HURRICANE – It was clear early on, with big hits and stonewall line play, there were not going to be a lot of points scored between Cedar and Hurricane.
“Defense is about execution,” said Cedar safety Ethan Boettcher. “Execute, execute, execute, and be disciplined. We knew our defense was going to be tough and we just needed our offense to come and make a couple of touchdowns and that’s what they did.”
All of Cedar’s points came in the second quarter and the defense held Hurricane out of the end zone until the final three minutes of the game. But the Tigers rallied late to make things interesting, scoring with 2:56 to play and then getting the ball one last time with the clock winding down. Boettcher’s interception near midfield finally ended the threat with 20 seconds left in the game.
“I just wanted to make a play for my team,” Boettcher said. “I saw the other receiver kind of trailing behind, like they were trying to hide him a little. The quarterback was staring him down, so I just sat on it. It was an easy interception.”
The two teams totaled just 430 combined yards in the contest, with both offenses content to use clock and run the ball. Cedar finally broke through with 7:39 to play in the first half when Trent Maurer took an option pitch from Jaxon Garrett and rushed it in around the left end from 9-yards out. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 6-0.
Hurricane’s offense continued to struggle and the Redmen got the ball back with 2:42 until halftime. Garrett then completed two passes to Luke Maggio and another to Tayvien Brown to move the ball to the Hurricane 21-yard line. After a run by Garrett took the ball to the 8-yard line, Cedar used its last timeout with 15 seconds to go until intermission.
After the break, Garrett hit Maggio on a quick slant at the goal line for a touchdown. Maurer’s two-point conversion made it 14-0 with 10 seconds left in the half.
“I feel like with experience I am getting better at knowing what defenses are doing and knowing where to throw it,” Garrett said. “I knew Luke was going to be open on the slant ’cause they were playing off of him. I knew he’d be open before we even hiked the ball.”
Hurricane had a punt and two lost fumbles on its next three possessions, leading the game deep into the fourth quarter. In the meantime, Cedar missed a field goal and had a touchdown pass called back on penalties. Either one of the scores would have made it a three-possession game and essentially ended any Tiger hopes for a comeback.
“I’m frustrated and not sure what we need to do to fix the penalty problems,” Cedar coach Josh Bennett said. “We really should have put the game away. A lot of it is lack of discipline at times. We can fix that, but we had way too many silly penalties.”
The Tigers finally put together their best drive of the night midway through the fourth quarter. Adam Heyrend hit Jaden Gubler for a 29-yard post pass to start the drive. Eight plays later, Tyler Moore got free around the right side for an 11-yard TD run to make it 14-6. Jaron Cordova ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-8, but the drive took three minutes and two timeouts to complete, leaving Hurricane with no choice but to try an onside kick.
Cedar recovered and could have run out the clock, but penalties reared their ugly heads again. After two first downs, the Redmen had the ball all the way down to the Hurricane 18-yard line with 1:59 to play. A holding penalty stopped the clock and moved the ball back to the 34. After a 2-yard loss, a personal foul moved the ball back to the 48. A third penalty again sent Cedar backwards, leaving the Redmen with fourth down and a mile to go back in their own territory.
Cedar punted with 1:15 left to a Tiger team that had no timeouts left, but a lot of momentum. Hurricane moved the ball out near midfield, but with just 20 seconds to go, Heyrend was forced to try a deep ball that Boettcher read and easily intercepted.
“To keep playoffs hopes alive, this is one we had to get,” Bennett said. “This was a crucial game, and I think our defense, especially, rose to the occasion. They played great. That’s the strength of this team.”
Cedar, 2-1 in region and 3-3 overall, had just 207 yards of offense in the game, with Maurer contributing 78 of those yards, plus eight of their 14 points. Garrett, the junior quarterback, was 8-12 for 74 yards and a score, plus rushed for 25 and took some hard hits on option pitches to Maurer.
“Our offense is getting better each week,” Bennett said. “I’m proud of the way they executed. Jaxon made some really great decisions and made the right read on the throws, especially in the first half.”
Cedar faces another must-win type game next week in a roadie at Snow Canyon.
Hurricane, which got 100 yards on 21 carries from fullback Cordova, ended up with 233 total yards and had 17 more plays and nine more minutes of possession time in the game. The Tigers, 1-2 in region and 2-4 overall, host Pine View next Friday night. Hurricane’s final three games are against Pine View, Dixie and Snow Canyon.
It was the officials that maybe won the night. There were a total of 23 accepted penalties for a combined 232 yards. Cedar had 14 for 145 of those yards.
Friday’s Region 9 results
Cedar 14, Hurricane 8
Dixie 24, Pine View 14
Desert Hills 55, Canyon View 7
REGION 9 STANDINGS
1. Desert Hills 3-0 (4-2)
2. Dixie 2-0 (5-1)
3. Cedar 2-1 (3-3)
4. Snow Canyon 1-1 (4-1)
5. Hurricane 1-2 (2-4)
6. Pine View 0-2 (3-3)
7. Canyon View 0-3 (0-6)
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