After slow start, Thunder blow past Bonneville and into quarterfinals

File photo, Desert Hills vs. Canyon View, Football, St. George, UT, Sept. 22, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

OGDEN – The Desert Hills Thunder traveled a few hours north and humbled the Bonneville Lakers on their home field 45-13, capturing  first round 4A playoff victory Friday evening.

The onslaught was not immediate, however, as Bonneville exited the first quarter with a 6-0 lead.

“I think most of our guys’ minds were still back at the hotel,” Thunder head coach Carl Franke said. “They threw a lot of new stuff at us that we had not seen on film. Teams that won’t be able to match up with you in talent will sometimes try to out-scheme you. And we expected that.”

The Lakers scored their first touchdown on a short field. Thunder quarterback Noah Sewell’s screen pass was intercepted deep in Thunder territory. Additional yardage from a penalty gave Bonneville the ball at the Thunder 5-yard line.

“We had a missed blocking assignment,” said Franke. “Their linebacker made a great play and came over the top to intercept the pass. Noah made a great hit on him inbounds. But for some reason, the hit was too hard. So they tacked on some penalty yardage.”

The Lakers took advantage of the short field and Mirko Villanueva punched it in from 1-yard out for the early 6-0 lead.

Desert Hills’ Noah Sewell (2), file photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

The Thunder first got on the board early in the second. Desert Hills started the drive with great field position at the Lakers 27-yard line after a great return by Gage Baird. But the drive stalled and Desert Hills had to settle for a Logan Callister 41-yard field goal.

The Thunder claimed their first lead four minutes later. Starting the drive from midfield, Sewell drove the offense the distance, ending with his 1-yard plunge with seven minutes remaining in the half to lead 10-6.

After kicking off, the Thunder forced a quick punt from Bonneville. Another nice return gave Desert Hills good field position at the Laker 33-yard line. Less than a minute later on the clock, Sewell got his second touchdown of the day with another 1-yard run for the 17-6 lead.

Bonneville then had their biggest drive of the afternoon. Taking the ball over on their own 20, the Lakers’ scoring play came on a 75-yard pass from quarterback Jonah Nielson to running back Trent Citte.

“They threw a screen pass and caught us out of position,” said Franke. “That was really the only costly mistake our defense made the whole game.” With the extra point, the Lakers pulled to within 17-13.

The Thunder responded on their next drive. This time the Thunder drove the ball 80 yards. And again, the drive ended with a 1-yard score from Sewell to give the Thunder a 24-13 halftime lead.

Desert Hills’ Brock Parry (21), file photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

“Noah (Sewell) had all of our offensive touchdowns today,” said Franke. “But it was Brock Parry that was doing the most damage in the rushing game and getting us in scoring position.”

After halftime, the teams traded punts and the Thunder again found themselves starting on Bonneville’s side of the field at the Lakers 41-yard line. Minutes later, Sewell scored the only points of the third quarter, this time from 4-yards out, to put the Thunder up 31-13.

The Thunder’s next score came in the fourth. Bonneville turned the ball over on downs and the Thunder started the drive at their own 29. Seventy-one yards later, Sewell had his fifth and final touchdown (6 yards this time) to put the Thunder up 38-13.

The final score of the game came with less than two minutes on the clock. Thunder defensive back Peyton Pace intercepted the ball and raced 56 yards the other direction for a pick-six to give the Thunder a 45-13 win.

The Thunder outgained Bonneville 362-154 total yards. Individually for the Thunder, Sewell completed 10 of 19 passes for 102 yards. Parry gained 136 yards on 19 carries. Sewell gained 99 yards on 15 carries. Defensively, Jaron Polu led the team with eight tackles and a sack. Dawson Mayfield had seven tackles, two interceptions and a sack. Mason Creager, Cole Bailey and Jacob Stokes also recorded sacks.

“We played great defensively tonight,” Franke said. “Except for the one big play, our defense held them the entire night. Our linebackers made good reads and played very well. Offensively, we got some big play from our backs. Our interior line played O.K., but there were a few miscues that we will address and clean up this week.

“We had several drives stall because of penalties. That has been our bane the entire season. We can’t keep getting out of third-and-long situations. And the penalties are the reason we are in those situations.”

Desert Hills improves to 6-4 and advances to take on Orem, the No. 1 seed from Region 10. Orem beat Bear River Friday night 36-7. Bonneville ends its season at 4-7.

4A State Playoffs First Round Results
Upper Bracket
Mountain Crest 44, Salem Hills 31
Dixie 30, Park City 6
Stansbury 28, Cedar 20
Ridgeline 25, Spanish Fork 22
Lower Bracket
Pine View 63, Tooele 14
Sky View 50, Mountain View 14
Orem 36, Bear River 7
Desert Hills 45, Bonneville 13

4A State Playoffs quarterfinal games (Nov. 3, times tbd)
Upper Bracket
Mountain Crest (10-1) at Dixie (10-1)
Ridgeline (7-4) at Stansbury (7-3)
Lower Bracket
Pine View (8-3) at Sky View (10-0)
Desert Hills (6-4) at Orem (9-2)

State 4A semifinals are Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at U of U

4A championship game is Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. at U of U

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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