Region 9 football: Snow Canyon avenges 2016 playoff loss

ST GEORGE — Revenge was served ice cold – or maybe red hot – Friday night at Warriors Stadium.

Snow Canyon scored 30 unanswered points to defeat the Ridgeline Riverwolves 30-10 at Warrior Stadium on a toasty night in southern Utah, getting revenge for a 29-0 loss in last year’s 3AA playoffs.

“It mattered to us because that loss was tough,” Snow Canyon head coach Mike Esplin said. “It was nice to come back and turn the tables.

“We were unhappy with how many penalties we had tonight. Luckily we played really well at every position, outside of those penalties and a couple big defensive breakdowns. We’ll take the win, absolutely. (We are) still proud of the guys.”

Snow Canyon’s Toshfatafehi Alexander Wright (28), Snow Canyon vs. Ridgeline, Football, St. George, UT, Aug. 25, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

In all, the Warriors had 12 penalties for 85 yards, most of which came off of personal fouls. The Riverwolves were penalized five times for 50 yards.

Ridgeline started the scoring in the first quarter, when quarterback Breck Jackson connected with Sam Weda deep down the right side of the field for an 82-yard touchdown with 7:45 left in the first quarter.

Carter Murdock added a field goal later in the quarter to make it 10-0.

But just three plays later, Warriors running back Ryan Bethers found a hole up the middle and ran in for a 56-yard touchdown.

“I think I got pretty lucky today,” said Bethers, “But I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the offensive line. They’re the whole reason I scored.”

Kicker Andrew Day added a field goal in the second quarter to tie the game with 7:26 left before halftime.

The Warriors defense forced the Riverwolves into a three-and-out. Then the offense went on an eight-play, 71-yard drive, capped off by a 2-yard touchdown by Bethers. Snow Canyon took that 17-10 lead into halftime.

Snow Canyon’s Brooks Sampson (35), Snow Canyon vs. Ridgeline, Football, St. George, UT, Aug. 25, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

On the first possession of the second half for the Warriors, first-year quarterback Austin Staheli found Brooks Sampson deep down the field for a 48-yard touchdown. Staheli finished 6 for 14 with 97 yards and one touchdown.

“He was (really) consistent,” Esplin said. “He did a good job of controlling the offense and getting the yards that we needed.”

The Warriors led 24-10.

The Riverwolves started their first possession of the fourth quarter on their own 10-yard line. Jackson attempted a pass to the left side of the field, but Warrior defensive back Brock Nowatzke stepped in front of the intended receiver and sprinted 21 yards for a pick-six, all but ending any hopes of a Ridgeline comeback.

SC outgained Ridgeline 311-240, with Bethers racking up 76 yards on five carries. The Warriors had 217 rushing yards and averaged 5.7 yards per play.

Snow Canyon, 2-0, will play next week against Las Vegas High School at Warrior Stadium for Homecoming Night at 7 p.m. Ridgeline is 0-2.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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