Region 9 football recap: Snow Canyon stays unbeaten with close win over Dixie

ST. GEORGE — Two of Region 9’s top football teams battled each other Friday night as the Snow Canyon Warriors took on the Dixie Flyers, with the Warriors coming away with a narrow victory. Meanwhile, Pine View also stayed unbeaten in region play with a home win over Crimson Cliffs, Cedar defeated crosstown rival Canyon View and Desert Hills picked up their first region win on the road at Hurricane.

Following are recaps of this week’s action:

Snow Canyon 35, Dixie 33

At Snow Canyon, the Warriors battled the Dixie Flyers all night long before coming away with the two-point victory.

The game was an offensive battle, with Snow Canyon racking up 400 yards of total offense and Dixie amassing 356 total yards.

The Warriors scored two TDs in the first quarter to take an early 14-0 lead, as quarterback Landon Frei and running back Bretton Stone each rushed for a score. Jacob Wittwer made both PAT kicks.

Dixie at Snow Canyon, St. George, Utah, Sept. 25, 2020 | Photo by Jacqui Knighton for St. George News

Early in the second quarter, Frei scored again on a short TD run, giving the Warriors a 20-0 lead (this time, the PAT kick was no good). A few minutes later, Dixie got on the scoreboard when quarterback Bronson Barben threw a 4-yard TD pass to Carson Greer. Dixie’s next two drives also ended in TD passes, as Barben found Greer again from 35-yards out, then completed a 35-yard scoring pass to Hunter Knighton. Rene Bernal made all three PAT kicks, giving the Flyers a 21-20 halftime lead.

Early in the third quarter, Frei put the Warriors back on top again with a 7-yard TD pass to Wesley Tauanuu. The ensuing two-point conversion pass attempt was good, giving Snow Canyon a 28-21 lead. Later in the third quarter, Frei completed a 28-yard scoring pass to Stone, with Wittwer’s PAT making the score 35-21.

Dixie outscored the Warriors 12-0 during the fourth quarter. Avery Anderson scored a TD on a 32-yard run, but the PAT kick attempt was no good. A few minutes later, Barben completed a short pass to Joshua Barney in the end zone to cut the Flyers’ deficit to two points, 35-33 with just under five minutes remaining. The Flyers went for the two-point conversion to tie the game, but Snow Canyon’s pass defense held tough at the goal line, knocking down the conversion attempt to preserve their narrow lead.

Snow Canyon managed to run out the last 4:48 of the game during its final possession, with Braxton Hickman picking up a couple key first downs during the drive. Dixie used up all of its time outs but the Flyers were unable to get the ball back.

Snow Canyon, which improved to 4-0 in region play, remains in second place in the statewide RPI rankings, while Dixie, now 3-1 in region play, 3-4 overall, dropped to 13th in the RPI.

Next Friday, Snow Canyon plays at Pine View in yet another marquee matchup featuring Region 9’s leading teams. Dixie will play at home next week, hosting the Crimson Cliffs Mustangs.

Pine View 21, Crimson Cliffs 7

In a defensive battle at Pine View, the Panthers scored one TD in each of the first three quarters, then held on to defeat Crimson Cliffs 21-7.

Quarterback Brayden Bunnell scored Pine View’s first TD on a short run at the end of the first quarter. Then, late in the second quarter, Bunnell threw a TD pass to receiver Preston Mann that gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead at halftime.

Doug Leung Choi made an 87-yard scoring run for the Panthers late in the third, pushing the lead to 21-0.

The Mustangs got on the scoreboard with a 60-yard TD pass from Chase Hansen to Trei Rockhill with less than two minutes left in the game.

Next Friday, Pine View (now 4-0 in region play, 6-1 overall) hosts Snow Canyon while Crimson Cliffs plays at Dixie.

Cedar 64, Canyon View 16

The two Cedar City schools met at Southern Utah University’s Coliseum for Cedar’s homecoming game, which attracted a sizable crowd on both sides of the stadium.

Although Canyon View took early leads of 3-0 and 9-7, Cedar went on a roll after that, eventually taking a 36-16 lead at halftime, with quarterback Jaron Garrett throwing three successive long TD passes to receiver Jack Cook, all during the second quarter.

Canyon View vs. Cedar at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 25, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Reds went on to add four more TDs after halftime, giving them nine total for the game. Garrett ended up throwing four TD passes and rushing for another, while Seth Brinkerhoff added a pair of rushing TDs.

Canyon View’s two touchdowns came on a 65-yard reception by Michael McCallister and a 40-yard run by Adrian Ward, both during the first half.

After the game, the Reds proudly carried around the traveling pickax trophy that goes to the winner of the annual rivalry game, which Cedar has now won twice in a row. A fireworks show that followed punctuated Cedar’s homecoming festivities, which were to conclude with a parade around the high school Saturday morning.

Cedar head coach Josh Bennett said after the game he was pleased with how well his players avoided turning over the ball.

“Our challenge this week was to take care of the football, and I don’t think we had any turnovers (tonight),” he said, adding that he told the players to “just be disciplined and don’t beat ourselves.”

“I thought our guys did a great job of that tonight, along with our execution,” he added. “Jaron (Garrett) is a great player. We worked with him this week on ball security, and he really bought into that and did a great job. He was smart tonight with the football and he had great reads.”

Cedar, which improved to 2-2 in region play, next faces the Thunder at Desert Hills next Friday. Meanwhile, Canyon View travels to Hurricane to play the Tigers, with both teams looking for their first region win.

Desert Hills 34, Hurricane 20

Desert Hills at Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 25, 2020 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

At Hurricane, the Desert Hills Thunder built a 27-6 halftime lead, with quarterback Noah Fuailetolo scoring two early rushing TDs.

Midway through the third quarter, Fuailetolo completed a 35-yard pass to Awsten Turnbow, pushing the Thunder’s lead to 34-6

Hurricane came back to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, with Jack Reeve catching a 45-yard pass and Bubba Moore scoring on a 15-yard run. However, the Tigers could get no closer than that, as the Thunder picked up their first region win.

Desert Hills hosts Cedar next week, while Hurricane hosts Canyon View.

Region 9 football standings, as of Sept. 26 (region record, overall, RPI)

  1. Snow Canyon 4-0 (6-0) 2nd in RPI rankings
  2. Pine View 4-0 (6-1) 3rd RPI
  3. Dixie 3-1 (3-4) 13th RPI
  4. Cedar 2-2 (4-3) 8th RPI
  5. Crimson Cliffs 2-2 (3-3) 12th RPI
  6. Desert Hills 1-3 (2-5) 20th RPI
  7. Canyon View 0-4 (3-4) 15th RPI
  8. Hurricane 0-4 (1-6) 18th RPI

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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