ST. GEORGE — Nephi Sewell rushed for 172 yards, most of it in the second half, and the Desert Hills Thunder pulled away for a 51-23 win over the visiting Hurricane Tigers Friday night at Thunder Stadium.
Despite battling cramps in his lower legs, Sewell rushed for 158 yards after intermission, including touchdown jaunts from 30- and 55-yards. The senior running back got those yards on just eight carries in the second half, averaging 19.3 yards per attempt.
“Tonight it was nice to get Nephi in more of a groove,” Thunder coach Carl Franke said. “It’s a different level of play when he’s out there. You see him carry the ball and it’s a different speed, a different explosion. And for some reason, it seems like the kids block so much harder for him as well.”
Sewell is starting to work his way into the three-way player he was before last year’s neck injury sidelined him for the season. He is still playing with a cast on his left arm from a broken wrist he suffered in the offseason.
Using Sewell and a multitude of other weapons (Logan Hokanson, Quinn Kiser, Braxton Porter, Marco Jordan), the Thunder outscored Hurricane 35-16 after halftime.
The Tigers led 7-0 after an early Kiser interception by Mike Lacy set up a Lacy TD reception off a 14-yard pass from Josh Parker.
Desert Hills answered back almost immediately with a Kiser-to-Hokanson 59-yard score, but a bad snap on the extra point left it at 7-6 for Hurricane with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second, Jordan ran a fly sweep in from 31-yards out to make it 13-7 and Logan Callister added a 27-yard field goal before halftime to make it a 16-7 DH advantage at the break.
While the defenses played well in the first half, the offenses owned the second half. It started with a 60-yard drive by the Thunder that included exactly three Sewell runs (of 14, 16 and 30 yards) and made it 23-7 with 10:58 to go in the third.
The Tigers answered when Parker found Lacy on a streak route down the right sideline for a 71-yard TD. With the two-point conversion, it was a one-score game at 23-15 with 7:08 left in the third.
Kiser ran one in from 8-yards out moments later to make it 30-15 and DH added a Kobie Sattiewhite short run as the quarter expired to make it 37-15.
Parker and Lacy hooked up for the third time in the game to cut it to 37-21, but on the next play from scrimmage, Sewell broke a tackle in the backfield and raced 55-yards to put the game away. Hokanson added a 58-yard punt return for the final touchdown of the game.
Desert Hills had 504 yards of offense in the game, including 325 on the ground. Kiser passed for 166 yards, but left the game with “concussion-like symptoms.” Franke said he will be evaluated this week as the Thunder (5-1 overall and 2-0 in region) prepare for a road game at Dixie.
Hurricane had 213 yards and was forced to punt seven times. The Tigers were also 0 for 2 on fourth downs. Lacy was a bright spot with three TD catches and 105 yards. Hurricane, 3-3 and 1-1, plays at home against Pine View next Friday night.
For more on this game and the rest of the 3AA South Friday night lights, including photos, quotes, stats and insight, go to Saturday Breakdown on St. George News.
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