Friday Night Spotlight: Crimson, Dixie football look to create distance in Region 9 standings

The Snow Canyon Warriors defeat the Hurricane Tigers 42-14 in Region 9 football, Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 22, 2023 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three big-time football games will be featured Friday night in Region 9, and any of them could qualify as the Game of the Week.

Desert Hills’ Cyrus Polu (33) returns and interception against Dixie in a Region 9 football game, St. George, Utah, Sept. 22, 2023 | Photo by E. George Goold

Snow Canyon vs. Desert Hills, however, earns top billing in Week 8 as The Fan Sports Network’s marquee matchup, while Crimson Cliffs takes on Hurricane and Cedar faces Dixie. Pine View is idle.

The Fan Sports Network Game of the Week

It’s a huge spot here for both teams. For the Warriors (2-1 in Region 9, 5-2 overall) vs. the Thunder (1-2, 2-4), Snow Canyon sits in third place while Desert Hills is fifth, seeking to reach the .500 mark in region play. The Warriors are ranked No. 7 in 4A, while the Thunder have slipped to No. 15.

With three games left on the regular season schedule, both teams are eyeing a win in this one. The Warriors lost Max Reynolds to a knee injury, and the Thunder are still missing Hunter Clark in the secondary.

The Thunder made an interesting move going to Garrett Grondell in the fourth quarter last week with the lead, and he threw two interceptions and Dixie won by one point. The Thunder will need good QB play, whether it’s Beau Wall or Grondell, because the Warrior edge rushers in Teagan Whitehead and Trey Vaugn will be coming.

Talan Kelly has been racking up the stats. The Warriors could easily air it out in this one to all the speedy wideouts, while the Thunder try to establish the run game with Tytan Mason.

— Compiled by Devin Dixon

Keep your eyes on … Tag Gubler vs. Stu Tafua in the trenches, and wide receiver Jayvien Cummings, who the Thunder went to early and often in space last week.

And the edge goes to … Snow Canyon, according to one prep sports media outlet.

Region 9 football games being streamed on The Fan on Friday, Sept. 29, include Snow Canyon at Desert Hills, Crimson Cliffs at Hurricane and Cedar at Dixie | Graphic by Kaden Foremaster, St. George News

What’s streaming on The Fan?

When you click here to access The Fan website, you can livestream the following games, all of which begin at 7 p.m. Friday:

  • Snow Canyon at Desert Hills
  • Crimson Cliffs at Hurricane
  • Cedar at Dixie

Games also can be streamed on YouTube.

Our teams cover your teams

From preps to pros, the Canyon Media sports team has you covered.

Southern Utah sports authority Devin Dixon hosts The Drive from 7-9 a.m. on weekdays and provides insights about each Region 9 matchup. Sports gurus Kaden Foremaster and Mark Musgrave’s afternoon radio show From the Bleachers airs at 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Region 9 football players talked about 4A expansion at the media day at Reach Higher Athletics, St. George, Utah, Aug. 2, 2023 | Image by Aaron Crane, St. George News

Then they head to the booth for the best play-by-play and color commentary in the region. Dixon and Keith Curtis will call the Snow Canyon-Desert Hills game on the Fan’s KSL simulcast, Paul Ratliff and Connor Collins will handle Crimson-Hurricane and Foremaster and Kurt Anderson team up for Cedar at Dixie.

Once the games are in the books, be sure to visit the St. George News website for full coverage of Southern Utah teams. Sports writers Eric Goold, Jeff Richards, and videographer Aaron Crane combine to bring you the most complete reports in the region. Crane’s Region 9 recap video will keep you fully informed on who won, who lost and who shined under the lights.

And if you’re looking for more than football, see the related stories links below.

See more on Dixon’s X feed (formerly known as Twitter) and on Facebook at The Devin Dixon Show as well as the From the Bleachers podcast.

Miss the season preview? Click here to watch Region 9 Media Day.

Devin’s Tale of the Tape

The Snow Canyon Warriors defeat the Hurricane Tigers 42-14 in Region 9 football, Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 22, 2023 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

Crimson Cliffs at Hurricane

No one in the region has scored more than seven points on No. 2 Crimson (3-0, 6-1) in region play, and Hurricane (0-4, 1-6) has yet to win a Region 9 game so far. This is a tough spot to call for an upset, especially since the Mustangs have not lost a region game.

Tiger fans can look forward to this match-up though because they will see what they want the talented underclassmen to play like by the time they are seniors.

Crimson is simply loaded, with over 80 upperclassmen on the roster. Experience, talent and chemistry are there for Coach Wayne Alofipo, and this looks like the Mustangs are heading towards getting another shot at a title.

Cedar at Dixie

This long-standing rivalry game look on paper looks like it could be a good one, with one team at the top of the standings and another looking to move up in the Region 9 standings.

Both teams have a different quarterback than they had slotted in summer or fall camp to be the starter. Everett Kelling is now the guy for the Reds (2-2, 3-4), and Wyatt Truman is the No. 1 signal caller for the Flyers (3-0, 3-4). It’s easy to say the QB that plays the best and O-line that can give the most protection could win this game.

Truman had four of the Flyers’ five turnovers last week, but when the “Cardiac Kids” needed him at crunch time, he seemed to forget about those plays and continued to help his team.

Cedar’s front seven, meanwhile, are coming along, but if the Reds win on the road, they better keep Ran Sawyer out of the end zone. He’s a threat in the run/pass/special teams department.

Look for Cedar to establish the run game with Devin Crenshaw, value the football and take some shots to JT Jeter to try to capitalize in the red zone.

For the latest on all things Region 9 and beyond, stay connected to Southern Utah sports at the following links:

Did you know?

It’s Homecoming week at Desert Hills, and the Thunder will mark the 10th anniversary of the 2013 state championship victory when Coach Franke used Landon Broadhead on a 2-yard TD to beat Pine View 27-21. In 1A, No. 1-ranked Beaver faces winless Parowan, while No. 3 Enterprise takes on No. 4 Kanab. In 3A, No. 4 Canyon View suffered its first loss of the season last week 61-40 to Manti.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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