Region 9 Big Picture: Breakthrough Cedar win shakes things up

Photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Two weeks ago, Cedar trailed Desert Hills 23-0 at halftime. Even worse: The Redmen hadn’t even earned a single first down in the first half. In fact, they had a net total of 1 yard going into the locker room.

But something unexplainable happened after that. There was no fiery “Win one for the Gipper” speeches at halftime. No players-only meetings. No one started reminiscing about Bobby “Water Boy” Bouchet or Rudy Ruettiger.

“We have a good coaching staff and we basically just made some adjustments, changed a couple of things, and that’s about it,” said Cedar head coach Josh Bennett.

Whatever did or didn’t happen in the locker room that night in Cedar City, the Redmen have been tough as nails since then. They cut that 23-0 deficit down to 23-13, though they eventually lost 37-13. Last week, Cedar’s defense pitched a shutout for the first 45 minutes (out of 48) in a 14-8 win at Hurricane.

And then there was Friday night. Cedar stunned the state with a 34-28 triple overtime road win at Snow Canyon. The Redmen fell behind three times in the game. Each time, they came back. The Redmen also dodged some major bullets, surviving a couple of missed field goals and a dropped TD pass. Any one of those plays would have won the game in overtime for Snow Canyon.

But they didn’t, and now Cedar sits in prime position to grab a playoff spot. The Redmen close the regular season out with home games against Pine View and Dixie (after next week’s bye). And even if they lose both games, with three wins in region, Cedar is poised to defy the odds and beat out one of the “St. George four” that has ruled the region in recent years. Watch out for the Redmen.

As for Dixie, the Flyers had to have a win Friday to pull into a tie for first place with the idle Desert Hills Thunder. Dixie came out all business against winless Canyon View, scoring 29 points in the first quarter and 57 in the first half.

Dixie’s defense doesn’t get enough credit. The Flyer defenders have allowed just 24 total points the last three region games and scored a couple of touchdowns on scoop-and-scores Friday night. The Dixie offense is excellent, and it flexed its collective muscle against Canyon View. But don’t sleep on this DHS D.

Speaking of defense, Pine View allowed Hurricane past the 50-yard line only once in the Panthers blowout win at Tiger Stadium. Could there be a quarterback controversy at PVHS? Dallin Brown, the backup quarterback, played the entire game and was incredible. Filling in for Ryan Javines (injured? benched?), Brown accounted for six touchdowns (four rushing).

As for the big picture this week, it’s this: There aren’t four quality playoff teams in the region this year. Nope, there are five. Cedar showed that Friday night. The problem is, there are only four playoff spots available.

Somebody’s going to have to stay home come late October.

Note: All the teams in the region seem to have successfully addressed the penalty issues that have been plaguing recent games. Pine View and Hurricane combined for just 13 penalties, and Cedar and Snow Canyon had just six total flags in their contest. Cedar was the big winner of the night, committing just one infraction, plus inducing a couple of key offsides penalties late in the game against SC.

Friday’s Region 9 results
Pine View 49, Hurricane 7
Dixie 64, Canyon View 0
Cedar 34, Snow Canyon 28 (F/3 OT)

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)

Next week (Thursday, Oct. 5)
Desert Hills at Pine View
Hurricane at Dixie
Snow Canyon at Canyon View
Bye week – Cedar

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

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