ST. GEORGE — The Pine View Panthers are on their way to the 4A state championships for the first time since 2016.
After falling behind early, Pine View scored 48 straight points on seven touchdowns to eliminate Region 9 rival Snow Canyon Warriors. The final score was 48-7 in front of a limited size crowd due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We were going to let them get the short stuff, we just weren’t going to give them big plays,” Pine View head coach Raymond Hosner said. “We said, ‘If they’re patient enough, we’ll be in a 14-14 game or something.’ But all of the sudden, they started getting impatient and trying to go over the top and that put us in good situations.”
Five of the Panthers’ seven touchdowns came on the ground, with two each from Enoch Takau and Ryan Jordan, who hurdled a defender on an 18-yard score in the second quarter. Takau rushed for 106 of Pine View’s 157 ground yards on the day.
Wide receiver Dominique Mckenzie added a rushing touchdown in garbage time on a sweep after hauling in two touchdowns in the air earlier in the game.
Brayden Bunnell threw for more than 200 yards on 17 completions in 29 attempts.
Snow Canyon quarterback Landon Frei found wide receiver Braxton Hickman down the right side for a 27-yard touchdown that put the Warriors up by seven after the first drive of the game. That score held through the first quarter but was equalized immediately in the second quarter on Mckenzie’s first scoring reception from 29 yards out.
It was the first of three Panther touchdowns in a span of seven minutes. They nearly added a fourth in the quarter in the final second, but a rush by Takau up the middle came just inches short of the end zone.
Pine View added three more scores in the third and a final touchdown in the fourth, after which they missed the point-after attempt. To back up their scoring, the Panther defense held Snow Canyon to just five first downs in the final three quarters.
It brings the Warriors’ season to an end, closing their record at 10-2. Their only losses on the season both came at the hands of Pine View, including a 36-35 nail-biter on Oct. 2.
While the final result is bittersweet, Snow Canyon head coach is keeping it in perspective.
“This year, we didn’t have control of anything,” Esplin said. “We’re glad we got the opportunity to play this many games. We had to do a lot, players and coaches, just to give the kids the opportunity.”
For Pine View, it cements their undefeated record against Region 9 opponents on the season. It won 12 games in a row after losing its season opener to Ridgeline.
It was the third straight trip to the semifinals for Pine View, but their first time advancing since 2016.
The Panthers move on to take on No. 1 Sky View on Nov. 21 at Greater Zion Stadium at Dixie State University for a shot at their first state championship.
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