ST. GEORGE — The 4A state football championship tournament kicked off Friday night, and while three Region 10 teams saw their seasons come to an end, four others will get to play another week.
Crimson Cliffs and Dixie both won big at home, Pine View snapped a three-game losing streak and beat Snow Canyon to advance and Hurricane and Cedar played their last games of the year in road losses.
Crimson Cliffs 30, Mountain Crest 0
A stellar defensive effort, a balanced offense that ran and threw the ball and two interceptions by senior Wai Kaonohi led the Mustangs to a convincing first round win.
“We were just being solid with what we do on defense,” Crimson Cliffs head coach Jaron Tate told St. George News. “The anchors of our defense, in Marley (Fasitootai Salanoa-Sagapolu), Jaxson (Cleverly) and Corbin Cuff, we have a lot of seniors on that side that just show up and do their jobs and want everyone to be successful.”
Tate added that the defense scheme wasn’t any different, the Mustangs just stayed true to their identity by stopping the run and covering the back end.
The visiting Mustangs got the ball first and promptly punted. The home Mustangs took the ball right down the field, highlighted by a nice run from quarterback Gunner Orr that moved them into the redzone.
A quick pass to Jayton Tanibe was followed by back-to-back runs by Easton Droubay, the second an 8-yard touchdown, and Crimson Cliffs jumped ahead 7-0.
Mountain Crest just couldn’t get anything going on offense and Crimson Cliffs got the ball back.
Two runs by Droubay powered the Mustangs to the 9-yard line, then Orr connected with Jaxon Richey for a touchdown pass that put the home team ahead 13-0.
The visitors put together some plays and were driving down the field on their next possession until Kaonohi got his first interception, stopping Mountain Crest’s best scoring attempt.
Crimson Cliffs went down the field again, the key play a pass from Orr to Droubay out of the backfield that Droubay took deep into Mountain Crest territory.
A pass interference call on the defense set up Crimson Cliffs and then Orr found Richey again, this time on a 35-yard touchdown toss, and the Mustangs led 20-0 going into halftime.
“I just think we’re getting into a good rhythm, we’re learning our identity better on offense,” Tate said. “The biggest focus I asked our kids to work on this week and in every week is eliminating those turnovers, and no turnovers tonight. We let the opportunities come to us and took advantage when they were there.”
In the second half, junior running back Kona Crowell took over for Crimson Cliffs. He ripped off a couple of strong runs and moved the ball to the 2-yard line, then quarterback Chase Hansen ran in a touchdown to put the Mustangs ahead 27-0.
Ryan Wooley kicked a 32-yard field goal to round out the scoring. He was 3-for-4 on extra point kicks in the game.
The win sends No. 6 Crimson Cliffs on the road for a quarterfinal game at No. 3 Green Canyon, a rematch of the Week 1 contest that saw Green Canyon rally for a 17-13 win. Tate believes that experience will help the second time around.
“I think we’re going to feel comfortable traveling up there and we’re going to feel comfortable at that stadium and playing against a team that we’re familiar with,” Tate said.
Dixie 48, Bear River 20
The No. 4 seed Dixie Flyers jumped out to a commanding 34-7 lead at halftime and rolled to a big win over the Bears.
Dixie senior quarterback Bronson Barben threw six touchdowns in the victory, four of them to fellow senior Jakheo Mitchell in the first half alone.
“It was a really good game for Jakheo, and I was glad to see Bronson play well,” Dixie coach Blaine Monkres told St. George News after the game. “He was injured for the better part of the year, so it was good he had a breakout game. He’s our leader, and Jakheo made some good catches.”
Mitchell caught two 18-yard touchdown passes in the first quarter, then had a 3-yard receiving score and a 12-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
Dixie put the game out of reach when Barben connected with his brother Jaxon Barben on a 12-yard touchdown with nine seconds left before halftime.
Defensively, the Flyers shutout the Bears in the third quarter but surrendered two scores in the fourth.
“We played pretty good on defense, gave up a few more points than we’d like to but we got the job done,” Monkres said. “Our defense got us good field position and made it so our offense was able to score.”
Seth Takau’s 80-yard touchdown reception and Gavin Bulkley’s 3-yard rushing touchdown wrapped up the scoring in the contest for Dixie.
The win sets up a quarterfinal matchup at home for Dixie against No. 5 and defending state 4A champion Sky View.
“I’m glad they have to come down here,” Monkres said. “Our kids are excited. They’re a really good team and it should be a really good matchup.”
Pine View 31, Snow Canyon 22
Senior Keith Adams had a huge game for the Panthers, Marcus McKenzie returned from injury and Pine View pulled off the only upset in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.
No. 9 seed Pine View fell behind 7-0 early, but used a dominant 17-0 second quarter to get a lead it would never surrender to the No. 8 seeded Warriors.
The win provided a small measure of redemption for Pine View, which lost a heartbreaking 44-43 overtime game at Snow Canyon Oct. 8.
After Brooks Esplin collected a 54-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Johnson early in the first quarter, Pine View’s defense toughened up and the Panthers offense started rolling in the second quarter.
Adams had a 10-yard touchdown run that tied the score, then Pine View put 10 more points on the board in the final two minutes before halftime.
Austin Kogan booted a 25-yard field goal and Adams took one to the house from the 1-yard line and the Panthers led 17-7 at the break.
Snow Canyon answered late in the third quarter as Esplin caught a second touchdown pass from Johnson, this one a 13-yard score to make it 17-14.
But then McKenzie, who missed the last four games of the Region 10 season due to injury, caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Brown that put the Panthers in command 24-14.
Snow Canyon kept it close when Johnson threw a 6-yard touchdown to Jake Hill, but Adams scored his third touchdown of the night to wrap up the win for Pine View.
Adams finished with 185 rushing yards and the three scores over 23 attempts.
The win sets up another Region 10 rematch for Pine View, this time a quarterfinal tilt against No. 1 seed Desert Hills.
Sky View 34, Hurricane 3
At Sky View High in Smithfield, the fifth-seeded Bobcats rolled to a 34-3 win over 12th seed Hurricane.
Sky View scored on a touchdown pass in the first quarter, but Hurricane’s RJ Wright kicked a 22-yard field goal with 5 minutes left in the second quarter to pull within 7-3.
Sky View kicked a FG of their own just before halftime to make it 10-3 at the break. In the third quarter, Sky View rattled off 17 more points, thanks to two rushing TDs by Reed Wilde and yet another field goal.
Hurricane finished its season with a 2-9 overall record, while Sky View will travel to St. George to face No. 4 Dixie in the 4A quarterfinals next Friday.
Logan 46, Cedar 24
At Logan, the seventh-seeded Grizzlies pulled away in the second half to defeat the No. 10 Cedar Reds by three touchdowns.
Logan scored the first two touchdowns of the game to take a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, but Cedar got on the board with a 28-yard FG by Edgar Hernandez-Hinojosa late in the first.
The Reds then scored the first two touchdowns of the second quarter to take a 17-13 lead. Cedar’s scores came on an 11-yard run by Ben Ellis and a 14-yard pass from Koden Lunt to Ammon York.
However, Logan connected on two TD passes before the second quarter ended to take a 26-17 halftime lead.
In the second half, Cedar scored just one more TD, on a run by Braxtan Torres, while the Grizzlies added three more touchdowns. Altogether, Logan quarterback Kody Kirk threw five TD passes, four of them to receiver Gage Jenson.
Cedar’s season ends with a 2-8 overall record, while the Grizzlies advance to face No. 2 seed Ridgeline in next Friday’s quarterfinals.
Next Friday’s 4A quarterfinals matchups (Oct. 29):
- 9 Pine View at 1 Desert Hills
- 5 Sky View at 4 Dixie
- 7 Logan at 2 Ridgeline
- 6 Crimson Cliffs at 3 Green Canyon
Cedar City News reporter JEFF RICHARDS contributed to this report.
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