Game Preview Capsule: Desert Hills at Dixie

Desert Hills (3-1, 2-0) at Dixie (4-1, 1-1)
Previous Meeting – Desert Hills 41, Dixie 38 (Sept. 23, 2011 at DH)

Classification: 3A, Region 9
Coach: Carl Franke (first year, 3-1 overall)
Offense: Spread
Last week: Beat Pine View 28-7
Players to watch: LBs Travis Lagrone and Sil Bundy were ferocious against Pine View and were two of the main reasons the Panthers managed just 7 points. Pine View managed just 288 yards of offense. Bundy had a sack, Lagrone had three tackles for loss and the two combined for 18 tackles overall. Plus DBs Ty Rutledge and Jordan Hokanson have been intensely valuable in the secondary.
PPG: 34.0
PAPG: 13.8
Trend: We want to call last week’s three touchdown win over Pine View a statement game and the statement is that the Thunder have an excellent defense. But here’s the problem: Region 9 is so good that you don’t have time to make statements. It was a great win for DH, but Dixie is up next, then undefeated Stansbury, then a good Snow Canyon team, then Hurricane … and so forth. Still, the Thunder do look good. So much for rebuilding this year, eh?

Classification: 3A, Region 9
Coach: Blaine Monkres (23rd year, 160-87 overall)
Offense: Spread
Last week: Lost to Hurricane 34-32
Players to watch: DL Jesse Lambert continues to disrupt offenses around the region. How often do you see a defensive lineman in on almost every play. He might just be the best defensive player in Region 9. Meanwhile, LBs Tyson Graff and Taylor Strehlow are both quietly having great years on defense as well. RB/WR Tanner Webster has been a go-to guy for the Flyers lately as well.
PPG: 39.5
PAPG: 17.6
Trend: Lost in all the penalties and the heartbreaking finish last week was the fact that Dixie actually out-played Hurricane in many ways. Offensively, the Flyers out-gained the Tigers 426-338 and remember, both teams scored five touchdowns. That shows how important extra points can be in football. Dixie missed its first one and was chasing that point all game long. One worrisome fact is the amount of contact QB Blake Barney has taken lately. He’s a tough kid, but is taking a lot of direct hits.

Remember last year’s game between these two? Dixie led 31-14, but saw Porter Harris and Mike Needham lead a fierce comeback that ended in a 41-38 Thunder win. Those two are gone, but Desert Hills has replaced them with superstar Ty Rutledge and phenom Bridger Cowdin. Meanwhile, Blake Barney is a year older and Dixie’s defense is a year better. We don’t expect quite the shootout we had a year ago, but it should be close. It’s a pick ’em game, but when in doubt, go with the home team.

Andy Griffin (22-4) — Dixie
Jeff Ames (21-5) — Dixie

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