Dixie advances to state championship game with shutout win over Park City

SALT LAKE CITY — The Dixie Flyers punched their ticket to the 4A state championship game with a 20-0 semifinal win over Park City Thursday night at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Dixie vs. Park City, 4A state semifinal game at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 8, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

As the teams struggled through a scoreless first quarter, it almost looked as though Dixie was a bit out of its element in the near-freezing temperatures. The Flyers even broke out their brand new blue hooded coats for the first time and wore them on the sidelines.

Early in the second quarter, Dixie quarterback Reggie Graff completed a pass to Nate Mahi, who ran it into the end zone for a touchdown. Josh Stewart’s extra-point kick made it 7-0 Flyers with 10:14 left in the second quarter.

Neither team mustered a sustained drive the rest of the quarter, however, as Park City punted three times while Dixie, who had advantageous field position much of the time, punted once and turned the ball over on downs. The Flyers still led 7-0 at halftime.

Dixie received the ball first to start the second half, and Keaton Schweitzer returned the kick to Dixie’s 30-yard line. Graff then rushed for six yards, and a 15-yard penalty was called on the Miners. On the very next play from scrimmage, Graff took it up the middle again and managed to break loose for a 49-yard TD. The ensuing PAT attempt was blocked, leaving Dixie ahead 13-0 with 11:20 left in the third.

Dixie vs. Park City, 4A state semifinal game at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 8, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Park City advanced the ball to midfield on its next possession, only to throw an interception to Dixie’s Tyler Walden. A few plays later, however, Dixie fumbled the ball away. The Miners then attempted a pass into the end zone on first down, but quarterback Jack Skidmore’s throw was intercepted by Walden once again.

“Our defense was tough today,” Dixie head coach Blaine Monkres said after the game.

“I’m happy for the kids,” Monkres added. “They’ve worked hard all year long, and they’ve just come together as a team. These kids get the job done week in and week out.”

Dixie’s Nate Mahi runs with the ball against Park City in the 4A semifinal game at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 8, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Early in the fourth quarter, Dixie recovered a Park City fumble and was able to capitalize on the miscue, as Graff found receiver Josh Cazier in the end zone for a 38-yard TD with just over 10 minutes left in the game.

Park City’s next possession fell short, and the Flyers were able to run out most of the remaining time on the clock to seal the shutout win.

Graff, who completed 14 of 22 passes for 174 yards and two TDs, also rushed for 104 yards on 11 carries and another TD on the ground. He said after the game that he and his teammates are excited to be in next week’s state title game.

In the 4A championship game, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m., Dixie will face the winner of Friday’s semifinal matchup between Pine View and Orem, also at the University of Utah. Click here to see full bracket.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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