Region 9 football: Defense rules the night in Cedar as Bulldogs edge Redmen

Cedar vs. Desert Hills, Football, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 16, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — With the Cedar Redmen looking to turn this season into something special, they opened the season with a nail biter against the Provo Bulldogs. Unfortunately, the Redmen were on the wrong side of the scoreboard, losing 13-6 on Friday night at Redmen Stadium.

“We try not to put a lot of stock in the first game,” said Cedar head coach Josh Bennett. “But we looked really good defensively.”

Defense was the story of the first half, as each team could only muster six points. The Bulldogs had a nice run from Bryce Orton from 25 yards out for a touchdown, while Luke Maggio provided the scoring for the Redmen. His 1-yard dive in the second quarter tied the game, but would turn out to be the only score of the night.

“Luke had a really good game for us,” Bennett said. “Defensively, he had around three pass break ups. Offensively, he easily had over 100 all-purpose yards. A good portion of our game plan runs through him.”

Cedar’s Luke Maggio (8), file photo from Cedar vs. Desert Hills, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 16, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Provo was able to take the lead for good in the third quarter when Braiden Lovell connected with Nick Stoddard for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The Redmen had a chance when they called a fake punt late in the fourth quarter, but Trent Maurer was only able to get back to the line of scrimmage before being brought down. Cedar fumbled the ball on its next possession, ending all hope of completing the upset.

“We are constantly looking for improvement,” said Bennett. “We take it one game at a time. We do need to get better offensively. We had to have had at least 300 yards rushing and only scored six points. Mistakes held our offense back a lot.”

The Redmen were hoping to chew away at the clock, and did so on one drive that was 17 plays long.

“Our game plan right now is to slow the game down and chew up the clock,” Bennett said.

He also said that his team played one of the better defensive Provo teams that he has seen. Despite the Redmen racking up 300 yards of rushing offense, the Bulldogs were able to keep them out of the end zone enough and keep the big plays to a minimum.

Bennett also had high praise for his players: “We have a great running game because we have a great offensive line and a few really good running backs.”

With no region implications attached to this game, the Redmen still eye for that Region 9 title.

“Experience will help. It’s just the mistakes that we have to fix. That’s what held our offense back,” Bennett said.

The Redmen will travel to Nephi next Friday to take on Juab High School at 7 p.m. before visiting North Sanpete on Sept. 1. Cedar open Region 9 play Sept. 8 with a road game across town against Canyon View.

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