HURRICANE — Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Cedar football fans know that more than anyone after the Redmen beat Hurricane 6-0 Friday night for a key 3AA South Region road win.
Cedar didn’t mind an ugly all-around offensive game because their defense halted Hurricane when it really counted — in the redzone. The end of the game exposed the Redmen’s defensive heart and the Tiger’s discouraging inability to convert near the goalline.
“Our kids just really stepped up,” CHS coach Todd Peacock said. “Offensively, I kind of had us in a bad position a lot, but our defense just kept making plays.”
Despite a nearly non-existent offense, Cedar City’s defense stopped all four of Hurricane’s fourth down attempts. The Redmen won 6-0 on the road as their defense stepped up even more and halted two major fourth quarter offensive runs by the Tigers.
Neither team seemed to show up until the end of the third quarter. Hurricane only had 54 total offensive yards, and Cedar barely broke 100 until the fourth quarter began. Up to that point, all points were scored by Cedar’s field goal kicker Jeff Rogers.
“We had just barely enough offense to get a win,” Peacock said. “Our kicker just kept getting those in.”
All the Tigers needed to do was convert any one of their four runs into the red zone to get a win. But, the Redmen defense frustrated Hurricane whenever the Tigers got sight of the goal line. Cedar’s defense, led by Dusty Hone’s eight tackles, halted any chance Hurricane had of scoring.
“When they tried to pass, we covered well and when they tried to run, we just stuck on them,” Peacock said.
Cedar’s tough defense and their lack of offense translated into a long yo-yo of three-and-outs with only three total points on the scoreboard near end of the third quarter. This is when the game really started. Luckily, the offense picked up and the excitement at the end of the game erased the memory of the stagnant first three quarters.
With a few minutes left in the third, Cedar’s Bubba Allred sprinted 55 yards on a pitch from quarterback Brecken Lewis. This put the Redmen in position to score a field goal, which put them ahead 6-0.
Hurricane gained steam after Cedar’s run and actually moved the ball for the first time in the game. Successive long runs by J.D. Stanworth and Kole Richins appeared to aim the Tigers straight toward the end zone. The Redmen halted the Stanworth and Richins drive at the 13-yard line and regained possession on a fumble, equating to the Tigers third failed fourth-down attempt of the game.
Although the Tigers offense was discouraged, the team didn’t give up. Hurricane’s defense put major pressure on Redmen quarterback Lewis and Tigers defensive back Noah Elison ended up with a reinvigorating interception with six minutes left in the game. This put the Tigers in great field position at the Cedar 30-yard line. Hurricane drove down to the 11-yard line, but failed another fourth down attempt just shy of the goal line.
With so many frustrating failed attempts, the game seemed over for the Tigers. But their defense got the ball back in the hands of QB Adlai Elison for one last offensive push. This time the Hurricane offense only gained eight more yards before they gave up the ball again close to the goal line and Cedar ran the clock out.
“We really grew up tonight,” Peacock said. “In the past, when bad things happen, we’ve really had a tendency to kick ourselves in the butt and we didn’t tonight. They just kept playing. I’m so proud of the team tonight.”
Both teams showed a lot of heart, but the Tigers offensive immaturity glared throughout the game with four failed fourth-down-and-short attempts, one missed field goal and a key turnover near the end of the game.
Neither team had much of an offensive showing as Cedar finished with 198 yards of total offense and Hurricane finished with 171.
Hurricane falls to 1-4 overall with the loss and 1-1 in the 3AA South Region. The Tigers face a big game next week at Dixie.
Cedar, 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the 3AA South, play a non-region tilt at home next week against Sequoia High School from the San Francisco bay area.
Stats: CHS 6, HHS 0
Related link: STGNews Week 5 photo gallery
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