Region 9 football recap: Snow Canyon, Pine View, Dixie stay undefeated in region play

ST. GEORGE — At halftime of Friday night’s Region 9 contests, all four road teams were leading their respective games. However, both Dixie and Crimson Cliffs managed to come back and win, with Crimson Cliffs kicking a last-minute field goal to beat Hurricane. Meanwhile, both Snow Canyon and Pine View ended up winning on the road to stay unbeaten in region play.

The season’s initial RPI rankings used to determine playoff seedings were released by the Utah High School Activities Association on Sept. 14 and are included in the standings chart below the story.

Following are recaps of Friday night’s action:

Snow Canyon 28, Desert Hills 21

In a hard-fought battle at Desert Hills, the first-place Snow Canyon Warriors had a 21-14 halftime lead, but Desert Hills tied it up on the first drive of the third quarter when quarterback Noah Fuailetolo found receiver Awsten Turnbow in the end zone, tying the score 21-21.

Snow Canyon at Desert Hills, St. George, Utah, Sept. 18, 2020 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News / Cedar City News

A few minutes later, after the Thunder had gotten the ball back, they were poised to take the lead as Fuailetolo threw it deep to Braxton Turnbow, but the pass was intercepted by Snow Canyon free safety Logan Mendenhall.

In the fourth quarter, Snow Canyon’s Bretton Stone caught a short pass from quarterback Landon Frei, but was stripped off the ball by Trey Leavitt, with Braxton Turnbow recovering the fumble for Desert Hills with four minutes left.

The Thunder couldn’t advance the ball and had to punt a couple of minutes later, giving the Warriors another opportunity. On what would be the game’s final scoring drive, Stone found redemption as he first broke away for a 25-yard gain, then caught a 32-yard TD pass from Frei with 1:41 left.

That proved to be the game-winner, as Desert Hills was unable to advance the ball during its final possession. Snow Canyon escaped with the 28-21 win to keep its unbeaten record intact.

Next Friday, the Warriors will face another tough test when they host the Dixie Flyers. Meanwhile, Desert Hills will travel to Hurricane to take on the Tigers.

Pine View 67, Canyon View 27

In a game that seemed reminiscent of the last time Pine View played at Canyon View in Cedar City two years ago, the Panthers piled up plenty of offense in a 67-27 rout of the Falcons.

Exactly as they had done during their 70-26 blowout win in 2018, the Panthers scored 10 touchdowns to Canyon View’s four.

Friday night, the Falcons scored on the game’s opening drive to take an early 7-0 lead, as Brealen Poulos caught a 2-yard pass from quarterback Jake Garrett.

Pine View at Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 18, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

However, the Panthers proceeded to score the next eight touchdowns of the game, rattling off 53 unanswered points to take a 53-7 lead on the first play of the third quarter, which was a 95-yard kickoff return by Dominique McKenzie.

During the first quarter, McKenzie had also made the Panthers’ first two TDs, on receptions of 30 and 50 yards from quarterback Brayden Bunnell, who ended up with a total of four TD passes. Running back Ryan Jordan added three rushing scores for the Panthers.

Pine View head coach Ray Hosner said the Falcons were focused on defending against the passing attack, which left them vulnerable against the Panthers running the ball up the middle.

“They were so worried about our passes that they went pretty wide open. They were empty in the box and were giving us the inside run, so we took advantage of it a little bit,” Hosner said. “And, you know, our kids ran the ball hard. The whole line did a great job again tonight.”

Canyon View head coach Chris Sawyers said although he was pleased with his team’s strong start in the first quarter, a series of defensive lapses quickly led to the Panthers building a big lead.

“We tried really hard to put some things in the secondary that we didn’t execute very well,” Sawyers said.

With their third straight loss, the Falcons dropped to 0-3 in region play and 3-3 overall. They’ll next play crosstown rival Cedar on Friday in a game that will be played at Southern Utah University’s Eccles Coliseum.

Meanwhile, Pine View improved to 5-1 overall, 3-0 in region play with their biggest offensive performance of the season. The Panthers will host Crimson Cliffs next Friday at 7 p.m.

Dixie 24, Cedar 19

At Dixie, the Flyers overcame a 13-7 halftime deficit to defeat Cedar 24-19, thanks to a 17-point third quarter sparked by an 87-yard scoring run by Avery Anderson.

Cedar at Dixie, St. George, Utah, Sept. 18, 2020 | Photo by Jacqui Knighton, St. George News / Cedar City News

Dixie’s other two TDs were scored by Shea Anderson, including his 76-yard scoring catch from Bronson Barben during the first minute of the game. Cedar then tied the game 7-7 early in the second quarter, thanks to a 35-yard TD pass from Jaron Garrett to Kolby White. Kicker Edgar Hernandez-Hinojosa later added a pair of field goals to give the Reds a 13-7 lead at the half.

After Avery Anderson’s long run put Dixie back ahead 14-13, Shea Anderson scored on a short run a few minutes later, followed by a field goal by kicker Rene Bernal that extended Dixie’s lead to 24-13.

Cedar managed to get within five points on Seth Brinkerhoff’s late TD run with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Reds could get no closer as the Flyers escaped with the home victory.

Dixie plays at Snow Canyon next Friday, while Cedar hosts Canyon View in a game that will be played at SUU.

Crimson Cliffs 10, Hurricane 7

At Crimson Cliffs, the Mustangs defeated Hurricane 10-7, with the deciding points being a 30-yard field goal by Ryan Woolley with 11 seconds remaining.

Running back Kaleb McLaws scored Hurricane’s lone TD on a 2-yard run near the end of the second quarter, and the Tigers had carried that slim lead into the fourth quarter.

Crimson Cliffs running back Creed Leonard finally broke the ice with a 1-yard TD run to tie up the score 7-7 with 10 minutes left.

Crimson Cliffs, which improved to 3-2 overall, 2-1 in region play, will next play the Panthers at Pine View next Friday. Meanwhile, Hurricane will host Desert Hills, with both teams looking for their first region win.

Region 9 football standings, as of Sept. 19 (region record, overall, RPI)

  1. Snow Canyon 3-0 (5-0) 2nd in RPI rankings
  2. Pine View 3-0 (5-1) 3rd RPI
  3. Dixie 3-0 (3-3) 12th RPI
  4. Crimson Cliffs 2-1 (3-2) 10th RPI
  5. Cedar 1-2 (3-3) 11th RPI
  6. Canyon View 0-3 (3-3) 13th RPI
  7. (tie) Hurricane 0-3 (1-5) 20th RPI
  8. (tie) Desert Hills 0-3 (1-5) 21st RPI

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