson and Jordan Wilson picking up just 47 yards on 24 carries, less than two yards a tote. Still, it took awhile for the Thunder offense to seize control of the contest.

“Their defense keyed on our run game,” Franke said. “And they were successful. We had to adapt and went to the air more than we usually do. And Quinn Kiser made big plays scrambling when the receivers were covered.”

Quinn Kiser returns an interception during last year's Desert Hills-Foothill game. | File photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News
Quinn Kiser returns an interception during last year’s Desert Hills-Foothill game. | File photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

Kiser threw three touchdown passes. His first went to Marco Jordan with two minutes remaining in the first half. The Logan Callister PAT put Desert Hills up 7-0 going into halftime.

“Our offense sputtered at times,” said Franke. “Especially early. But once we adjusted to their focus on our run game, we began to move the ball.”

The Thunder opened up the scoring in the second half with a Kiser screen pass to Noah Sewell from 4-yards out. Four minutes later, Kiser got his final touchdown pass with a 6-yard strike to Kobe Sattiewhite. With two minutes left in the third, the score was 20-0.

Midway through the fourth, the Thunder tacked on seven more insurance points on a 1-yard dive by Jordan for his second touchdown of the night.

Desert Hills’ Logan Hokanson (23), Desert Hills vs. Salem Hills, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Desert Hills’ Logan Hokanson (23), Desert Hills vs. Salem Hills, Football, St. George, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Desert Hills outgained Foothill 331-116 yards.

Kiser completed 17 of 28 for 222 yards. Logan Hokanson led the Thunder with 78 yards on three catches. Bo Barben and Jordan had 43 and 42 yards receiving, respectively. Brock Parry had 57 yards rushing on eight carries.

Preseason co-player of the year Nephi Sewell has yet to play this season.

“We anticipate that he will play next week,” said Franke. “We probably won’t need him, but we want him to get some game-speed action.”

The Thunder will travel to 1-2 Grantsville next week. The Cowboys fell Friday night 35-0 to Stansbury.

Desert Hills moves to 2-1 with the win. The Falcons fall to 1-1.

Alta 35, Dixie 14
Written by AJ Griffin

In Sandy, the Alta Hawks shook off a lousy first half performance and dropped 35-unanswered second-half points on Dixie High School to come away with a 35-14 victory Friday at Alta High School.

dixie-logoAlta, which turned the ball over twice on downs, and two more times via interception and fumble in the first half, went into the halftime break down 7-0 to the Flyers. Dixie’s first half TD came after tailback Ammon Ah Quin capped a nifty second half drive from 4-yards out.

DHS came out of the locker room and, on the first offensive play of the second half, took advantage of a blown coverage with QB Jacob Barben finding Hobbs Nyberg wide open for an 80-yard touchdown. After a horrible Alta performance in the first half and what looked to be a potentially early knockout-punch of a long touchdown, it seemed 3AA Dixie would upset bigger, badder 4A Alta.

Alas, the strength and maturity of bigger Alta helped lead them on a furious comeback.

Jacob Barben passes for Dixie, Dixie at Alta, Sandy, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin
Jacob Barben passes for Dixie, Dixie at Alta, Sandy, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin

“We had a miscommunication on our coverage,” Alta head coach Alema T’eo said. “So our safety was out of position. But, those things happen and our kids didn’t get down. Dixie took it to us pretty good down there, but tonight was our night and so our kids were not going to be denied. We played through it and we got stronger as the game went on.”

Alta signal-caller Will Dana added that learning from early mistakes was key in winning the game against Dixie.

“We always say be ‘Right here, right now,’” Dana said. “So if you make a mistake, the most important thing is the next play. So I threw an interception and Josh (Davis) had a couple fumbles, but we both said ‘Right here, right now.’”

Dixie at Alta, Sandy, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin, St. George News
Magalei Stevenson makes a play for the Flyers, Dixie at Alta, Sandy, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin, St. George News

Alta’s fortune changed quickly as the offense started to gel. Alta took the ensuing possession to the house to end Dixie’s shutout bid. AHS scored in just four plays when Dana found wideout London Rockwood open in right corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. Dixie was stopped on the very next possession on three plays and Alta responded as tailback Josh Davis needed just one play to break loose on a 56-yard TD scamper.

Dixie again went 3-and-out, but appeared poised to mount a counter-offensive of its own as the Flyers forced a fumble on Alta at the Flyer 10-yard line. At the end of three quarters, Dixie had the ball, tied at 14-14 with the Hawks.

But the fourth quarter was all Alta.

“We are young,” Flyer head coach Andy Stokes said. “We have never been up this year and we got up and I think the kids got a little scared. We got a little tight and when you get a little tight, bad things happen. We are learning to get better in all facets of the game and being able to close a team out is an important facet of the game and we don’t have the ability to do that right now.”

Early in the fourth quarter, Dixie was forced to punt. An uncharacteristically bad shank from Dixie’s punter (who had previously pinned Alta inside the 1-, 2- and 7-yard line) set up Alta with great field position. The Hawks drove the short field and set up Dana, who connected with Zach Engstrom from 14-yards out on a perfectly executed fade play, which Engstrom reeled in one-handed, over his back right shoulder.

Dixie at Alta, Sandy, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin, St. George News
Dixie at Alta, Sandy, Utah, Sept. 2, 2016 | Photo by AJ Griffin, St. George News

Poor Dixie suffered yet another 3-and-out,which set up Alta’s red-hot offense with good field position. the Hawks drove down the field and Dana found Mata Hola on a play-action roll-out from 2-yards out. The final dagger came when Davis whipped off another 50-yard run to put Alta up 35-14 with just under three minutes to go.

“When our offense can put it together, I tell you what, there is not a lot of people that can stop us,” Te’o said. “We came out and shot ourselves in the foot and had some turnovers and some minor miscues, but our kids came out resilient in the second half and executed the way we wanted them to. The effort they put forth tonight is second to none.”

Despite the discouraging outcome, Stokes said his Flyers have a lot of good positives to take home after this week’s loss.

“What you saw in the first half is what we are capable of,” Stokes said. “But, also what you saw in the second half is what we are capable of. Our youth speaks loudly there and we just froze up. The team has great potential. We are just figuring it out one step at a time. And unfortunately, we are figuring it out against some of the best teams in the state.”

T’eo added that Dixie is capable of competing with anyone in the state.

“I am telling you right now, Dixie is no joke,” he said. “I have got a lot of respect for them and they don’t win state championships for nothing. That is a great football program. We are on it to play those guys. Dixie can play in any region here in the Salt Lake Valley and be successful. That’s the way I see it.”

With the win over Dixie, the Alta Hawks improved to 3-0 and will face Timpview next week. Dixie, which has played bigger 4A and 5A teams for the last three weeks, drops to 0-3 on the season. The Flyers will play at 0-3 Canyon View next week.

Moapa Valley 25, Hurricane 15
Written by Bob Hudson

In Overton, Nev., Jacob Leavitt rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns as Moapa Valley defeated Hurricane 25-14 3on Friday night. Leavitt also had 68 yards receiving and a score for the Pirates.

Moapa had 342 yards total offense while limiting Hurricane to 228 yards.

hurricane-logo“The difference was they made the big plays and we didn’t,” said Hurricane coach Steve Pearson. “Execution on their side tonight made a big difference.”

Daxton Longman led Moapa with six completions for 146 yards. Two long passes set up a pair of Leavitt’s touchdowns.

Hurricane went 57 yards in 13 plays to score its first touchdown. Jaron Cordova went the final two yards and Trevor Stackhouse added the point-after.

Moapa scored twice in the second quarter, on runs of 2 and 6 yards from Leavitt to lead 13-7 at the half. The Pirates picked up their first touchdown after Longman completed a 65-yard pass to Dalton Wolfley, who finished with three catches for 90 yards.

Moapa added a TD in the third quarter on a halfback pass and Longman ran one yard for Moapa’s final score. Josh Parker completed a 30-yard pass to Joe Armijo  for the final Tigers’ final points.

File photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
File photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

“Josh Parker made a lot of things happen,” Pearson said. “And Riley Ballard had some nice catches, as he always does.

“On the defensive side of the ball, Mike Lacy had an interception that he returned 30 yards. That could have turned us around, but we fizzled out.”

Parker completed 11 of 28 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. He threw three interceptions. Ballard had seven catches for 59 yards. Cordova rushed 11 times for 53 yards and Parker rushed 11 times for 29 yards.

Quando Ieremia
Quando Ieremia

Defensively Quando Ieremia had seven tackles and Adam Heyrend had six.

Along with four turnovers, the Tigers also gave up the pigskin four times on failed fourth down conversions. HHS was a combined 5 of 18 on third and fourth downs in the game.

‘It’s time to regroup, get back on the bus and try to be improved as a team,” Pearson said.

The Tigers (1-2) will be at 0-3 Carbon on Sept. 9.

Stats: hurmoa9216

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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