Region 9 football: Flyer defense steps up in win at Pine View

ST. GEORGE – In a game touting top offenses, it was the two teams’ defenses that rose to the occasion in the Pine View-Dixie matchup. The two teams average more than more than 75 points and 900 yards between them, but Friday night, the teams totaled barely more than 200 yards in the first half in what would later turn out to be a tame 24-14 score in the Flyers favor.

“Defensive coordinator Wayne Alofipo had an excellent game plan,” Dixie head coach Andy Stokes said. “We ran clock in the second half. We knew being up three scores that the clock was becoming more and more of an important factor.”

Pine View pulled to within 10 points on a 54-yard touchdown run by Jacob Mpungi with 5:26 left to play, 24-14. But the subsequent onside-kick attempt failed. Though the Panther D forced a punt, they did so at the loss of valuable time. There was less than four minutes to play when Pine View got the ball back.

Dixie’s Tyson Fisher (18) scores a second half touchdown, Pine View vs. Dixie, Football, St. George, UT, Sept. 22, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Down two scores, the Panthers needed to score quickly and get the ball back. Backup quarterback Dallin Brown was able to sustain a 15-play drive for the Panthers, but in the end it was turned over on downs. The Flyers only had to kneel once to run out the clock.

“We had to make adjustments when (Brown) entered the game,” said Dixie defensive end Tyson Fisher. “The substitution caught us off guard and he got some big gains at first. But we were able to adjust and contain him later in the second half.”

In the first half, there was a total of eight punts. The first big play gave Dixie the early advantage. Dixie free safety Payton Wilgar intercepted a Panther pass and ran the ball back 45 yards to the Panthers 3-yard line. The Pine View defense kept Dixie out of the end zone, but kicker Myles Keenan nailed the 22-yard field goal for the 3-0 Flyer lead on the first play of the second quarter.

After a three-and-out from the Panther offense, the Dixie momentum continued. Taking the ball over at their own 39-yard line, the Flyers took just two plays to score again. This time it was a 54-yard run by Hobbs Nyberg. Lined up in the backfield, Nyberg found a small opening right up the middle. Once he broke through the initial wall, there was no catching him. With 9:35 left in the first half, it was 10-0.

After Dixie forced another three-and-out, the Flyers got the ball again with similar field position, their own 38. This time, the drive took much longer. Nine plays later, after a Dixie timeout, quarterback Jacob Barben found Payden Harrah for an 8-yard touchdown pass that made it 17-0 late in the first half.

Dixie’s Wyatt Hansen (77) and Pine View’s Brooks Maile (90), Pine View vs. Dixie, Football, St. George, UT, Sept. 22, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

After the two teams traded punts, Pine View had the ball in the waning moments of the half. A 22-yard run by Mpungi set up a first down at the Dixie 37-yard line. As the clock ran out, Panther quarterback Ryan Javines avoided the Dixie rush and threw a rainbow that found gold in the end zone as Mpungi was able to pull in the throw. The play got Pine View some momentum as they only trailed 17-7 going into the locker room.

Pine View forced a Flyer punt on the visitors’ first possession of the second half. The Panthers drove deep, but the ball was intercepted by Tyson Miller deep in Flyer territory. That turnover led to a 64-yard drive by Dixie that culminated in an 8-yard touchdown reception by Tyson Fisher. The score gave Dixie a 24-7 cushion.

Fisher, who was lined up at tight end, was all alone in the end zone.

Pine View’s Jacob Mpungi (6), Pine View vs. Dixie, Football, St. George, UT, Sept. 22, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“We put Hobbs (Nyberg) in motion and the defensive back went with him,” Barben said. “They did not switch anyone over to Tyson. He was wide open.”

“We have been waiting to use that play for two years,” said Stokes, laughing. “That was probably the highlight of Tyson’s career.”

After the teams traded punts again, Pine View made a crucial mistake with a fumble on their first play from scrimmage. That gave the Flyers possession at the Pine View 37-yard line. However, the Panther D held and forced a turnover on downs. Pine View scored on its next possession with the big Mpungi run that led to the final moments of the game.

The Panthers outgained Dixie 265-263 yards.

For Dixie, Nyberg had 152 yards rushing on 26 carries. Barben completed 8 of 20 passes for 108 yards.

Individually for Pine View, Brown led the team with 76 yards rushing on 10 carries. Mpungi had 66 yards on 19 carries. Javines and Brown combined for seven completions in 20 attempts for 87 yards. Gavin Bateman led the Panthers with three receptions.

Dixie moves to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in region play. The Flyers will host Canyon View next Friday. Pine View falls to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in Region 9. The Panthers will travel to Hurricane next Friday.

Box score: Box Score Report _ Digital ScoutDixie

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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