ST. GEORGE – Trenton Maurer is a man. At 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, there’s no doubt about that. On Friday night, Trenton Maurer was THE man.
The senior running back for Cedar rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns – including the game-winner in the third overtime – as the Redmen stunned the Warriors on their own field 34-28 in three overtimes.
“Man our team really pulled it off tonight,” Maurer said. “I am so proud of how much heart our team had and how we pushed through hard times. We always push through to the end. I’ve got to give a shoutout to my line. They made everything possible for everyone tonight.”
Cedar came in as double-digit underdogs, but the first sign that things may not turn out as expected came midway through the first quarter. After Snow Canyon had taken an early 7-0 lead, the Redmen took the ball with a first down at their own 20 after a touchback. Quarterback Jaxon Garrett handed to Maurer on a simple read play from the spread. Maurer slipped through a crease in the line and exploded into the secondary.
No one from Snow Canyon could catch the big guy from behind and he sprinted 80 yards for a score.
“That kid is amazing,” Cedar coach Josh Bennett said of his stud running back. “Even from the start of preseason, we started lifting weights and he never missed a day and he was always there, lifting hard. He has a lot of confidence and he runs hard and he has a great offensive line in front of him. He just wants to prove he is a great running back. He has great character.”
But there were other signs as well. The Warriors, who came into the game averaging 168 rushing yards a game, couldn’t muster a run game to save themselves. SC ended up with just 94 rushing yards on 24 attempts, less than four yards a carry.
“Our defense, especially against the run, is our strength,” Bennett said. “I think our kids are playing with a chip on their shoulders. No one ever talks about Cedar and we are always pegged down towards the middle or the bottom and I think the kids know they have to go out and earn the respect.”
Snow Canyon’s kicking game, normally solid, was off as well. Placekicker Andy Day missed two field goal attempts in the first two overtimes, plus had one blocked at the end of regulation.
Neither team could score in the first two OTs, with both Warrior possessions ending in missed field goals and Cedar’s possessions ending with a failed fake field goal in the first OT and a blocked field goal in the second.
Cedar finally broke through in the third overtime. On a third-and-3 at the 18, Maurer bulled ahead for 6 yards to give the Redmen a first down. On the next play, the power back carried what seemed like the entire Snow Canyon defense 12 yards forward into the end zone to make it 34-28.
“Me and my linemen have the same brain,” Maurer said. “They were pushing so hard for me and I just followed them in. I just tried to push … I just didn’t want to go triple overtime and lose. That is just not even an option.”
Cedar missed on the mandatory two-point conversion try and held that six-point advantage with Snow Canyon’s possession up next. Warrior quarterback Austin Staheli was incomplete on his first two passes, then looked for running back Tosh Wright on third-and-10. But Cedar’s Drake Fakahua stepped in front of Wright and sealed the road win for the Redmen.
” I him go out there on an out route, so I had to cover him up and the ball came my way,” Fakahua said. “It was good to get that pick at the end. I was just playing football, reacting. I knew that if I didn’t make a play, my brothers behind me would make a play.”
Cedar, which was picked to finish sixth in the preseason Media/Coaches Poll, already has two road wins over teams picked ahead of them – Hurricane and Snow Canyon. Friday night’s win was about more than just getting a W.
“Our kids know that we have to come out and earn respect every game,” Bennett said. “They know that and they play harder and they came out tonight and they wanted to show people what kind of team we are. So I am very proud of our team, very resilient.”
Snow Canyon led 14-6 in the second quarter after Staheli completed his second TD of the game on a 38-yard pass to Brooks Sampson on a spectacular grab by the wideout. Cedar rallied with an eight-play, 91-yard drive to tie the score after Maurer powered one in from 2-yards out (he also ran in the two-point conversion). The score came with 1:32 left in the first half and made it 14-14.
But the Warriors’ two-minute offense put a drive together in the final 92 seconds of the half. Staheli completed two passes to Sampson that moved the ball from the SC 29 to the Cedar 25. After an incompletion, Staheli hit David Dillard on the numbers for a 17-yard gain to the Cedar 8. Two plays later, Wright bulled in from a yard out to make it 21-14 just before halftime.
The Redmen had the only score of the third quarter and it came from the defense. Fakahua picked off a Warrior pass and raced untouched for 63 yards to tie the game with a pick-6. His TD, with an Adam Rogers extra point, made it 21-21 with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
“The pick six, my coach kept telling me screen-slant sinks and the ball just happened to come my way, so it was an opportunity I had to take,” Fakahua said. “I just saw the end zone and I love the end zone so everything was for my team.”
Fakahua scored his second touchdown, this time on a 2-yard option run, to break the tie and give the Redmen their first lead at 28-21 with 10:35 left in the game. The run capped an eight-play, 53-yard drive for Cedar.
Snow Canyon finally got the equalizer with 6:46 left in the game when slot-back Jase Mendenhall took a fly sweep to the right side, then evaded tacklers and raced 39 yards into the left corner of the end zone, making it 28-28.
The Warriors moved the ball inside the Cedar 15-yard line with 1:21 left in the game, but a potential winning field goal was blocked by Cedar.
The Redmen tried a fake field on fourth-and-3 at the 18 in the first overtime, but a Luke Maggio pass fell incomplete. Snow Canyon countered with a field goal try that was wide right.
The Warriors ran a trick play to start the second OT, but a wide open receiver couldn’t hang onto a pass in the end zone. SC tried another field goal on the south end zone in the second OT, but it also was wide. Cedar had the ball with a chance to win the game, but their field goal attempt was blocked.
Cedar, 4-3 overall and 3-1 in region play, had 331 yards in the game. Significantly, the Redmen committed just one penalty for 15 yards, compared to 14 penalties a week ago (for 137 yards). Cedar has a bye next week before hosting Pine View at Redmen Stadium.
Snow Canyon, 4-2 and 1-2, had 319 yards, 225 of those through the air. Staheli was 16 for 36. Defensively, Spencer Snow was an animal, getting in on 16 tackles, including 2.5 for loss. The Warriors prepare for a battle at Canyon View next Thursday night.
Friday’s Region 9 results
Pine View 49, Hurricane 7
Dixie 64, Canyon View 0
Cedar City 34, Snow Canyon 28 (F/3 OT)
REGION 9 STANDINGS
1. Desert Hills 3-0 (4-2)
1. Dixie 3-0 (6-1)
3. Cedar 3-1 (4-3)
4. Snow Canyon 1-2 (4-2)
4. Pine View 1-2 (4-3)
6. Hurricane 1-3 (2-5)
7. Canyon View 0-4 (0-7)
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