GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Cedar (5-6, 2-4) at Dixie (8-2, 6-0), 5 p.m., tonight at Walt Brooks Stadium
Previous Meeting: Flyers 41, Redmen 0 (Oct. 25, 2013, at Cedar City)
Broadcast: 107.3 FM (St. George) with Patrick Blake on play by play; KSUB 590-AM (Cedar City) with Chris Holmes on play by play
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Todd Peacock (27th year, 159-131-1 overall)
Offense: Triple option
Last game: Beat Park City 23-13
Players to watch: QB Brecken Lewis has nearly 200 rushing yards the last two weeks for the Redmen, including the go-ahead TD on a 43-yard scamper against Park City. Ty Bulloch is as strong as a horse and carried Miner tacklers for 140 yards last week, averaging six yards a carry. RB Dallin Grover is back and had more than half of CHS’s receiving yards last week. Big DL Dallen Jacoby had three tackles for loss (two sacks) against PC, while Dallin Brooks and Austin Obering both had INTs. Jeff Rogers was everywhere last week, catching passes, returning punts, kicking a field goal and punting the ball. He did not drive the team bus home, however.
Trend: The Redmen have won two straight and were oh-so-close against Pine View (21-14) and Snow Canyon (29-26). But in the middle of all that was the Dixie game, a performance CHS would like to forget. Cedar had just 88 yards of offense in that game and turned the ball over six times. Lewis missed that game with an injury and the tandem of Obering and Ryker Tom completed just 3 of 12 for 19 yards with two INTs. Even more surprising was the lack of run game, with a very un-Cedar-like team total of 69 yards. With Lewis back and Bulloch playing more RB, there should be a bit more offense. But Cedar has got to slow down a Dixie offense that hasn’t scored fewer than 20 points all year.
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Blaine Monkres (24th year, 176-90 overall)
Last game: Beat Snow Canyon 28-13
Players to watch: With all those great athletes on offense, it’s easy to see why the Flyers score more than 35 points a game. But give the defense its due. Led by DEs Shad Pulsipher and Braxton Ipson, plus stud senior linebackers Stetson Jones, Joe Takau, Tanner Webster and Taylor Strehlow and DBs Drew Batchelor, Lukas Hildebrandt and Jaden Harrison, the D has given up just 19.0 ppg. Batchelor is on fire as of late. In the last three games, he has 520 rushing/receiving yards and four touchdowns, plus three interceptions and a forced fumble. Early in the year, QB Ammon Takau was hitting on about 60 percent of his passes. In the last five games, the junior signal-caller is completing 69 percent of his throws (89 of 129).
Trend: In the past four games, the Flyers have allowed opponents just 10.3 ppg, an impressive trend defensively, especially for those who believe that defense wins championships. The Flyers seem to be peaking at the right time, hoping to make another deep playoff run. Here’s the rundown: Dixie’s won seven straight, dating back to the Sept. 6 loss at 5A Riverton; The Flyers won every region game by at least two touchdowns except the region opener vs. Pine View; Dixie gave up 106 points during a 1-2 start, but just 86 points in seven games (all wins) since then; DHS is 5-0 at home this year. So obviously, the trend is winning. The Flyers had been very good at taking care of the football, with just two giveaways in three games, but handed it to Snow Canyon four times in the season finale.
The Flyers should be riding high with confidence after whipping the Redmen in Cedar City just three weeks ago. CHS, on the other hand, is probably a little embarrassed with that effort and would love to atone for the blowout loss with a shocking upset today. One thing’s for sure: If Cedar turns it over six times, it will get ugly again. Dixie’s senior-heavy defense has seen the Redmen option attack many times, so not too much will be a surprise, so Cedar’s execution will have to be flawless. On the other side of the ball, Dixie’s offense has become very efficient. Cedar’s got to find a way to disrupt Ammon Takau’s rhythm. And tackling guys like Batchelor and speedy Andy Appel before they get a head of steam going is a must.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (43-8) — Dixie
Darren Cole (39-12) — Dixie
Parry’s spread: Dixie by 24
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