CEDAR CITY – With a dynamic running back, a play-making slotback and a pinpoint quarterback, it seems there is no stopping the Pine View offense lately.
The Panthers racked up more than 500 yards and overcame a 14-0 deficit to beat Dixie 35-14 and earn their way into next week’s 3AA state championship game.
A palpable momentum shift came late in the first half. With Dixie leading 14-0, the Panthers got a 24-yard punt return from Michael Moten. Ryan Javines then completed four consecutive passes on a short drive that ended with a short TD run by the quarterback. It came with 12 seconds left in the half and cut the Dixie advantage to 14-7 at intermission.
Pine View then used the momentum gained and headed out after halftime and dominated the Flyers on both sides of the ball. At the half, Dixie had outgained Pine View 186-118. But in the second half, the Panthers had a huge 384-94 advantage in yards gained.
“We just needed that little bit of momentum and as soon as we got it, we just couldn’t stop,” said PV tight end Daniel Larsen. “Our line started blocking better and we just started taking over.”
Pine View started it with a three-play, 75-yard drive as Javines stepped up in the pocket and hit a streaking Lance Mandrigues with a 72-yard score to tie the game with 11:03 to go in the third.
“He’s just a great quarterback,” Panther wide receiver Lance Mandrigues said. “From the beginning of the year, I knew he was going to be great. He took all the hits and stayed in there and delivered the ball.”
After a Dixie punt, Javines and Mandrigues hooked up again for a long score.
This time it was up the left sideline and had a twist — the ball was slightly underthrown and a Dixie defensive back jumped up and got a piece of the deep pass. But Mandrigues was unfazed and caught the tipped ball and sprinted into the end zone with a 69-yard touchdown. That made it 21-14 with 7:36 left in the third.
“I looked up and and I saw the defensive back try to make a play on the ball,” Mandrigues said. “But it just happened. He touched it and then it landed in my arms. It just worked out for me.”
Later in the third quarter, Pine View got its third TD pass from Javines when he executed a perfect play-action fake to running back Jacob Mpungi and found Carson Clark on a fly pattern down the right sideline to make it 28-14 with 2:37 to go in the quarter.
“We went into halftime with the momentum and we were able to keep it up and carry it all through the rest of the game,” Javines said. “Big mo, big momentum is real.”
In the fourth quarter, Pine View climbed aboard the Mpungi train and rode their senior running back to paydirt. On their final scoring drive, the Panthers turned to Jacob Mpungi on 9 of 12 plays, with the speedster gaining 44 yards on the drive. Javines faked to Mpungi and capped the drive with a 2-yard run to push the lead to 35-14 with 7:54 to go in the game.
Dixie only got the ball past the 50-yard line once the entire second half. The Flyers were able to drive to the Panther 10 with under five minutes to play, but Nate Mahi was sacked on fourth down to end the threat.
Mahi had connected with Josh Topham on a 33-yard TD in the second quarter, but the sophomore quarterback, playing for the injured Jacob Barben, couldn’t get the offense untracked after halftime.
Javines passed for 274 yards on 15 of 24 passing, while Mpungi finished with 204 rushing yards on 38 carries (5.4 yards per carry) and Mandrigues led PV with six catches for 160 yards.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Pine View against the Flyers and more importantly, puts Pine View into Friday’s 3AA championship game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
“When we lost to Dixie in the semifinals two years ago at Rice-Eccles, we said to ourselves that we were going to be back here,” Heaton said. “I’m so happy that we get to go back there and I get to share it with all my brothers.”
Pine View will play another nemesis, Desert Hills, in the title game, which is Friday at 11 a.m. The Panthers have lost four in a row to the Thunder, dating back to Desert Hills’ 27-21 2013 state title game victory in which Landon Broadhead scored on the last play of the game to give the Thunder the win.
Dixie, which had its seven-game winning streak snapped, will end the year with a 7-4 record.
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