ST. GEORGE – The defenses ruled after halftime, especially for the Desert Hills Thunder, who shutout Snow Canyon after intermission in a 28-14 win Friday night at Thunder Stadium.
After a touchdown late in the first half gave the Thunder a 21-14 advantage, both teams buckled down in the second half to keep the offenses out of the end zone. Desert Hills would add a TD late in the game with a minute remaining on a Brock Parry 13-yard run to get to the final 28-14 tally.
“It was bend, but don’t break tonight,” said Desert Hills head coach Carl Franke. “Not ideally how we want to play, but the defense came up with some big turnovers to keep them out of the end zone.”
Snow Canyon would gather momentum on a few drives in the second half. The Warriors were in the red zone twice to get the tying score. But three second half turnovers and a missed FG kept Snow Canyon off the scoreboard in the second half.
The game initially went the Warriors’ way. After Desert Hills fumbled on its first play of the game, Snow Canyon took immediate advantage, driving 23 yards and scoring on a pass from quarterback Matt Kitchen to Zach Nowatzke.
Desert Hills countered on its next possession when Nephi Sewell scored on a 38-yard run on a fourth and short play.
The Thunder grabbed their first lead in the second quarter when quarterback Quinn Kiser found Logan Hokanson on a 12-yard pass. On Snow Canyon’s ensuing possession, Kitchen drove the Warriors 80 yards for the tying score. Kitchen corralled a high snap and raced to the left for the 1-yard TD run.
As the clock was winding down on Desert Hills last possession of the half, Sewell ripped off a 64-yard run to the Warrior 28-yard line. Six plays later, Kiser found Marco Jordan from 5-yards out for the score to put Desert Hills up 21-14 going into the locker rooms.
For the game, Desert Hills outgained the Warriors 349-261, but more importantly, won the turnover battle 5-2. Individually, Sewell had 163 yards on 17 carries. Hokanson had 81 yards on seven receptions.
With the win, Desert Hills finishes with an overall record of 7-2 and second in region at 4-1. Snow Canyon drops to 1-4 in region and 3-6 overall.
The Thunder get a bye in the first round of the playoffs and will await the winner of Ridgeline-Snow Canyon. The Warriors and RiverHawks play next Friday at 4 p.m. (though the time may change). Ridgeline, a first-year school just south of Logan, is the No. 3 seed from the 3AA North, going 7-3 overall and 5-2 in region.
Snow Canyon lost both coin tosses Friday night to get stuck with the No. 6 seed. However, the Warriors were the six seed last season and defeated Desert Hills in the quarterfinals to earn a trip to the semis in Rice-Eccles Stadium against eventual champion Logan.
For more on this game and the rest of the 3AA South Friday night lights, including video, photos, quotes, stats and insight, go to Saturday Breakdown on St. George News Saturday morning.
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