ST. GEORGE – Just enough holes were found in the Pirate defense as the Panthers of Pine View High School held onto a 42-31 victory at Panther Stadium Friday night in the final non-region game of the regular season for PV.
Players, coaches and fans of the home team were forced to hold their breath as the Panther 35-3 lead dwindled to 11 halfway through the fourth quarter. Pine View, for the majority of the game, had controlled both sides of the ball.
The defense had forced the Pirates to do nothing but punt for the bulk of its offensive possessions. The Panther offense could run and throw at will. Gaps, as far as the naked-eye could see, were found in the Cyprus High School secondary. Panther nation had felt little to no stress as the game approached its final quarter of play. Yet, the Pirates weren’t going to go down without a fight.
“We got up big, but then we kind of let off the gas,” Panther assistant coach Ben Meier said. “We should have kept going a little bit better there [toward] the end of the third and fourth quarters. We kind of let things get out of hand on us and let Cyprus kind of creep back in on that game. In the end, it is how you finish a game [and we’re] proud of the guys and how they finished.”
Cyprus, with a little over seven minutes to play, found themselves in a two-possession game. This was unfamiliar territory to both the Pirates and Panthers since early in the first half. After the Panthers tacked on two touchdowns to their 21-3 halftime lead, the Pirates returned the favor as it scored two offensive touchdowns and one defensive – a forced fumble that was created, recovered and returned by Cyprus strong safety Alex Lanktree from 44 yards out – to go on a 21-0 run.
“That can be a perception that we get up big and let off the gas,” Meier said. “Things like that happen where the ball starts going their way or they pick up some momentum and start scoring. We just have to do what we do consistently.”
With nearly 6 1/2 minutes to go, Pine View wideout Gavin Bateman found the football in his hands for a 79-yard TD pass from quarterback Ryan Javines after the ball bounced off the trailing defender’s chest – a missed opportunity if there ever was one for a Pirate comeback. As the ball sailed through the uprights, the Panther faithful could finally breathe as its team resisted any sort of miraculous comeback as it took a 42-24 lead.
Though both teams had the ball for the same amount of time on the offensive end, Javines and company clearly looked better. Pine View drew up 436 yards of total offense. Javines went 16 for 25 through the air for 234 yards with two TDs. Javines also found himself as the team’s second leading rusher as he ran for 81 yards on 13 tries.
Panther running back Jacob Mpungi also contributed to the offensive load by carrying the ball 21 times during the game for a total of 103 yards – the third time Mpungi has passed the century mark this season. He’s also rushed in nine TDs on the year, including two on Friday night.
“Honestly, we are just trying to establish the run game and just show these guys that we can run,” Mpungi said. “They are a power team [and] we wanted to come back with power and wanted to power them, too.”
If there is one thing the Panther coaching staff may look at, it could be the 12 penalties Pine View gave up for 130 yards. It seemed as if each big play was thwarted and brought back due to not having the capability to keep the yellow flags from flying. Even though the Panther defense allowed 341 yards of total offense, its ability to force the two turnovers was essential in the Pine View victory, especially the interception late in the game by cornerback Samson Doyle.
“You’ve got to stay mentally tough,” Doyle said. “In those [instances], that is where the true players are shown and everything you really got. You just got to dig in those situations.”
After starting the season 3-1, Pine View looks to start region play off on the right foot as they travel to Snow Canyon next week. The game will take place on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Warrior Stadium. The Panthers beat the Warriors 13-7 last year and 8-6 in triple overtime two years ago.
Box score: Pine View – Box Score Report – 9_9_2017
Desert Hills 28, Hurricane 3
Dixie 13, Snow Canyon 10
Cedar 19, Canyon View 10
Pine View 42, Cyprus 31
Next week’s games
Hurricane at Canyon View
Desert Hills at Cedar
Pine View at Snow Canyon
Dixie at Madison (Calif.)
Region 9 Standings (Region, overall)
Dixie 1-0, 4-0
Desert Hills 1-0, 2-2
Cedar 1-0, 2-2
Pine View 0-0, 3-1
Snow Canyon 0-1, 3-1
Hurricane 0-1, 1-3
Canyon View 0-1, 0-4
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.