Region 9 football recap: Desert Hills outlasts Cedar in 2OT thriller as Dixie, Pine View stay unbeaten

ST. GEORGE — In another eventful Friday night of Region 9 football, both Dixie and Pine View stayed unbeaten, while Desert Hills and Cedar battled each other in a high-scoring, double-overtime thriller.

Canyon View also picked up its first win of the year, creating a five-way tie for fourth place in the region standings. Following are recaps of each of the four games:

Desert Hills 56, Cedar 55 (2OT)

In a wild, high-scoring shootout at Cedar City, the Reds and the visiting Desert Hills Thunder traded touchdowns for much of the night, with neither team ever leading by more than seven points. Cedar’s two-point conversion attempt at the end of the second overtime fell short, giving Desert Hills the 56-55 victory.

Both teams had scored on their first possession of the game, with Desert Hills quarterback Logan Wilstead capping off the Thunder’s initial drive with a 47-yard pass to Kire Goulding. Goulding’s extra point kick made it 7-0 with 10:57 left in the first quarter.

Desert Hills at Cedar, football, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 20, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

A few minutes later, Cedar quarterback Jaron Garrett found receiver Kolby White for a 25-yard TD pass to finish off Cedar’s 65-yard scoring drive. Taz Chamberlain nailed the extra-point try to even the score at 7-7. Kickers Goulding and Chamberlain both ended up perfect on the night for PAT kicks, with Goulding making all eight of his tries and Chamberlain going 7-for-7. Each missed one field goal try during the game, however.

Desert Hills also scored on its second possession, with Wilstead throwing a 16-yard pass to Caleb Rogers with 4:17 left in the first.

Both teams then turned the ball over on their next possession, with Cedar taking over on downs as the first quarter ended.

After a couple long runs by Garrett, he threw a 20-yard TD pass to Kolby Meek, tying the score 14-14 with 9:11 left in the second quarter.

Desert Hills took the lead again on its next drive, with Wilstead throwing a 45-yard TD pass to Jacob Buckway to make it 21-14. Cedar tied it up just before halftime with a 14-yard run by Meek on fourth-and-one.

It was Cedar’s turn to receive the kickoff at the start of the third quarter, and the Reds moved the ball up the field quickly and scored on the drive, with Teague Speakman making an 11-yard TD run to give Cedar its first lead of the game, 28-21, with 11:02 left in the third.

Desert Hills then answered with another scoring drive, with Jace Mortensen catching a 2-yard pass in the end zone to tie the game again with 6:31 left in the third.

Cedar regained the lead on its next drive with a 22-yard TD run by Meek to make it 35-28 with 2:07 left in the third. The Thunder fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, but the Reds failed to capitalize. An apparent TD pass was ruled out of bounds in the end zone, and Cedar was forced to try a field goal that would have given them a 10-point advantage. The attempt fell short, however, and Desert Hills took over and advanced to midfield just as the third quarter ended.

Desert Hills at Cedar, football, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 20, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Thunder kept the momentum going at the start of the fourth, eventually tying the score again on a 1-yard run by Wilstead. 

On Cedar’s next possession, Meek exploded for a 72-yard run to put the Reds back ahead by a touchdown with 6:50 left. It was Meek’s fourth touchdown of the night, marking the second straight week he has scored four TDs.

Desert Hills then tied the game up 42-42 on an 11-yard TD catch by Rogers with just under five minutes left in regulation. Neither team was able to score again until overtime.

Cedar went first in the first OT session, with Treyton Payne catching a 9-yard pass from Garrett in the end zone. Chamberlain’s PAT gave the Reds a 49-42 advantage. Desert Hills answered with a 20-yard scoring pass from Wilstead to Ethan Ford.

Desert Hills then went first in the second OT, with Wilstead finding Goulding in the end zone for a TD pass and Goulding’s ensuing PAT kick putting the Thunder ahead 56-49.

Cedar took advantage of a pass-interference penalty and Garrett was able to run it just past the end zone marker on the right sideline, making it 56-55. Cedar then opted to go for the two-point conversion, the first time either team had done so all night. 

Garrrett dished the ball to Meek, who went right, then lofted the ball toward teammate Tanner Esplin in the end zone. The attempt fell short, however, and Desert Hills escaped with the one-point win.

After a combined 16 touchdowns scored, and more than three hours of playing time, the marathon was finally over and the Thunder players celebrated on the field as Cedar’s players and fans swallowed the tough homecoming loss.

“I’m sure it’ll make me kind of second-guess that,” Cedar head coach Josh Bennett said afterward of his decision to go for the win. “But the way the game was going, and we weren’t stopping (Desert Hills), I felt like we had the momentum and the opportunity, so I said hey, let’s do this. Let’s go for it.”

“I felt like it was the right call, and it was a close (play),” Bennett added. “It’s not on the kids, it’s on me. They fought their butts off, they played hard and they did some great things. We’ll come back. This is a resilient group. We’ll get better and we’ll just keep moving forward.”

Kire Goulding catches a TD pass in the second overtime of Desert Hills 56-55 win over Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 20, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Desert Hills coach Mark Murdoch said he was glad the game was ultimately decided by the players on the field and not on a penalty call.

“I think either side probably feels like the penalties went against them more than they did the other team,” Murdoch said. “But it is what it is, and you don’t want to ever blame it on the (officiating).”

Murdoch says his team has plenty to work on, especially on the defensive side.

“We have a lot of things we’ve still got to fix and shouldn’t be in those situations, but we make a heck of a game out of it,” he said.

Desert Hills, which improved to 3-1 in Region 9 play with the win, hosts Canyon View next Friday, while Cedar plays at Hurricane. The Reds dropped to 1-3 in region play, tying them for fourth place along with four other teams (see updated standings chart at bottom of this article).

— written by Jeff Richards

Canyon View 32, Hurricane 20

Canyon View was able to take down the Tigers at home, giving them their first win of the season on their Homecoming.

“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.” 

Canyon View vs Hurricane, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 20, 2019 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News / Cedar City News

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,” Hurricane head coach Skyler Miller said. “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 led to a touchdown. He also covered some of Hurricane’s best receivers on defense.

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 led by six points after the 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 would stop Hurricane on 4th and four, and take 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.

Canyon View vs Hurricane, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 20, 2019 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News / Cedar City News

“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,” starting quarterback Jake 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 to make it a two possession game in favor of Canyon View, which would prove to 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.

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.”

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 in week five of Region 9 play.

— written by Ryne Williams

Pine View 45, Snow Canyon 31

Pine View at Snow Canyon, football, St. George, Utah, Sept. 20, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

At Snow Canyon, the visiting Panthers outlasted the Warriors 45-31, thanks to three TD passes by quarterback Macloud Crowton, two of which were to Izaiah Moten. Moten started the second half with a bang, returning the opening kickoff 99 yards for a TD that put the Panthers ahead 28-17.  Pine View, which improved to 4-0 in region play with the win, hosts Dixie next Friday, while Snow Canyon, now 1-3, will host Crimson Cliffs.

Dixie 47, Crimson Cliffs 13

At Hurricane High, with Crimson Cliffs as the designated home team, the visiting Dixie Flyers scored four touchdowns in the opening quarter and rolled to a 47-13 win over the Mustangs. Dixie quarterback Reggie Graff threw three TD passes and ran for another TD, while Preston Moore added two rushing TDs for the Flyers. Next Friday, Dixie plays at Pine View in a showdown between Region 9’s top two teams. Crimson Cliffs plays at Snow Canyon next week.

Region 9 football standings (as of Sept. 21)

  1. (Tie) Dixie 4-0 (5-1)
  2. (Tie) Pine View 4-0 (4-2)
  3. Desert Hills 3-1 (3-3)
  4. (Tie) Cedar City 1-3 (2-4)
  5. (Tie) Snow Canyon 1-3 (2-4)
  6. (Tie) Crimson Cliffs 1-3 (1-5)
  7. (Tie) Hurricane 1-3 (1-5)
  8. (Tie) Canyon View 1-3 (1-5)

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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