ST. GEORGE – For the third time in as many years, Dixie High sits atop Region 9.
No longer standing on top of his predecessor Blaine Monkres’ shoulders, Flyer head coach Andy Stokes and his staff of assistants have earned the right to be called the best in the region, maybe the state. All Dixie has done this year is beat every Utah team it has faced.
An excellent 5A Springville team? The Flyers got them by racking up nearly 500 yards of offense. Powerful Lone Peak? Dixie got them by two touchdowns. A decent Tooele team? DHS ran roughshod over the Buffaloes, scoring 69 points.
And then there’s Region 9. It’s hard to believe any team could run the R9 gauntlet and go undefeated. But after Wednesday’s road win at Desert Hills, only one team (Cedar) stands between the Flyers doing just that. And if Dixie wins that game next week, the Flyers will have done the undefeated thing by winning three of four on the road against the nearest competitors.
Yes, Dixie’s 8-1 record is glossy, shiny like a new car with a 5-0 set of region rims.
But the rest of Region 9 has got a few dents and some chipped paint. In fact, it’s a veritable traffic jam just below the Flyers.
We’ll start with Desert Hills, which was 3-0 in region before back-to-back losses brought them into the dogfight. The Thunder have played tough defense and have arguably the best 1-2 run punch in the region in Noah Sewell and Brock Parry. But those two recent losses have exposed an inconsistent pass game and some definite turnover issues.
Pine View, meanwhile, was almost dead in the water. The Panthers opened region play with losses to Snow Canyon and Dixie. Both games were close, but this ain’t horseshoes and PV desperately needed to put together a win streak. And that’s what the Panthers did, reeling off three straight, including Wednesday’s road win at Cedar.
Snow Canyon’s ride has been akin to a roller coaster at Lagoon. The Warriors started region with a heartbreaking loss to Dixie (13-10), but then beat Pine View for the first time in eight years and had a softer schedule the rest of the way – or so they thought. A home loss to Cedar, followed by a lackluster win at Canyon View put the Warriors fans on edge. But SC bombed Hurricane Wednesday and seems to have rediscovered its offense in the process.
And then there’s Cedar. It’s like there’s a fancy James Bond-style cocktail party with four invited guests, but somehow the Redmen stole a snowmobile, snuck in through the kitchen, swiped a tuxedo and danced with the sexiest international guest, all without anyone noticing. Cedar has crashed the party.
So, as we look at the Big Picture, what are we to make of this four-way tie for second place?
Here’s what I see going down: Pine View will beat Canyon View next week at home and clinch a playoff spot. Desert Hills and Snow Canyon will stage an epic football game with a playoff spot on the line. Who will win? Hmm, well, let’s wait and see on that. But I do know that Pine View will be rooting for Desert Hills (maybe for the first time ever) as the Panthers hold a tiebreaker over DH and not SC based on head-to-head meetings. And that leaves Cedar, at home, trying to beat the Flyers and get into the playoff fray. Can they do it? Sure. Will Dixie rest some starters with nothing on the line? Maybe. Remember, Dixie lost Jacob Barben in the last regular-season game a year ago and it likely cost them a shot at the 2016 state title.
For what it’s worth, the first round of the 4A playoffs has Region 9 meeting up with Region 11 (Stansbury, Bonneville, Park City, Tooele, etc.), so I like the southern Utah teams’ chances from one through four. Get in, and you may get a win.
Oh, one last note: There are some amazing players around the region, from Jacob Mpungi to Trent Maurer, Jaron Cordova to Brock Parry, Tosh Wright to Jacob Barben … but the Region 9 MVP trophy has already been boxed, stamped and mailed to Hobbs Nyberg’s house. End of argument.
Wednesday’s Region 9 results
Dixie 36, Desert Hills 21
Snow Canyon 41, Hurricane 14
Pine View 17, Cedar 3
REGION 9 STANDINGS
1. Dixie 5-0 (8-1)
2t. Snow Canyon 3-2 (6-2)
2t. Pine View 3-2 (6-3)
2t. Desert Hills 3-2 (5-3)
2t. Cedar 3-2 (4-4)
6. Hurricane 1-5 (2-7)
7. Canyon View 0-5 (0-8)
Next Week’s Region 9 games
Dixie at Cedar
Desert Hills at Snow Canyon
Canyon View at Pine View
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