The 3AA South went 6-0 Friday night, thanks in large part to some stellar defense. Two of the southern Utah teams (Desert Hills and Hurricane) held their opponents scoreless, while Cedar allowed just a single score and Pine View gave up just two TDs.
The other two 3AA South victors, Snow Canyon and Dixie, looked more to offense to get the job done.
But however it was done, the bottom line was this: The 3AA South dominated in Week 4, outscoring opponents by a collective 247-66 in six contests (average score — 41-11).
Sports writers Jordan Abel, Darren Cole, Bob Hudson and Andy Griffin covered the region Friday night, with photographer Robert Hoppie and videographer Dallas Griffin bringing us the art. Here’s our report:
Dixie 42, Canyon View 28
Written by Andy Griffin
Most of the region was in northern Utah, so Dixie must have been feeling fortunate to only be 50 miles or so from home on the final week of the non-conference schedule. But it was the Canyon View Falcons that made them feel uncomfortable, at least for awhile.
Dixie used the crisp passing of Jacob Barben — and withstood the hard running of Canyon View’s Isaiah Shearer — to fly past the Falcons in a game that was much closer than some people thought it would be.
“Canyon View’s a good team, they played hard,” said Dixie defensive lineman Tyson Fisher. “We definitely had to change some things and they’ve got a very good running back.”
Shearer had 172 yards on the night, but was limited to just 28 of those after some halftime adjustments were made by Dixie defensive coordinator Wayne Alofipo.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime and the second half was much better,” Fisher said.
One big thing Dixie was able to do was stack more men in the box so the Falcons would have to go the air, rather than rely on the run game. And the Falcons struggled in the passing game. In fact, only one pass play worked for any notable yardage all game, and it was a halfback pass by Canyon View’s Brady Lowry.
But the key moments in the game came late in the first half. Behind Shearer and quarterback Stockton Rigby, the Falcons had taken three separate leads in the first half (8-0, 14-7 and 20-14). But junior Barben lit a fire late in the half. He directed an 8-play, 89-yard drive, hooking up with Hobbs Nyberg from 44 yards out, to give Dixie its first lead at 21-20 with 1:20 to go in the half.
After forcing a Canyon View punt and using its timeouts judiciously, Dixie took over at its own 39 with 36 seconds left until halftime. That’s when Barben found Josh Topham for two straight completions worth all 61 yards. Topham scored on the second catch with four seconds left in the half to put Dixie ahead 28-20.
“We made some plays late in the first half,” Barben said. “But I feel like we still didn’t play up to our potential. We still have a lot of room for improvement.”
The teams traded punts to start the third quarter and then Dixie started to pull away. Barben capped a 9-play, 87-yard drive with a 9-yard option pitch to Nyberg for a TD, making it 35-20 with 6:15 left in the third quarter.
After another exchange of punts, Barben took one in for himself from 7-yards out, making it 42-20. That was the cherry on a 61-yard drive that took 12 plays and five minutes of clock time and put Dixie firmly in control with 8:52 left in the game.
“We’re still learning how to win,” Nyberg said. “We slowed down a little bit when we got up in the fourth quarter. We maybe got a little tired. And we also missed some little things, dropping passes or missing some blocks. But I think we’re mostly ready for region play.”
Dixie gained a bunch of yards in the game, with Barben hitting on 21 of 34 passes for 247 yards and three scores. He also rushed for 39 yards and two more TDs, while Nyberg had 67 rushing yards and 103 receiving yards and scored three times. All-totaled, Dixie gained 434 yards and picked up 26 first downs.
The Falcons had 312 yards, with Shearer (172 yards) and tight end Porter Miller (102 yards receiving) accounting for the bulk.
Dixie, 1-3, has gained at least 350 yards in every game this season, despite the 0-3 start. The Flyers begin region next week at Pine View and visit Cedar on Sept. 23. Dixie finally makes its way home for a Sept. 30 matchup with Desert Hills.
Canyon View, 0-4, plays at 3A South foe Manti next Friday.
Desert Hills 50, Grantsville 0
Written by Darren Cole
In Grantsville, the Thunder had an inspiring reunion of sorts. Nephi Sewell returned to action for the first time since breaking his neck in the first game of the 2015 season and missing his entire junior season. He was set to return at the start of this season, but broke his wrist and missed the first three weeks of 2016 as well.
It also helped that the Thunder were playing a pretty bad Grantsville team, which provided the perfect scenario for Sewell and Hoppie to return triumphantly.
“It is great to get those two guys back,” said Desert Hills head coach Carl Franke. “Nephi is a dominant player. He is dangerous every time he touches the ball. Ryan Hoppie was in on about 10 tackles tonight defensively. Six or seven of those were solo.”
On the Thunder’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Quinn Kiser found Nephi Sewell across the middle for a 51-yard touchdown. The senior’s first touch in nearly two years was golden.
Meanwhile, Hoppie led the defense with 10 total tackles, seven of them solo. He also had an interception in his return to the lineup.
The carnage did not end there. Desert Hills scored 19 in the first quarter and added 24 more in the second to go up 43-0. “We executed offensively,” said Franke. “It seemed that no matter what we called, the offense performed perfectly. We definitely ran the ball better than we have all year.”
The Thunder outgained Grantsville 610-145 yards. Kiser completed 7 of 12 passes for 237 yards. Logan Hokanson caught two passes for 77 yards. Brock Parry had 102 yards on the ground on only seven carries.
Both sides of the ball were dominated up front by the Thunder lineman, led by all-world performer Penei Sewell. The Thunder offense averaged over 14 yards per play. Each player that traveled got to play. With a 43-0 halftime advantage, Franke pulled the starters midway through the third quarter.
“Our offensive line and defensive front seven dominated tonight,” said Franke. “Overall it was a great team effort.”
Desert Hills has won three in a row after the opening-day loss to Jordan. The Thunder begin region play, traveling to Cedar, next week. Grantsville falls to 0-4.
Cedar 33, Juab 6
Written by Jordan Abel
After a defensive struggle in the first half, Cedar exploded in the second half, scoring on all of its drives to take the 33-6 win over Juab.
“We had some senior captains that stood up and said, ‘Hey, we’re better than this,'” Bennett said. “We came out that second half and (the team) responded to that challenge from some of our captains: Jade Bulloch and Mason Fakahua.”
The defense had only allowed 78 total yards by halftime, so it was the offense that the captains thought could play better.
“I thought we had another great defensive effort,” Bennett said. “Our defensive coaches put together a good game plan, and the kids bought into it and came out and executed it, so defense is playing well.”
The first touchdown for the Redmen came on an eight minute, 14-play and 85-yard drive for a touchdown capped off by a four-yard run by Mason Fakahua. The snap was botched on the extra point attempt, leaving the score at 6-0.
“That was all coach Bennett’s play-calling,” Fakahua said. “(We wanted to) waste time and get out of some situations; great play calling.”
Cedar worked the clock again in the first drive of the second half by taking six minutes off the clock while scoring on another 4-yard rush by Fakahua.
“I knew if I would go to Jade, he would help me wake up the team, and he did that,” Fakahua said. “We told the team we needed to have a better second half. I would say that showed. Our offensive line came out.”
After getting the ball back, Fakahua would once again find the end zone on the ground. This touchdown came from 56-yards out.
For his fourth rushing touchdown of the night, Fakahua ran from 38 yards for the score.
“I thought, offensively in the second half, we started to pick up and grow and get better,” Bennett said. “It was fun to watch.”
Cedar’s Quaid Murray recovered a fumble on the next play from scrimmage. This time though, Fakahua would go to the air for the touchdown. Drake Lewis caught a 15-yard pass for the final Cedar touchdown.
Juab would score with 1:34 left in the game, ending Cedar’s chance at a shutout. Juab’s Joey Aagard rushed for 3 yards and the score.
Cedar only allowed 210 yards in the game, a stout defensive effort heading into region play.
“I thought overall, our defense stepped up,” linebacker Bailey Gray said. “I’m really proud of our defense. Our line really made Jade and I look good. Every time that they kicked Jade and I out, our linemen stepped up and made those plays. I think it’s really awesome that we have that camaraderie and brotherhood.”
Fakahua finished the game with 175 rushing yards, 64 passing yards and five total touchdowns.
“We finished, that was the goal,” Fakahua said. “Big thanks to the defense. They came out showing up again. Big thanks to our offensive line. Without them, we wouldn’t have had the score that we had on the board, so thanks to them.”
Next week, Desert Hills (3-1) visits Cedar (also 3-1) to begin region play Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“I think we’ve got one of the better teams in the whole state coming in,” Bennett said. “So, our challenge this week is we’ve got to get better and improve on things that we need to fix and be ready to go next Friday. Obviously, it’s a new season starting tomorrow. We go (back to) 0-0 and these are the games that start counting toward state.”
Pine View 49, Cyprus 12
Written by Darren Cole
The Panthers, a mystery to many heading into the season, picked up their fourth win in as many tries in the preseason. And they’re doing it with guys most fans had never heard of a month or so ago. Ryan Javines had a stellar day and Jacob Mpungi, making his second start as the feature running back for PV, was spectacular in the blowout of the Pirates.
Pine View scored on five of its first seven possessions. The score was quickly 14-0 on a Javines 5-yard keeper and later a touchdown pass from Javines to Michael Moten. “(Michael) Moten does what he does,” said Panther head coach Ray Hosner. “He caught the ball and made a ton of people miss.”
Cyprus got a glimmer of hope when Soujah Gasu returned a kickoff for 97 yards to end the first down just 14-6.
“(Gasu) has some talent,” said Hosner. “We had decent kickoff coverage, but he broke out and we could not catch him.”
But Pine View would score twice more in the first two minutes of the second. The first came on a Mpungi run from 29-yards out. After that score, the Panthers kicked an onside kick and recovered the ball.
“We did not want to kick to (Gasu) again,” said Hosner “We were able to recover the ball.”
On the ensuing drive, Javines found Lance Mandrigues with a 46-yard touchdown strike. “Mandrigues caught the ball in stride on a smash route,” said Hosner. “It was a good route and a good throw.”
Cyprus got another touchdown to pull within 28-12, Then came the back-breaker before halftime. Mpungi scored on the next play from scrimmage with a 95-yard run.
“They were expecting us to pass,” said Hosner. “They came on a blitz and Mpungi got through the line, benefited from a couple of downfield blocks and then outran everyone to the end zone.”
Mpungi scored again on the Panthers first possession after halftime on a 13-yard run to make it 42-12. Pine View had their subs in by the end of the third quarter. Backup running back Kyson Certonio added a touchdown for Pine View in the fourth to round out the scoring.
Pine View outgained the Pirates 503-159. Linebackers Zach Spendlove and Christian Reis led the Panthers defense, along with D-lineman Brooks Maile.
“We got tremendous games from our offensive line,” said Hosner. “On the defensive side, Jon Parry and D’Angelo Mpungi played well.”
Pine View, at 4-0, will host Dixie next week to begin region play. Cyprus falls to 1-3.
Hurricane 25, Carbon 0
Written by Bob Hudson
Josh Parker could have played, but the senior signal-caller was benched by the athletic trainer.
Parker, who injured his shoulder back in Week 1, was available to play Friday, but the coaches and trainer Marcus Homer elected to give the QB the night off to let his injury heal and be ready for next week’s region tilt vs. Snow Canyon.
The run-oriented Tigers also rolled up 350 yards on the ground as Jaron Cordova rushed for 144 yards and Kolby Heaton added 112. Cordova had an 84-yard touchdown run. The Tigers other score came on Brandon Stolworthy’s 2-yard run.
“We had a lot of yards tonight, but not a lot of points,” said HHS assistant coach Gordon Dotson. “Penalties were a real problem. We had three touchdowns called back on penalties, plus several other long runs. It felt like we were playing Carbon and the officials.”
With Isaiah Johnson and Mike Lacy leading the way with seven and six tackles respectively, the Tigers limited the Dinos to 133 total yards. Cale Landis and Tobie Swenson had 4 1/2 tackles apiece.
Hurricane opened the scoring with a 75-yard drive with Joe Arimijo’s 24-yard run the big play ahead of Riley Ballard’s touchdown catch.
“Joe is just getting back into football after not playing for several years,” Dotson said. “I felt bad for him because he had three long runs called back, two of them over 50 yards. But he’s just starting to get back and grasp what this is all about. He’s starting to look really good.”
Cordova broke off his 84-yard run just before the end of the second quarter to complete an 89-yard drive.
Hurricane’s third score came in the third quarter when the Tigers marched 56 yards in seven plays with Stolworthy going the final 2 yards. Heaton’s 26-yard run was the big play.
In the fourth quarter Lacy’s 22-yard catch completed a 75-yard drive. The Tigers had a couple of big penalties, but kept chipping away. The other big play was an 18-yard pass from Heyrend to Heaton.
Meanwhile, the Hurricane defense shut the Dinos down. Carbon managed just 133 yards and nine first downs in the game. Carbon had three turnovers, two turnover on downs and four punts.
“Carbon’s not that bad of a team and they worked really hard to stay in it tonight,” Dotson said. “They do some things on offense awfully well, but our defense was very good tonight.”
Though the Tigers had 436 yards, they were not efficient on offense when it counted most. Hurricane was a combined 1 for 10 on third and fourth downs.
Next Friday, HHS hosts Snow Canyon, which they beat a year ago 35-21 at SC. Like the Tigers, Snow Canyon has been inconsistent offensively this season. Both teams played Carbon, with the Warriors beating the Dinos 51-7 at SC.
Snow Canyon 48, Ogden 20
Written by Andy Griffin
It was a night of returns all around the region and it was no different for the Warriors, who welcomed quarterback Matt Kitchen back to the starting lineup.
“He looked crisp,” SC coach Mike Esplin said. “He was throwing the ball well and his legs looked good and the receivers did a nice job of catching the balls, especially on the deep throws.”
Kitchen connected on first-half TD tosses of 29 yards to Tyson Deland in the first quarter, 56 yards to Zack Nowatzke (first quarter), Deland again from 23-yards out (second quarter) and Andrew Day from 29 yards away (second quarter). By halftime, the Warrior lead had ballooned to 41-7 and SC could seemingly do no wrong.
“Everything was clicking on both sides in the first half,” Esplin said. “The team really came out focused and the intensity was there. We had some let down and I’m always looking for improvement from my defense, but when it mattered most, they were there.”
Britton Webster had seven tackles and also 61 rushing yards, tacking on the final Snow Canyon score early in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Chris Poulsen is quietly have a big year for the Warriors at running back, topping the century mark in rushing yards for the second time in four games with his 120 Friday night. His 60-yarder late in the first quarter was a tone-setter for the game.
“Chris ran the ball well and our offensive line played great,” Esplin said. “We definitely had a letdown in the second half. We certainly have things to work on, but there were a lot of positives and we will get to work and try to correct the negatives.”
Kolten Barber is another Warrior who shined. The senior kicker made two field goals and six extra points for 12 total points in the game.
Snow Canyon, at 2-2, will begin the gauntlet that is the 3AA South next Friday with a road game at Hurricane, followed by another roadie against Pine View on Sept. 23. The Warriors then play home dates with Cedar and Dixie before closing out the regular season with a battle at Desert Hills.
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