ST. GEORGE – Desert Hills senior Nephi Sewell, who rushed for 1,262 in just nine games while leading the Thunder to the 2016 state 3AA championship, was named by coaches as the region’s 2016 MVP.
Sewell, who suffered a broken neck in the first game of the 2015 season and then a broken wrist in the 2016 preseason, returned with a vengeance, averaging more than 11 yards per carry and scoring 15 touchdowns as Desert Hills went 10-2 and beat Pine View 28-27 in the 3AA title game.
Dixie’s Hobbs Nyberg, who had 1,809 yards from scrimmage as a receiver, running back and quarterback for the Flyers, was named the region’s offensive player of the year. Nyberg led Dixie to the regular season region title with a 5-0 record.
Pine View’s Tyler Heaton was named the defensive player of the year in the 3AA South. Heaton, who missed several games due to a dislocated elbow, had 59 tackles and 7.5 sacks on the season, including a huge one on the last play of the game for the Panthers in a two-point playoff win at Tooele.
The coaches also honored Pine View kicker Conner Brooksby as the special teams player of the year. Brooksby, just a sophomore, made nine field goals and 51 extra points in the 2016 season.
Dixie placed six players on the 3AA South first team: quarterback Jacob Barben, defensive end Tyson Fisher, lineman Tim Miles, receiver Josh Topham, linebacker Malakai Fakahua and safety Payton Wilgar.
Desert Hills also had six players on the first team: slotback Marco Jordan, lineman Penei Sewell, lineman Bundy Sewell, safety Ryan Hoppie, linebacker Tyler Warner and quarterback Quinn Kiser.
Pine View placed five players on the first team: cornerback Dylan Hendrickson, running back Jacob Mpungi, linebacker Christian Reis, receiver Lance Mandrigue and lineman/linebacker Zach Spendlove.
There were four Cedar Redmen on the first team: quarterback Mason Fakahua, lineman Quaid Murray, linebacker Jade Bulloch and linebacker Bailey Gray.
Hurricane had three players on the first team: quarterback Josh Parker, lineman Quando Ieremia and linebacker Isaiah Johnson.
Snow Canyon placed two players on the all-region team: lineman Wyatt Brinkerhoff and linebacker Britton Webster.
The all-region second team is listed below:
Dixie – Gavyn Begay, Ammon Ah Quin, Tielu Mamea, Kaden Williams, Nate Mahi
Desert Hills – Masan Tuileta, Carter Reynolds, Logan Hokanson, Brock Parry, Houston Stapley, Jake Gould
Pine View – Michael Moten, Ryan Javines, D’Angelo Mpungi, Austin Peterson, Brooks Maile
Cedar – Trenton Maurer, Braden Garrett, Ryder Bearnson, Derek Ball
Hurricane – Tobie Swenson, Mike Lacy, Joe Armijo
Snow Canyon – Kaleb Gates, Kolton Barber
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