ST. GEORGE — The Canyon View Falcons took down the Hurricane Tigers at home Friday, giving them their first win of the year, and it was an exciting one.
“It’s the 24-hour rule,” Canyon View head coach Chris Sawyers said. “We’re going to enjoy it for 24 hours, and then we’re going to get to it. I hope this is the spark we need to get going. We have never thought that this was going to be an 0-5 season, and when it did, it shocked us and kind of humbled us a little bit.”
Although the game did not go the Tigers way, head coach Skyler Miller took it as a learning experience for the program.
“It was fun,” said Miller. “The outcome didn’t go our way. It’s exciting, it’s a close battle, and it’s the way high school football should be played. It was a lot of fun in the heart of it even though there were some frustrations and disappointments, ultimately it was a fun battle. We’re not happy, we’re disappointed, but ultimately we feel like it was a good experience for our program.”
Hurricane started off the game with a bang on an absolute bomb from Brock Starley to Bubba Moore for a 55-yard passing touchdown. The first play of the game set the tone, and it started to become clear that the game would be a game of runs.
Canyon View followed that possession up with a field goal, and scored again at the start of the second quarter on a 36-yard pass from Jake Garrett to Tyler Maine.
Garrett made his first varsity start as a freshman, and proved his worth, throwing for two touchdowns. Brissin Jake was moved to WR, and also played a major role on special teams and defense. The senior would take a kickoff back for a big return, and put his team on the second-yard line, which would lead to a touchdown. He also covered some of Hurricane’s best receivers on defense.
Coach Sawyers talked highly of both his freshman quarterback and Jake.
“I thought he was really good at getting the ball out of his hands, making quick reads, and he looked poised after the first couple of series,” Sawyers said. “Brissin makes us exponentially more athletic on the edge. You mentioned offense and special teams, but you probably didn’t recognize how many times he covered their receivers one on one. To be honest with you, I don’t know how much you can measure how much he did for us, moving into a more athletic situation.”
Canyon View went into the half leading 17-14, and came out with even more momentum.
The Falcons forced a safety on Hurricane’s first possession of the second half, then Jake took the kickoff to the two-yard line.
After another touchdown, Canyon View expanded their lead to 26-14. Tigers turned right back around, as Luke Wright returned the kickoff for a huge Tigers touchdown. The Falcons only lead by six points after this touchdown, 26-20.
Canyon View got the ball back, and Hurricane put pressure on Canyon View’s young quarterback, forcing a bad throw and an interception. The Falcon defense stopped Hurricane on 4th and four, and took over at about midfield.
That very possession, a bad snap led to a Hurricane recovery, and Canyon View once again needed their defense to come up big. That is exactly what they did, stopping the Tigers on 4th and 5, and the Falcons recaptured the momentum.
“I was really proud of our defensive staff,” Sawyers said. “To be honest with you, I’m really proud of them. There was no special recipe, the defensive staff just went to work. I’m really proud of everybody.”
The young quarterback made some mistakes, which is expected, but his defense backed him up.
“Our defense did a great job,” Garrett said. “Everyone just backs each other up. If you make a bad play, like I threw an interception, they just tell me to keep my head up. It’s just great to have everyone have your back.”
On the next drive, Tanner Hardin punched in a five-yard run, making it a two-possession game in favor of Canyon View, which would be the end of the game.
Hurricane continued to fight, but an interception in the endzone ended the game as Canyon View’s student section stormed to field to celebrate their team’s first victory of the season. The energy was electric.
When asked about the fight his team showed, Miller said it was just credit to their kids.
“Our kids are just the best, and we absolutely adore them,” Miller said. “We’re working on their mindset, we’re working on developing their mental capacity, we’re working on developing their physical toughness, and finally their emotional toughness in becoming a team and selfless people. We pride ourselves on that hustle.”
Miller didn’t want to point out any particular impact players, but was quick to say that Hurricane football isn’t about individual athletes, it is about the entire program.
“It’s hard to say individual players, that’s just not what we’re about,” said Miller. “We’re about the team. It’s everyone aligned, believing, and just giving everything they’ve got with their absolute max capacity.”
Even after a loss, the way that the Hurricane coaches and players handled themselves was something that hit home. Coach Miller is creating a culture around the program, one that builds not only good athletes, but good people. Miller and his coaching staff are having an impact at Hurricane, and it is showing.
Hurricane will travel to Cedar City once again next week to take on Cedar.
For Canyon View, they will play Desert Hills on the road next week.
“It’s time for us to go get some wins,” Sawyers said.
That will be a big task, as Desert Hills is rolling off of a victory in a double overtime thriller against Cedar, but the Falcons are definitely on a high after their win.
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