ST. GEORGE — The state 4A football playoffs got underway Friday night, with four Region 9 teams seeing first-round action. Both Desert Hills and Crimson Cliffs cruised to convincing wins at home, while Hurricane lost at Logan. Here’s a recap of the three games involving Region 9 schools:
Desert Hills 44, Mountain Crest 14
At Desert Hills, the 16th-seeded Thunder shook off a slow start before rolling to a 44-14 victory over 17th-seeded Mountain Crest.
The Mustangs scored first, taking a 7-0 lead on a 15-yard run by Cooper Gardner midway through the first quarter. Then, on their ensuing possession, the Thunder scored on a 70-yard pass from quarterback Noah Fuailetolo to receiver Awsten Turnbow. The PAT kick was no good, leaving the Thunder down 7-6. That score stood until halftime, as neither team managed to score during the second quarter.
In the second half, the Thunder sprang to life, starting with Hendrick Lusk running the opening kickoff back 70 yards for a TD. That sparked a string of 24 unanswered points in the third quarter. Hunter Bentley kicked a field goal, which was followed by a 1-yard rushing TD by Gage Brenneman and a 20-yard TD pass from Fuailetolo to Zach Ford, all within the first eight minutes of the third period. After that offensive burst, Desert Hills held a commanding 30-7 lead.
Mountain Crest made one more big scoring play, an 80-yard TD reception by Luke Burbank late in the third to make it 30-14, but the Thunder stayed comfortably ahead for the rest of the game.
Both of Desert Hills’ last two scores were defensive TDs, as Jake Wilkins ran back an interception 35 yards early in the fourth quarter. Then, in the final minute of the game, Lusk added a pick-six of his own, running it back 98 yards to account for the final score.
With the victory, Desert Hills advances to face top-seeded Sky View at Sky View High in Smithfield next Friday, Oct. 30.
Crimson Cliffs 45, Canyon View 3
The 15th-seeded Crimson Cliffs Mustangs powered their way to a 45-3 win over 18th-seeded Canyon View Friday night.
Quarterback Chase Hansen threw four touchdown passes, three of them going to wide receiver Packer Butler, and rushed for another TD.
“Chase does a lot of good things for us,” Crimson Cliffs head coach Jaron Tate said after the game. “We’re just super proud of him. He stayed within our game. When the ball was there, he took advantage of it and he went down the field. I don’t think he played outside of himself. We proud of him, the growth, the leadership, everything that he’s doing as a junior.”
Canyon View started the game with the ball but was forced to punt after three plays. A Crimson player partially blocked the punt, and the Mustangs took over at midfield. A few plays later, Creed Leonard ran it into the end zone from three yards out to put Crimson Cliffs ahead 7-0. A few minutes later, Butler made his first scoring catch of the game as the Mustangs went ahead 14-0.
Canyon View then made a promising drive and seemed poised to score a touchdown, but ultimately settled for a 24-yard field goal by Gavin Barlow. That ended up being the Falcons’ only points of the game, as the Mustang defense held tough all night.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our defense,” Tate added. “Our boys played great. They played their guts out. They have taken into account and done what we’ve asked them to do.”
With the victory, the Mustangs advance to play Region 9 champion Pine View, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, at Pine View on Oct. 30 at 6 p.m.
The same two teams played each other during the regular season on Sept. 25, with Pine View winning at home 21-7. Tate said keeping the score low will be the key to stopping the Panthers, who are 9-1 overall this year and averaging more than 40 points per game.
“If we let that offense go, then there’s just no catching up,” Tate said. “So we rely heavily on those kids on defense to make sure we’re still in the game, and then as soon as Chase gets an opportunity, he’ll take the shots and hopefully we come out on top.”
Logan 44, Hurricane 23
At Logan, the 14th-seeded Grizzlies scored three touchdowns early on, building a 21-0 lead before going on to oust the 19th-seeded Hurricane Tigers from the playoffs, 44-23. Hurricane got on the scoreboard when Bubba Moore scored on a 6-yard TD run in the closing seconds of the first half.
Logan quarterback Kody Kirk threw three more TD passes in the second half to give him five for the game, as the Grizzlies rolled to the win.
Logan advances to play No. 3 seed Snow Canyon in the second round next Friday at Snow Canyon. Click here to see the full 4A bracket.
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